A WARM DECEMBER

Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle have a story to tell about their Oilers days—call it ‘To Hell and Back’, with more hell and very little back—and I think most of us would like to see a happy ending. Maybe they won’t win Stanley together at the new building, but a turn north in year six wouldn’t go amiss.

GOOD DAY SUNSHINE, YEAR OVER YEAR

  • Oilers in October 2014: 4-5-1
  • Oilers in October 2015: 4-8-0
  • Oilers in November 2014: 2-9-3
  • Oilers in November 2015: 4-7-2
  • Oilers in December 2014: 2-8-4
  • Oilers in December 2015: 2-0-0 (WOOT!)
  • Oilers after 27 in 2014-15: 7-15-5, 19 points (-37 GD)
  • Oilers after 27 in 2015-16: 10-15-2, 22 points (-13 GD)

Last night was an unlikely victory, I think that is probably a fair description. The Oilers were never in the game, as you will see in a minute, but they won it because Anders Nilsson had some kind of weird B12 issue a couple years back and the hockey Gods decided we needed another gift between the pipes. Hopefully we will see Edmonton build a defense before the Swede goes mad.

standings

There is a window here where Edmonton could close the gap. The last two games (both wins) and last 10 games (4-4-2) suggests enough positives for Edmonton to hold their own, perhaps turn north. This week (Buffalo, San Jose, NY Rangers) could see them begin the climb. This morning, Edmonton is out of the basement and No. 27 overall.  And they may have a goalie.

OILERS BLUE, LAST NIGHT

oilers blue nov 30

Today, we get to talk about shuffling and just how stubborn this blog’s author can be. Here we go;

  • Darnell Nurse is making mistakes by the dozen, but you have to acknowledge the situation. He played 20 minutes and 7:12 was against Benn’s line with about 7 minutes against Spezza. 42 percent against that? He spent 15:14 with Sekera and 3:17 with Schultz. It is coming, people, like a thief in the night. The Lowetide blog also endorses the penalty. He is 20. 20.
  • Justin Schultz went 3-8 in 4:44 with Gryba but was better elsewhere. He is not a natural defender, it is foreign to him, like me with those damn bags they have at the grocery store for tomatoes. I can never get sides to separate, drives me mad, and then my wife comes over and does it in three seconds. I anticipate a change in pairings (more in a minute, hold back your water) and suspect JS will get Klefbom or Nurse. He is an unusual player, his shots are from Laredo sometimes, he seems to place them or they land on the moon. It is goofy, and I don’t like it.
  • Oscar Klefbom performed acceptably on a night when survival was success. He played against one of the best lines in the NHL, but played only 3:45 with Fayne and they were split after going 2-11 Corsi events together. He was fine with Gryba—I hate this pairing—going 8-9 in 10:53. We may see that again on Sunday.
  • Andrej Sekera had a strong evening despite the numbers, lordy I love those veteran blue. We won’t give him credit in five years, but he is an enormous help to Nurse in these early days. Had some nice headman passes and skated miles in each corner of his own zone. Really getting his game together now, this is a good NHL player.
  • Eric Gryba is like a song in your head that you cannot lose. Jeans On, by David Dundas, that kind of song. He played as listed above, and this was one of his better games, but for me the big man is getting far too much playing time. Did Todd McLellan have a Gryba in San Jose? Ah yes, Douglas Murray, I forgot.
  • Mark Fayne is a good NHL player but I don’t think he is a Todd McLellan-type and I know he isn’t a Peter Chiarelli type. I have mentioned those things before, but they had nothing to do with last night. Fayne was a day late and a dollar short in every sortie he saw against Dallas. Blew a shoe, hocked a loogie, it was bad as bad can be last night. He will find a chair Sunday.
  • That said, I will defend him as one of the four best options on this team right now. Brandon Davidson may change my mind, Eric Gryba won’t and I suspect we are about to find out about Justin Schultz, again. I think Fayne is gone, only a matter of time. He is NOT so bad as to be the No. 5D on this team, let alone No. 7.

FORWARDS, LAST NIGHT

oilers f nov 30

  • Lander-Gazdic played with Khaira until Todd McLellan decided to JFJ him. I forgot Brad Winchester played for McLellan in SJS until I got a DM mentioning it last night. Anyway, the 4line looked good with Khaira or Purcell—Pakarinen didn’t play with Lander last night according to War-on-Ice.
  • Khaira-Draisaitl-Hall had a 7-11 run together after the big man replaced Jordan Eberle, and this line was involved (along with Eberle) in one or both goals. I like Khaira but this isn’t going to last based on his offensive resume. Why do Oilers coaches do funny things? Hall is a sublime talent, impact player entering the prime of his career. Facing one of the strongest lines in the NHL, he popped a goal, hammered a defender, skated miles.
  • Pakarinen-Nuge-Eberle was pretty solid compared to the other lines, but there was little thunder. Purcell was also on this line a lot (Scotty Bowman used to have games like this one, dump the slow and push the fast. He would make up his mind in the first five minutes, that’s how Reggie Houle saved the end of John Ferguson’s career). Nuge made a few nice plays his wingers couldn’t cash, Eberle is coming out of his slump, Purcell would be a good winger if Poo can’t go.
  • Korpikoski-Letestu-Hendricks are starting to tighten and part of it is some nice forechecking by Korpikoski. The line has had a nice run, hope they continue to be productive. That was a very good line they faced last night.

Nilson now has a .921SP and .925SP at evens, good for No. 19 overall at evens. He is winning the job outright, but at some point Talbot will have to play. I suspect it will take a loss though, unless the young Swede is exhausted. The acquisition of Nilsson for Liam Coughlin will be a major story of the offseason should this continue.

Music! Lordy. Do you remember the last game against them? Splendid effort by Nilsson, now they have to figure out how to keep that structure for longer. Things that are a worry;

  • Forwards appear to have found a soft area up the middle. Several breakdowns right through the middle of the ice.
  • Mark Fayne is not good at that standup the forward thing McLellan prefers. It probably gets him traded, sooner than later.
  • The power play with Justin Schultz lacks a hammer.

A big win for the Condors last night and some of the young pros had solid nights. Bogdan Yakimov returned and had an assist, Griffin Reinhart played well based on reports and the offense was driven much of the time by actual prospects. Good result.

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194 Responses to "A WARM DECEMBER"

  1. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    So Stars run the Oilers’ show two games in a row and the Oilers get 2 of 4 points and Stars 3 of 4. I think that’s more than we could have hoped for.

    We will take it!

    Now if only Nilsson can keep it up and McYak return and add another scoring line this team will tear up the 2nd half and I will do a lot of self-back-patting. Haha.

  2. frjohnk says:

    Some games where we outplayed the opposition
    Nov 8th Chicago
    Nov 14th LA
    Nov 18th Chicago

    but we only got 1 point out of a possible 6 points.

    Sometimes a team gets outplayed but goaltending wins the game for them.

    That happened to us last night. Nilsson is one helluva goalie.

  3. northof51 says:

    Can’t recall a game we’ve won where I’ve been so angry. Part of that surely stems from having to listen to PJ Stock talk about how easy it is to score in the NHL, and then just seeing Spector on TV. Then there is the endless nothingness and mumbling that Remenda adds to the equation.

    But maybe it’s just that we don’t win many games, especially those where we’ve been handed our lunch so badly.

    Thanking the Gords for good goalering and a brief reprieve from DFL!

  4. Mr DeBakey says:

    Nilson now has a .921SP and .925SP at evens, good for No. 19 overall at evens. He is winning the job outright

    I’m starting to think the Oilers should’ve added Nilson and Alexander Salak last summer:
    – Both were KHL free agents
    – Both fluffed their first attempt at NHL hockey
    – Both stopped better than 93 shots out of 100 last year in the KHL [This season Salak is stopping more than 94 out of 100]

  5. smellyglove says:

    Nice to be able to post something positive about this team. They walked out with two points when they had no business doing so. Despite Dallas playing 3 road games in 4 nights they dominated the play. Hall and that Ju Jube kid had some chemistry, but like you say Lowetide, that won’t stick because the kid can’t score.

    I guess this is partial makeup for all the bad luck the team has endured: waived off goals, missed calls for, soft calls against. Speaking of luck, Calgary scores with 2 seconds left last night and they’re tied in the standings with the Oilers–look at their freaking goal differential!!! Either Calgary has some secret sauce, they’re going to regress, or I’m going to stop believing in fancy stats.

  6. GCW_69 says:

    I find it amusing that the team is horribly outplayed – again – has the goalie steal some points and we are talking turning north? What is the average regulation goals for per game during that ten game stretch? What is the average shots against during the same stretch?

    We should enjoy the ride, but this isn’t turning north. It’s a Nordic illusion.

  7. Woodguy says:

    but for me the big man is getting far too much playing time. Did Todd McLellan have a Gryba in San Jose? Ah yes, Douglas Murray, I forgot.

    I think that Gryba’s TOI was more a function of McLellan disliking him less than Fayne and Jultz and well…..somebody has to bloody play.

    5v5 TOI for Dmen last night:

    Nurse 20:06
    Klefbom 18:28
    Sekera 17:41
    Gryba 17:32
    Schultz 12:33
    Fayne 6:48

    Fayne was bad and McLellan tried to stop the bleeding early, but this also tells us that he has not a lot of use for Jultz’ game and that bodes well for the Oilers in the future.

    Also,

    I like Khaira but this isn’t going to last based on his offensive resume. Why do Oilers coaches do funny things?

    I wouldn’t bet against it lasting if McLellan like it. Hendricks was a nice RW for 4-29 until he got hurt and he brings less offence than JJ.

    To my eye 14 couldn’t get the puck out of the zone when he had it on the boards time and again.

    I think McLellan didn’t make that change for offence, but for defence. Nichushkin-Seguin-Benn are the best line in hockey and all large men. Khaira was better able to handle battles than Eberle to my eye.

    Hendricks did well on that line because he did good board work and then got the puck to one of the gifted boys, then went to the net.

    If JJ can do the same he may not move off there for a while.

    I thought he was the best RW on the team last night.

    Nice to see Eberle get off the schnide in OT though. Handy that.

  8. GCW_69 says:

    The best thing TMac could do for the Oilers right now is to try Schultz on the wing. LT is right, the kid does not want to play defence but he has some intriguing skills, including a pretty good wrist shot. Moving him up is a double win. 1) It keeps him off the defence pairs, and 2) Maybe adds another finisher to a forward group that doesn’t have enough of them.

  9. sliderule says:

    So we have two games in a row were the forwards with worst Corsi scored the goals.

    Hall to my eyes played a great game against a very good team.

    Corsi says otherwise.

  10. Woodguy says:

    I was asked if I was upset that Talbot lost the starting job.

    I’m thrilled to the point of giddy that Nilsson is doing what he’s doing for the Oilers and if he can put up north of .920 on a regular basis then that’s one less position the Oilers have to upgrade this summer.

    I haven’t given up on Talbot and I think he’ll be a good NHL goalie for the next 5 years, but Nilsson has taken the ball and run with it and I couldn’t be happier.

    Its about fucking time the Oilers got some found money and both Davidson and Nilsson look to be the goods.

  11. Woodguy says:

    sliderule:
    So we have two games in a row were the forwards with worst Corsi scored the goals.

    Hall to my eyes played a great game against a very good team.

    Corsi says otherwise.

    I think that dog is still twitching a bit.

    Let me hold it still while you whack it again.

  12. Water Fire says:

    Loved the win and the skill scoring some pretty goals. Few things warm the blood like a rocket OT bar down. A goal with authority.

    Despite barking ankle biters, they are playing a far better team game than in a long time. I thought they struggled with the Star’s pace. I don’t know if it’s foot speed or cranial speed for certain. I hope it’s the latter and will come in time. When the breakdowns become further apart they should be a formidable opponent.

    When I watch a game what often stands out to me most is that the good players are quick and their skating seems effortless, and the lesser players are heavy footed and sluggish.

    There are always exceptions, like Klink, but his skating is what gives any type of effectiveness to his game, and Leon who definitely lumbers, but his isn’t slow.

    Could be they need to find a few speedier horses in the lower ranks still. When Talbot get’s it together the Oilers might finally be settled in net for a while, at least above .910

  13. Woodguy says:

    sliderule:
    So we have two games in a row were the forwards with worst Corsi scored the goals.

    Hall to my eyes played a great game against a very good team.

    Corsi says otherwise.

    The fact that you can post and read here for years and years and still write something like this is amazing.

    No nuance at all eh?

  14. Soup Fascist says:

    Mr DeBakey:
    Nilson now has a .921SP and .925SP at evens, good for No. 19 overall at evens. He is winning the job outright

    I’m starting to think the Oilers should’ve added Nilson and Alexander Salak last summer:
    – Both were KHL free agents
    – Both fluffed their first attempt at NHL hockey
    – Both stopped better than 93 shots out of 100 last year in the KHL [This season Salak is stopping more than 94 out of 100]

    I am sure all of us Oiler fans would have been VERY complimentary of that move by Chiarelli at that time.

    Safe to say the torch and pitchfork stands would have been bustling had Chia turned up his nose at Tallbot for a ‘Ders / Salak tandem.

  15. frjohnk says:

    Woodguy: Fayne was bad and McLellan tried to stop the bleeding early, but this also tells us that he has not a lot of use for Jultz’ game and that bodes well for the Oilers in the future.

    With their play up until now, the odds are quite high that they are both not here next year.

    Add Gryba who is UFA this year, to the equation, and all 3 of our righties could be gone.

    I wouldn’t shed a tear.

  16. Concur says:

    The Oilers had the correct plan to battle the Stars last night, too bad the didn’t always execute it properly. TM had the Oilers creating turnovers in the neutral zone and generally clogging up the ice from blue line to blue line. Unfortunately errors and missed assignments led to some chances for the Stars to walk in on Nilsson, but they at least had the the right plan. The Oilers also created many chances the other way and these chances also play on the strengths of the Oilers of creating off the rush.

    Hopefully it will continue to improve. Good job to Nilsson to keep them in it.

  17. Mr DeBakey says:

    sliderule: So we have two games in a row were the forwards with worst Corsi scored the goals.

    Gosh, I wonder if that’s ever happened before in the history of NHL hockey?

  18. russ99 says:

    Why can’t we go Schultz – Nurse on the powerplay? Schultz to skate the puck in and open space for forwards and Nurse with the cannon from the point,

    If all were going to do is cycle and throw the puck to the net from outide low-scoring areas and nobody is really crashing the net, getting in the goalies face and jumping in dirty areas to cash rebounds or dish to others, there’s really no point to have 4 forwards on the power play.

  19. sliderule says:

    Woodguy,

    The fact that I have not have had a revelation and converted to the Corsi cult even though very many lurk here shouldn’t be held against me.
    Different points of view respectfully stated are a good thing.

  20. Kmart99 says:

    GCW_69:
    I find it amusing that the team is horribly outplayed – again – has the goalie steal some points and we are talking turning north?What is the average regulation goals for per game during that ten game stretch?What is the average shots against during the same stretch?

    We should enjoy the ride, but this isn’t turning north.It’s a Nordic illusion.

    Truth.

    However, the Oilers have lost 4 times this year in games they deserved to win. So two or three the other way just sort of balances things.

    There are going to plenty of games where the Oil show up and play dominating hockey against top teams, because they really are better, and there are going to be plenty of duds played against the Calgary’s of the league. We will all wonder what the hell kind of team we have.

    My guess is we have a 20-22 overall team and that’s where they will finish.

    The beauty is that after finishing 20th, we are still pretty much guaranteed the first overall pick. Ya know, since our odds will be >0%.

  21. Mr DeBakey says:

    Soup Fascist: I am sure all of us Oiler fans would have been VERY complimentary of that move by Chiarelli at that time.
    Safe to say the torch and pitchfork stands would have been bustling had Chia turned up his nose at Tallbot for a ‘Ders / Salak tandem.

    I was thinking of the Laurikainen signing.
    A waste of time from the git go.

  22. Soup Fascist says:

    russ99:
    Why can’t we go Schultz – Nurse on the powerplay? Schultz to skate the puck in and open space for forwards and Nurse with the cannon from the point,

    If all were going to do is cycle and nobody is really crashing the net, getting in the goalies face and jumping in dirty areas to cash rebounds or dish to others, there’s really no point to have 4 forwards on the power play.

    We are missing a rocket from the point, IMO. If you want another D man out there Klefbom is ahead of both Nurse and Schultz in that regard.

    I don’t care if it is a D a forward or Cam Talbot. The Oilers need a guy wth a gun, who can get it through and hit the net. Think Jared Stoll circa 2007 or Sheldon Souray pre-soap opera. Seeing Teddy man a point out there just makes me sad.

    One of many reasons the PP stinks is there is ZERO respect for the pea shooters on the point.

  23. Concur says:

    Why is the Laurikainen signing a waste of time? He adds depth to the Oilers. It is a shame he isn’t playing in the AHL and we have Scrivens still trying to find his game.

  24. Concur says:

    I agree that Shultz shouldn’t be the only defenseman on any power play he is on. Davidson worked on his shot over he winter and I would love to see him be able to use. The opportunity is now for having more defensemen on the power play seeing as the Oilers are down McDavid and Yakupov.

  25. Woodguy says:

    He was fine with Gryba—I hate this pairing—going 8-9 in 10:53. We may see that again on Sunday.

    That was, by far, the strongest pairing via G’s Dangerous Fenwick Against/60 (removing the short lived pairs)

    Pair TOI DFA/60
    19-77 2:15 10.7 (short lived pair)
    2-62 2:10 13.8 (short lived pair)
    19-25 3:38 14.9 (short lived pair)
    62-77 09:43 27.8
    19-62 4:59 59
    2-25 13:56 64.2 30.6 0.99
    5-77 3:49 191.8 (short lived pair and OMG)

    Forget where the Mendoza line is…I think its around 49

    I’m sure G will chime in eventually and give us the goods.

  26. Kmart99 says:

    Off the Glass and Out + Dump ‘n’ Change = Last night’s shit kicking.

    I lost count of how many turnovers were cause by players trying to just whack the puck out of the D zone so they could get a change. Then, the odd time they exited with possession, they were so tired they just dumped and changed.

    I made note of the opposite occurring against CHI and LA. This team seemed OK to force the opposition to win a battle in those games. It was like TMac told his players, you can turn the puck over in your own end if it’s a result of a lost battle or a great play by the opposition, but you cannot turn it over by blindly chipping the puck away, that will not be accepted. Yet last night was just that. Constant turnovers caused by poor passing and blind clearing attempts Let’s hope they get that crap out of their system soon.

  27. Mr DeBakey says:

    Concur: Why is the Laurikainen signing a waste of time? He adds depth to the Oilers

    Do a quick search for all the successful NHL goalies under 185 cm tall.

    Plus, would good is signing a guy to be a depth, developmental goalie who won’t play in the ECHL?

  28. GCW_69 says:

    Soup Fascist: We are missing a rocket from the point, IMO. If you want another D man out there Klefbom is ahead of both Nurse and Schultz in that regard.

    I don’t care if it is a D a forward or Cam Talbot. The Oilers need a guy wth a gun, who can get it through and hit the net. Think Jared Stoll circa 2007 or Sheldon Souray pre-soap opera.Seeing Teddy man a point out there just makes me sad.

    One of many reasons the PP stinks is there is ZERO respect for the pea shooters on the point.

    Davidson should be out on the second unit. He has a cannon.

  29. Woodguy says:

    frjohnk: With their play up until now, the odds are quite high that they are both not here next year.

    Add Gryba who is UFA this year, to the equation, and all 3 of our righties could be gone.

    I wouldn’t shed a tear.

    I just said the same thing to Dennis on twitter:

    Dennis King ‏@DKingBH 7m7 minutes ago
    @Woodguy55 @ThomsonCam @Lowetide @OilersNerdAlert i could guess what the plans are for next year on the D but its too much to type. Honestly

    Woodguy ‏@Woodguy55 51s52 seconds ago
    @DKingBH @ThomsonCam @Lowetide @OilersNerdAlert 2, 25, 77, 88, 8 will be here. One trade, one UFA signing.

  30. Kmart99 says:

    Cant wait for Davidson to come back. A bomb from the point, and he can skate.

  31. Woodguy says:

    sliderule:
    Woodguy,

    The fact that I have not have had a revelation and converted to the Corsi cult even though very many lurk here shouldn’t beheld against me.
    Different points of view respectfully stated are a good thing.

    Its not revelation and conversion to our CORSI CULT.

    Its about recognizing sample sizes and how unpredictable goal scoring is.

    That doesn’t require to give a shit about corsi.

    Its just common sense and has been discussed here ad nasueum for years.

    Also,

    Different points of view respectfully stated are a good thing.

    While I agree with this wholeheartedly, you were taking a shot at my CORSI CULT in your post and there was nothing respectful about it.

  32. Woodguy says:

    Mr DeBakey: Gosh, I wonder if that’s ever happened before in the history of NHL hockey?

    Never.

    Only the best corsi players score each game.

    Its the law.

  33. Soup Fascist says:

    GCW_69: Davidson should be out on the second unit.He has a cannon.

    Sure. As I said, don’t care who it is – as long as they are effective. Yak has a cannon too. The hard part for him is getting it through AND especially hitting the damn net.

    To a dummy fan like me there appears to be so many problems with the Oilers PP. The can’t gain the zone. They stand still. Limited net presence. I really don’t get it. TMac and staff had a good PP in San Jose.

    Something just isn’t right.

  34. SayItAin'tSo, Gretz, SayItAin'tSo! says:

    russ99,

    I agree with this except honestly I don’t think Schultz needs to be the other Partner.

    Run a two system setup with: Eberle, Nuge, Davidson/Klef and Hendricks/Purcell.

    Second unit is Drai, Hall, Pouliot, Sekera and or Nurse/Davidson.

    Someone said it a few days ago. Right now the Oilers have no credible point shooter that opposing teams have to worry about which makes defending their PK that much easier. Giving Nurse that PP time will allow him to indulge his offensive instincts and perhaps even give the man a shot of confidence if he picks up points here and there. Klef has played some PP already and Davidson has shown that he can shoot when called upon.

    Maybe not the perfect rotation (and exceptions will need to be made once CmD and Yak return) but it would help establish the shot on the PP and will reward the strong play of up and coming Dmen with the chance to earn a few freebie points to pad the stat sheet.

    Finally, numbers have been bad lately (especially last night) but this team is also functioning without a 2nd line right now (and as WG said ystd 2-PPG players) so I’m willing to cut them some slack. Huge huge praise for Nilsson, way to grab the ball and run with it.

  35. SayItAin'tSo, Gretz, SayItAin'tSo! says:

    Kmart99,

    I’m hoping it has something to do with the injuries but I agree with you and have noticed the same trend over the last few games

  36. Water Fire says:

    GCW_69:
    The best thing TMac could do for the Oilers right now is to try Schultz on the wing.LT is right, the kid does not want to play defence but he has some intriguing skills, including a pretty good wrist shot.Moving him up is a double win. 1) It keeps him off the defence pairs, and 2) Maybe adds another finisher to a forward group that doesn’t have enough of them.

    I see Schultz as a tweener unfortunately. Lots of talent but it doesn’t translate enough. What makes him weak in back will up front as well. He’s not Burns or Buf.

    My call is load up on draft picks by clearing out all marginal players at the deadline. Brings up half the farm team if necessary. There are always a lot of bottom 6 to sign every summer.

    There are at least two high end RHD in the draft. It may be that they have to grow one. Hopefully the very skilled guys get to the team faster. Sign a stop gap, go with Sekera, Klef, Nurse, Davidson if necessary. It may actually not be too bad with another season under their belts for the young guys.

  37. Concur says:

    Mr DeBakey,

    I found numerous under 185cm, many from the Oilers, Fuhr, Moog, Ranford. Some current Lundquist, Quick, so I fail to see your point.

    Also it is probably better to play elsewhere in Finland than the ECHL for better development

  38. Water Fire says:

    Mr DeBakey: Gosh, I wonder if that’s ever happened before in the history of NHL hockey?

    The beauty of elite skill.

  39. Kmart99 says:

    SayItAin’tSo, Gretz, SayItAin’tSo!:
    Kmart99,

    I’m hoping it has something to do with the injuries but I agree with you and have noticed the same trend over the last few games

    Ditto. It’s as if the fear of immediate pressure resulted in a blind chip up the boards towards what would be at best a 50/50 battle for the puck.

    If you have the puck, DO NOT put it to a 50/50 spot. Force the opposition to prove their metal… Edit METTLE. YOU have the puck, not the guy chasing you, so why just throw it away? Fear?

    Whatever it is, dont do it.

  40. böök¡je says:

    I just can’t believe Chiarelli didn’t sign Nilsson to a 2 or 3 year contract – what an idiot.

  41. Johnny skid says:

    northof51:
    Can’t recall a game we’ve won where I’ve been so angry. Part of that surely stems from having to listen to PJ Stock talk about how easy it is to score in the NHL, and then just seeing Spector on TV. Then there is the endless nothingness and mumbling that Remenda adds to the equation.

    But maybe it’s just that we don’t win many games, especially those where we’ve been handed our lunch so badly.

    Thanking the Gords for good goalering and a brief reprieve from DFL!

    That about sums it up for me.

  42. Mr DeBakey says:

    Concur:
    Mr DeBakey,

    I found numerous under 185cm, many from the Oilers, Fuhr, Moog, Ranford.Some current Lundquist, Quick, so I fail to see your point.

    Also it is probably better to play elsewhere in Finland than the ECHL for better development

    You’re right, Quick is under 185. He’s 220 lbs, he must be wide.
    According to Elite Prospects Lundquist ain’t.
    Fuhr had two NHL seasons where he stopped more than 90% of the enemies’ shots.

  43. böök¡je says:

    By the way – I wasn’t being serious – it is too bad Nilssons contract isn’t 2 years but landing him appears to be a big win for Chiarelli.

  44. Lowetide says:

    böök¡je:
    By the way – I wasn’t being serious – it is too bad Nilssons contract isn’t 2 years but landing him appears to be a big win for Chiarelli.

    Yeah, I knew you were joking but that is a helluva get if it works out. That is what the team needs, to solve three problems this year and then have only three problems in summer. If Nilsson, Davidson, McDavid fill holes, we are on to the next.

  45. Mr DeBakey says:

    böök¡je: By the way – I wasn’t being serious

    Get outta town!
    I was just going to comment on how much I agreed with you.
    And that Gryba trade, don’t get me started.

  46. SayItAin'tSo, Gretz, SayItAin'tSo! says:

    Lowetide,

    Here let me fix that for ya, I think you mean “if Davidson and Nilsson” fill holes.

    Connor McDavid does not fill a hole, space-time warps to accommodate Connor McDavid’s presence.

  47. speeds says:

    böök¡je,

    brings up an interesting point though – How does EDM handle contract talks with Nilsson once he’s eligible for an extension. The fact that he’s an RFA, not a UFA like Talbot, reduces the pressure to do anything right away.

  48. Ca$h-McMoney! says:

    Woodguy,

    The lack of understanding about the stat continues to blow me away.

    Corsi is, and always has been, about large samples. Individual corsi for an individual game doesn’t say a whole heck of a lot, I think everyone who subscribes to the metric understands that.

    You get out corsi’d for one game and you win anyway, fine. So be it. Happens all the time.

    You get out corsi’d for an entire season and still win a bunch of games, history shows us quite clearly (Toronto, Colorado, Calgary last three years) that it’s a problem.

    It’s about sustainability of performance, and it has proven it’s worth in that regard. Getting out-corsied is simply worrisome if it’s happening regularly and the point is to see the team get better over time.

  49. Ice Sage says:

    russ99:
    Why can’t we go Schultz – Nurse on the powerplay? Schultz to skate the puck in and open space for forwards and Nurse with the cannon from the point,

    If all were going to do is cycle and throw the puck to the net from outide low-scoring areas and nobody is really crashing the net, getting in the goalies face and jumping in dirty areas to cash rebounds or dish to others, there’s really no point to have 4 forwards on the power play.

    I can picture a nightmare scenario where both of them are drifting down below the dots when a forward sends a blind pass to the point! if Nurse can watch 100 hours of CFP (if that isn’t heretical) maybe he gets there. Agree that Davidson is a better option to complement Schultz or perhaps a forward.

  50. teddyturnbuckle says:

    Time to bring up Musil for a look, he played well last year when called up.

  51. sliderule says:

    Woodguy,

    ‘I give up

    Corsi will cure cancer

    Corsi will stop global warming.

    Corsi Is better than wd40

  52. blainer says:

    I am really looking forward to see what this team looks like when healthy.

    Where would the stars be if they lost Benn Seguin and Sharp. That is somewhat similar to what we are going through.

    Worse for us really as we have also have had injuries to our good grinders such as Hendy.

    I am cutting them slack but get pissed when I watch a player like Shultz with a pussy shot and lack of compete.

    Our injuries have had one positive.. The emergence of Drai and Davidson.

    To say we should not talk of playoffs when we are only five points out with probably the best Goaler in the NHL over the past seven games is foolish. Where was Minnie last year before Dubnyk went on his run. They were about to fire their coach.

    If Nilly continues this play like Dubnyk did and we get and stay healthy I am calling it Now .. not only do we make the playoffs but we could really make some noise..

  53. Woodguy says:

    Weircicoh HS’d in OTT, Hartnell HS’d in CBJ. Fayne for Hartnell, Jultz for Weircioch.

    Make it happen Pete!

  54. speeds says:

    Tikhonov on waivers, wasn’t it rumored a year or two ago that EDM had some level of interest in him? Even if they did, not sure if Chiarelli likes him, but will be interesting to see who, if anyone, claims him.

  55. Woodguy says:

    sliderule:
    Woodguy,

    ‘I give up

    Corsi will cure cancer

    Corsi will stop global warming.

    Corsi Is better than wd40

    I think you’re going a little far with the WD40.

    That shit’ll fix anything.

    Takes ink stains out of cotton.

    True story.

  56. Mr DeBakey says:

    Fun Fact
    If you sort the KHL’s D by TOI/Game, there are no Russians in the Top 10.

    This guy is at the top of the list
    http://www.eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=38575

  57. OilClog says:

    Sekera, Nurse, Klef, Davidson.

    Mark Fayne 110% couldn’t sniff any of these jockstraps.

    He’s not top 4 on this club, the coach couldn’t make it any more clear then it is.

    Would you trade Jultz for Fayne? So he’s not top 5 either.

    He’s making the same glaring mistakes Gryba is.. Gryba does have one thing on Fayne. Intimidation. The breif second a player spends looking over his shoulder for Gryba.. Is more then what Fayne contributes.

    Fayne’s a 6/7 defender nothing more

  58. Lowetide says:

    teddyturnbuckle:
    Time to bring up Musil for a look, he played well last year when called up.

    Musil is blocked by Reinhart.

  59. Clay says:

    I enjoyed Hemsky last night. He’s still a brilliant talent.

    That said, regardless of how ugly the win was, Hall scored, Seguin and Benn didn’t (and had lovely -2’s on their stat lines), and Dallas can go eat a big bag of dicks.

  60. Woogie63 says:

    Kmart99:
    Off the Glass and Out + Dump ‘n’ Change = Last night’s shit kicking.

    I lost count of how many turnovers were cause by players trying to just whack the puck out of the D zone so they could get a change.Then, the odd time they exited with possession, they were so tired they just dumped and changed.
    .
    I made note of the opposite occurring against CHI and LA.This team seemed OK to force the opposition to win a battle in those games.It was like TMac told his players, you can turn the puck over in your own end if it’s a result of a lost battle or a great play by the opposition, but you cannot turn it over by blindly chipping the puck away, that will not be accepted.Yet last night was just that.Constant turnovers caused by poor passing and blind clearing attempts Let’s hope they get that crap out of their system soon.

    The last three opponents have aggressively forechecked two and had the strong side dman hold the line. We are taking three attempts and two battles just to get out of our zone. You correctly identify how tiring this process is, so we have no extended periods of ozone time.

    Last night against the Flames Boston forechecked one, and against the Canunks the Stars played a safer forechecked against Hamuis and Edler.

  61. Lowetide says:

    OilClog:
    Sekera, Nurse, Klef, Davidson.

    Mark Fayne 110% couldn’t sniff any of these jockstraps.

    He’s not top 4 on this club, the coach couldn’t make it any more clear then it is.

    Would you trade Jultz for Fayne? So he’s not top 5 either.

    He’s making the same glaring mistakes Gryba is.. Gryba does have one thing on Fayne. Intimidation. The breif second a player spends looking over his shoulder for Gryba.. Is more then what Fayne contributes.

    Fayne’s a 6/7 defender nothing more

    The coach has played Fayne top 4D for most of this season, paired with Klefbom or Sekera. If you believe the coach is a smart guy, and I do, then these things matter.

    http://stats.hockeyanalysis.com/showplayer.php?pid=1406&withagainst=true&season=2015-16&sit=5v5

  62. smellyglove says:

    Lowetide,

    LT, cmon you know better! Small sample sizes. Nilsson’s only played a handful of games. Can’t assume he’ll carry net for this team in any substantial way, we just have to roll with a hot goalie while we can.

    This blog and others anointed Lander a permanent #3C with offense after a 20 game stint and now look at him.

  63. VOR says:

    Water Fire,

    Skating is the toughest of all hockey skills to evaluate. It has so many aspects that have nothing to do with speed. It isn’t just agility but also things like how fast you think the game, knowing when to skate and when to glide. Skilled players look faster because they are better at either feeling the flow of the game or in some rare cases, imposing their will on the flow of the game.

  64. Mr DeBakey says:

    smellyglove:
    Lowetide,

    LT, cmon you know better! Small sample sizes. Nilsson’s only played a handful of games. Can’t assume he’ll carry net for this team in any substantial way, we just have to roll with a hot goalie while we can.

    “The acquisition of Nilsson for Liam Coughlin will be a major story of the offseason should this continue.”

  65. Lowetide says:

    smellyglove:
    Lowetide,

    LT, cmon you know better! Small sample sizes. Nilsson’s only played a handful of games. Can’t assume he’ll carry net for this team in any substantial way, we just have to roll with a hot goalie while we can.

    This blog and others anointed Lander a permanent #3C with offense after a 20 game stint and now look at him.

    I said in the post;

    The acquisition of Nilsson for Liam Coughlin will be a major story of the offseason should this continue.

    So, I reject the framing of the issue as you have presented it.

  66. Woogie63 says:

    Lowetide: Musil is blocked by Reinhart.

    Most ready guy plays, no blocksse

  67. Lowetide says:

    And my thanks to Mr. Debakey and his magic typewrtier.

  68. frjohnk says:

    Lowetide: The coach has played Fayne top 4D for most of this season, paired with Klefbom or Sekera. If you believe the coach is a smart guy, and I do, then these things matter.

    http://stats.hockeyanalysis.com/showplayer.php?pid=1406&withagainst=true&season=2015-16&sit=5v5

    5 on 5 TOI/Game
    Name
    Darnell.Nurse 17.7
    Oscar.Klefbom 16.73
    Andrej.Sekera 16.5
    Eric.Gryba 15.67
    Justin.Schultz 14.99
    Griffin.Reinhart 14.87
    Brandon.Davidson 14.77
    Mark.Fayne 14.45
    Andrew.Ference 12.13

    All Situations
    Name
    Oscar.Klefbom 22.12
    Andrej.Sekera 20.79
    Justin.Schultz 20.44
    Darnell.Nurse 19.83
    Eric.Gryba 17.58
    Brandon.Davidson 17.35
    Mark.Fayne 16.22
    Griffin.Reinhart 16.22
    Andrew.Ference 13.47

    I don’t think Fayne is in the coaches top 4 playbook. There has been a few games, he starts as top 4, but then by the 3rd he is riding the bench.

    And IIRC, in one of GM’s press releases about the top 4 in the preseason, Fayne was not mentioned once.

    It seems like Chia and McLellan like their defenseman to be mobile, joining the play up ice and heavy on the puck, or at least one of these things.

    Fayne is not mobile, does not join the play much, and his “heaviness on the puck” is not like Gryba, so that puts him down the depth chart.

    I do believe Fayne has value and can be a good defense man, I just don’t think we will see that with him as an Oiler.

  69. RexLibris says:

    Lowetide: Musil is blocked by Reinhart.

    I would’ve said that Khaira was blocked by Slepyshev for the wing call-up, but based on Fleming’s report Chiarelli called Khaira.

    I haven’t heard how Musil is doing, but it is hard to imagine that the Oilers sent down a big defender with, and I know I’m going to regret typing this, “footspeed issues” only to call a different defender with rumoured same up.

    So maybe Reinhart is blocking Musil, or maybe they are two peas in a pod and Chiarelli wants a look at Frank’s kid in the NHL before he goes into the post-Christmas trade season.

  70. delooper says:

    GCW_69:
    I find it amusing that the team is horribly outplayed – again – has the goalie steal some points and we are talking turning north?What is the average regulation goals for per game during that ten game stretch?What is the average shots against during the same stretch?

    It was also interesting watching the ?Dallas? announcers say “when are the Oilers going to give Nilsson some support?!?!” “Nilsson is doing it all by himself”.

    Why weren’t people saying this about the Oilers 4 seasons ago? Perhaps there was too much chaos everywhere to identify the most pressing problems.

  71. leadfarmer says:

    Lowetide: Musil is blocked by Reinhart.

    Given the state of this D Corpse the only thing blocking the defensive prospects is their own skill level. Well and I guess Ference chewing up one roster spot.

  72. D says:

    If Anders can keep this up, then we have a magic Swede in net. Other Swedish goalies of note, Henrik Lundqvist, Pelle Lindbergh, Tommy Salo (good and bad). And don’t forget Valentina Wallner, Sara Grahn, and Kim Martin – these three are pure gold.

  73. leadfarmer says:

    smellyglove:
    Lowetide,

    LT, cmon you know better! Small sample sizes. Nilsson’s only played a handful of games. Can’t assume he’ll carry net for this team in any substantial way, we just have to roll with a hot goalie while we can.

    No one has given him a contract past this year yet. After seeing Scrivens struggle last year but still get thrown to the wolves night after night because as bad as he was Fasth was just as bad or worse, we are just happy to have a backup that was found for next to nothing that came in and took over the spot.

    Now you can continue telling kids that the candy they are eating will just lead to obesity and diabetes

    This blog and others anointed Lander a permanent #3C with offense after a 20 game stint and now look at him.

  74. OilClog says:

    Lowetide: The coach has played Fayne top 4D for most of this season, paired with Klefbom or Sekera. If you believe the coach is a smart guy, and I do, then these things matter.

    http://stats.hockeyanalysis.com/showplayer.php?pid=1406&withagainst=true&season=2015-16&sit=5v5

    No he’s not.

    He’s tied with Rhino for 6/7 ice time amongst the group.

    That’s not top 4.

    Every game he’s been in the top 4, other then the first few weeks, he’s stapled to the bench during crunch time.

    No top 4 is stapled to the bench during crunch time unless your name is Jeff Petry playing for Dallas Eakins.

  75. Jonathan Willis says:

    sliderule:
    So we have two games in a row were the forwards with worst Corsi scored the goals.

    Hall to my eyes played a great game against a very good team.

    Corsi says otherwise.

    So we have two games in a row where the Oilers were badly outplayed by the opposition but collected wins.

    Boston and Dallas to my eyes played great games against an inferior opponent.

    Wins say otherwise.

  76. russ99 says:

    Woogie63: The last three opponents have aggressively forechecked two and had the strong side dman hold the line. We are taking three attempts and two battles just to get out of our zone.You correctly identify how tiring this process is, so we have no extended periods of ozone time.

    Last night against the Flames Boston forechecked one, and against the Canunks the Stars played a safer forechecked against Hamuis and Edler.

    Yep, the book is out on how to play the Oilers, and again it’s less about our defenseman and more about very few of our forwards being able to play well in the D zone. If we expect the defensemen to do all the possession and zone clearance work and all the forwards do is tie it up on the wall and wait for the outlet pass, were easier to get chances against.

    Same thing on offense, everyone knows that were going to cycle to get someone the puck down low so the opposition is either putting 3 players back to break the cycle or let us work it around with no chance for a high quality chance.

    I have no doubt that McLellan is a great coach but despite the need to make sure everyone is in tune with the system at some point he has to adapt.

  77. PerryK says:

    LT, I think you’re starting to develop a MAP level fixation for Fayne! The man is not an athlete! He has a very difficult time recognizing the play as it develops around him. His hand eye coordination sucks and he can’t skate worth a darn! He is too weak on his skates and his stick! He may be a Corsi monster, but as has been shown by people a lot smarter than me, Corsi is not a very useful method for D evaluation.

    As for Khaira, I noticed that every time he was on the ice, good things happened. Also, Gazdik looks a lot better than Korpikoski. I have also been pleasantly surprised by Gaz’ game recently. If he can put in a reasonable 5 – 9 minutes a night without hurting the team, one should consider him to be a regular.

    For my money, Chia should trade Fayne and Schultz (in that order). Schultz because he will only ever have marginal value. He seems to be getting skittish about initiating contact again; probably the back again. I don’t know if it will ever properly heal. I remember watching Paul Reinhart and Craig Simpson (both extremely good warriors) become a shadow of their former self after the back injuries. Just for that reason, I would be very happy to move Schultz at the deadline.

    But really, Fayne MUST GO! Let’s see if anyone will offer us a bag of pucks or something.

  78. Dicky94 says:

    Woodguy,

    I would like that. But I’m not allowed to have nice things. So it won’t happen. Go Oilers! Hartnell down! Lets do it!

  79. Cameron says:

    smellyglove:
    Speaking of luck, Calgary scores with 2 seconds left last night and they’re tied in the standings with the Oilers–look at their freaking goal differential!!! Either Calgary has some secret sauce, they’re going to regress, or I’m going to stop believing in fancy stats.

    Calgary’s PDO is way underwater, if they move back to the mean as expected, they will improve in the standings.

    They have also been the victims of atrocious goaltending, which explains the goal differential. Last year they got league average goaltending and made the playoffs, whereas this year it’s been league worst.

    Last but not lest, they were full marks for game against Boston, holding a decided edge in corsi throughout and a lead – so it wasn’t score effects.

  80. blainer says:

    Jonathan Willis: So we have two games in a row where the Oilers were badly outplayed by the opposition but collected wins.

    Boston and Dallas to my eyes played great games against an inferior opponent.

    Wins say otherwise.

    Makes us even for the Chicago games ..

  81. Hockey Buddha says:

    Woodguy: Its not revelation and conversion to our CORSI CULT.

    Its aboutrecognizing sample sizes and how unpredictable goal scoring is.

    That doesn’t require to give a shit about corsi.

    Its just common sense and has been discussed here ad nasueum for years.

    Also,

    Different points of view respectfully stated are a good thing.

    While I agree with this wholeheartedly, you were taking a shot at my CORSI CULT in your post and there was nothing respectful about it.

    Woodguy, come on, I love your posts, but you have to admit some culpability in being a little Pythagoras-like, when it comes to corsi! 😉

  82. G Money says:

    Man, tons of activity this morning, LT and the Twitters both.

    Woodguy: Pair TOI DFA/60
    19-77 2:15 10.7 (short lived pair)
    2-62 2:10 13.8 (short lived pair)
    19-25 3:38 14.9 (short lived pair)
    62-77 09:43 27.8
    19-62 4:59 59
    2-25 13:56 64.2 30.6 0.99
    5-77 3:49 191.8 (short lived pair and OMG)
    Forget where the Mendoza line is…I think its around 49
    I’m sure G will chime in eventually and give us the goods.

    Yeah, I was pretty surprised by the DFA results for the game. Some were shocking (like Fayne, who set a new record for futility). Some were surprising, like how much the numbers liked Gryba.

    Then again, he was noticeable for a few f**kups, but I didn’t notice him in a bad way that much overall, maybe that’s what the numbers are reflecting.

    Mendoza line I estimate at about 39 (now that a quarter of the season is done, I’ll be able to calculate an actual league wide standard soon).

    The main ice time pairings were well short of that, which makes sense given what happened!

    The number of pairings with brief cameos – once Fayne worked himself off the ice, it’s obvious TMc had to scramble to find pairings without running individuals too far into the ground – make it harder to assess them, like 19-77 and 19-25.

    Those are noteworthy because Jultz did not have a great game by eye or by the DFAs, but in brief timings those pairings look like they really worked. That could be highly situational, there were a few brief shining moments where the Oilers pushed back, and whichever pairings were part of that would look good if that defined most of their time.

    I feel a bit like an FAA investigator digging through the still-smoking remains of a plane crash looking for the black box.

    The only thing that makes the work reasonable is that the passengers miraculously survived!

  83. Lowetide says:

    PerryK:
    LT, I think you’re starting to develop a MAP level fixation for Fayne!The man is not an athlete!

    Fayne plays with Klefbom and Sekera, that is top 4D.

  84. SayItAin'tSo, Gretz, SayItAin'tSo! says:

    russ99,

    Not sure this is quite accurate.

    If you go back and look at the last few games with McD in the lineup (and the first two without) the Oilers play a much tighter game in the neutral zone with the DMen holding the line on rushes and passes and consistent back pressure from CmD, Nuge, Yak and Hall. They got a lot more long dump ins and when the forwards came down deep enough (Blainer and I had a back and forth on this for a few games I believe) the outlet passes were available and the play turned North a lot quicker. It was definitely being taught by the coaches and was working well for a stretch when we losses a lot of those one goal games.

    Lately players have been able to cross the line on dump in unimpeded and the weaknesses at breaking up cycles is showing (it will get better as Nurse, Davidson and Klef mature). Injuries to key forwards (and Eberle not being 100%) have made it worse. Hopefully they can revert back to McLellan’s preferred system as guys start getting back into the lineup. Read yesterday that Klinkhammer is skating again will be good to get him back and shift everyone down a peg. Hopefully Pouliot can take a step forward when he gets back.

    I’m starting to see the light

  85. "Steve Smith" says:

    Hockey Buddha: Woodguy, come on, I love your posts, but you have to admit some culpability in being a little Pythagoras-like, when it comes to corsi!

    I do not think that “in a right triangle, the square of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides” means what you think it means.

  86. PerryK says:

    Mr DeBakey:
    Fun Fact
    If you sort the KHL’s D by TOI/Game, there are no Russians in the Top 10.

    This guy is at the top of the list
    http://www.eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=38575

    From that same set of data, Vishnovsky at 39, hasn’t played many games but ppg wise he is doing fantastic. And speaking of replacing Schultz as a puck moving RHD, Philip Larssen seems to be thriving in the KHL as well.

  87. kinger_OIL says:

    – Before start of next year, all of Nikitin, Captain, Shultz and Fayne are gone. That’s close to 15MM in salary. You get to spend 6MM x 2 on two established D

    – With Sekera, Klef, Nurse in the mix, and some of Griff, Davidson, Gryba, Musil, Simpson, etc as 6/7 (1 or more is dealt) you have, dare to dream, quality D corps, replacing current D corpse

  88. G Money says:

    VOR: Skating is the toughest of all hockey skills to evaluate. It has so many aspects that have nothing to do with speed. It isn’t just agility but also things like how fast you think the game, knowing when to skate and when to glide. Skilled players look faster because they are better at either feeling the flow of the game or in some rare cases, imposing their will on the flow of the game.

    This is a profoundly insightful comment.

  89. delooper says:

    Hockey Buddha: Woodguy, come on, I love your posts, but you have to admit some culpability in being a little Pythagoras-like, when it comes to corsi!

    I met a guy that does advanced stats for a bunch of NBA teams this summer. When I asked him about Corsi he did a double-take, wondering what planet I came from, to bring up such a primitive statistic.

    The kind of data these teams have available to work with is amazing. Real-time (same frame rate as its recorded at for TV) locations of all the players, including who has the ball at any given time. They have rather lovely models including “who is covering who” at any given time. Leads to some beautiful insights into the game.

    Hockey seems far away from that, as far as we know.

  90. John Chambers says:

    kinger_OIL,

    Who’s going to trade for Fayne?

    We could make a boneheaded deal for another unproductive lunk, but more realistically he gets the Nikitin treatment at some point.

    Everything you need to know about the Oilers over the past 6 years can be summed up in the decisions Tambellini and MacT (and Howson) made regarding the defense corps. And we’ll wear at least part of Faynes contract until 2018.

    N Schulz – Fayne
    Nikitin – Ference
    Barker – Teubert

    Yuck

  91. maudite says:

    The problem with shultz on the pp at point is the book is written. From the get go, he’s struggled to hold the puck in at the line when pressure is coming or there. You can’t argue about his natural skill but it becomes more and more apparent that he got to this level over-relying on it, at the expense of awareness. He can play the game fast enough but he can’t think it fast enough at this level. With no fear of a shot and unsteady puck handling under pressure, they just rush him. Rightly so. From the first year he’s been gifted that spot the zone losses and short handed shots against have been a glaring weakness.

    I’d have him as 2nd pp at best but they persist putting him in that spot and it just visually has never seemed like a wise choice. I’m cheering for the guy and don’t have any angst but just keep seeing the same odd lack of any quick decision making if pressured.

  92. Snowman says:

    delooper,

    Baseball gets the nod publicly for statistics gathering but the NBA has some truly innovative measures.

    I have a friend who is a huge basketball stats nerd and some of the things they are able to track in that game are very impressive. Basketball is a fluid game that is arguably as fast in transition as hockey. One hopes over time the NHL can catch up.

  93. G Money says:

    SayItAin’tSo, Gretz, SayItAin’tSo!: Injuries to key forwards (and Eberle not being 100%) have made it worse. Hopefully they can revert back to McLellan’s preferred system as guys start getting back into the lineup. Read yesterday that Klinkhammer is skating again will be good to get him back and shift everyone down a peg

    Very important to keep this in mind.

    Injuries are not an excuse, but they make a huge difference. One thing that all Stanley Cup Champions share over the last few years (other than stellar Corsi) is that they were all unusually healthy the year they won the cup.

    Right now, every NHL division leader is below average for injuries.

    The Oilers lead the league in ‘important player games lost’ – and that doesn’t include the players who are playing at less than full capacity.

    The Oilers are not good enough or deep enough to be able to absorb multiple losses at multiple positions. Before we even started the season, we had people playing above their ideal role. That situation gets worse with injuries. Add in underperforming vets like Fayne and Korpi, and suddenly a line or pairing that was barely good enough at the start of the season is playing up yet another level, and looking like an AHL calibre group because of it.

    We now have a 20-year-old rookie D on our top pairing, paired with a guy who ideally would himself be a complement to a 1D on the top pairing, NOT the guy sheltering a rookie.

    Point being – as concerning as last nights performance is, we’e seen better from this group against some very good teams, and I’m not going to lose much sleep over it until we see a team that ISN’T leading the league in important man games lost.

  94. kinger_OIL says:

    John Chambers:
    kinger_OIL,

    Who’s going to trade for Fayne?

    – A playoff team looking for depth give up a mid-round draft pick for him at deadline, or as part of a combo deal. He’s better in the East, just not Oil/West style: he’s not “garbage” a la Nikitin, Captain, and the horrors on the D corpse you cite: gawd that’s awful corpse there!

  95. G Money says:

    Speaking of which, sounds like Brandon D is good to go against Buffalo. (did I just accidentally write a near-haiku sentence?)

    Yet another example of the rookie/vet problems on this D, where the return of a rookie to the D corps(e) represents an almost certain upgrade.

  96. Water Fire says:

    Woogie63: The last three opponents have aggressively forechecked two and had the strong side dman hold the line. We are taking three attempts and two battles just to get out of our zone.You correctly identify how tiring this process is, so we have no extended periods of ozone time.

    Last night against the Flames Boston forechecked one, and against the Canunks the Stars played a safer forechecked against Hamuis and Edler.

    When you go for something you give up something else. As the team gels and possibly gets better D the Oilers should have the ability to make teams pay for trying to jam them up. Especially McDavid.

    On the down side the change is to centre ice clogging and blue line stacking.

  97. oilswell says:

    sliderule:
    So we have two games in a row were the forwards with worst Corsi scored the goals.

    Hall to my eyes played a great game against a very good team.

    Corsi says otherwise.

    Good observation. Add to the picture showing the oilers were so lucky last night even their best players were outplayed.

  98. Water Fire says:

    VOR:
    Water Fire,

    Skating is the toughest of all hockey skills to evaluate. It has so many aspects that have nothing to do with speed. It isn’t just agility but also things like how fast you think the game, knowing when to skate and when to glide. Skilled players look faster because they are better at either feeling the flow of the game or in some rare cases, imposing their will on the flow of the game.

    I agree completely. In the near term a lot can affect it – see Purcell who suddenly keeps up pretty well and wasn’t before as I saw it.

    Yet it remains true that some hockey players aren’t great skaters at the NHL level. It lessens their games IMO. McDavid doesn’t have unparalleled acceleration because he has elite hockey sense. He is just straight out a generational level skater to go with his other meagre talents.

    Schultz has fantastic aspects to his skating (which is likely why he blows away players a level down) but apparently has no idea what’s going on around him a lot of the time. Still he gets around pretty quick. Sometimes even to the right place 🙂

  99. G Money says:

    Brandon Davidson is back, but sounds like Poo is headed for IR.

    Yay Oilers! Lead the league in injuries to key players.

    We’re #1 at something! (other than lotteries of course)

  100. kinger_OIL says:

    Snowman,

    I agree – Basketball has amazing stats: the biggest difference of course is the huge amount of scoring events, which results in +/- 100 controlled transitions from Offense to Defense. That’s why their stats are so much more valuable. In almost all instances in NBA, one team has possession, brings the ball up court the other team is defending. Sometimes rebounds, or loss of posession, squirmishes, but the ball up the court/ball down the court nature of B-Ball doesn’t change

    – Hockey is much more nuanced: “possession” doesn’t mean “offense” all the time, because the control of the puck, the length of time one team holds the puck, where on the ice the puck is controlled, and the frequency with which possession changes varies much more than the NBA

  101. McSorley33 says:

    Corsi comment vs. Mark Fayne still a top 4 D comment

    Has a gut feeling how that would turn out in here.

    The defence of Mr. Fayne has to stop.

  102. JDï™ says:

    McSorley33: The defence of Mr. Fayne has to stop.

    I think it did – as soon as he left NJ.

  103. Quinlan says:

    I know Fayne is taking a lot of heat – and well he should, he was awful last night – but people saying he’s got no value or he’s going to receive the Nikitin treatment? Give your head a shake.

    He had a bad game. Overall he’s had a bad year. But he’s an NHL defenseman. He played top 4 on a team that went to the Stanley Cup Final four years ago, playing 20:19 a night. Especially in the East, I cannot imagine that is so easily forgotten.

    The man has value – and he may yet have value to this team.

  104. kinger_OIL says:

    JDï™: I think it did – as soon as he left NJ.

    BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE!!!!

  105. JDï™ says:

    kinger_OIL,

    Alright – that’s it for me!

    Be good, everybody!

  106. Lowetide says:

    McSorley33:

    Has a gut feeling how that would turn out in here.

    This is what we talk about here. Expect more, but you are free to leave as well.

  107. blainer says:

    maudite:
    The problem with shultz on the pp at point is the book is written.From the get go, he’s struggled to hold the puck in at the line when pressure is coming or there.You can’t argue about his natural skill but it becomes more and more apparent that he got to this level over-relying on it, at the expense of awareness.He can play the game fast enough but he can’t think it fast enough at this level.With no fear of a shot and unsteady puck handling under pressure, they just rush him.Rightly so.From the first year he’s been gifted that spot the zone losses and short handed shots against have been a glaring weakness.

    I’d have him as 2nd pp at best but they persist putting him in that spot and it just visually has never seemed like a wise choice.I’m cheering for the guy and don’t have any angst but just keep seeing the same odd lack of any quick decision making if pressured.

    Agreed. To me Shultz is a major liability. I cannot understand why they play him on the PK.. I am guessing here but most of the PP goals scored against seem to be when he is defending. I wish there was a minus stat put in context for that.

    Funny how the PP had dried up since his return. Not blaming him only but he sure as hell isn’t helping. Would much rather see Klef Nurse or Davey there. Shultz has used up his nine lives.. time to move on.

  108. Lowetide says:

    John Chambers:
    kinger_OIL,

    Who’s going to trade for Fayne?

    Lots of teams. Fayne had a bad night people. He does not bring offense and he does not have fabulous puck moving ability. I think he is better than Gryba for instance.

  109. oliveoilers says:

    Lowetide: This is what we talk about here. Expect more, but you are free to leave as well.

    You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.

  110. kinger_OIL says:

    Lowetide,

    Yes, for sure LT – Props to JDi, who just crushed it there: he dropped mike and exit stage left

  111. blainer says:

    G Money: Very important to keep this in mind.

    Injuries are not an excuse, but they make a huge difference.One thing that all Stanley Cup Champions share over the last few years (other than stellar Corsi) is that they were all unusually healthy the year they won the cup.

    Right now, every NHL division leader is below average for injuries.

    The Oilers lead the league in ‘important player games lost’ – and that doesn’t include the players who are playing at less than full capacity.

    The Oilers are not good enough or deep enough to be able to absorb multiple losses at multiple positions.Before we even started the season, we had people playing above their ideal role.That situation gets worse with injuries.Add in underperforming vets like Fayne and Korpi, and suddenly a line or pairing that was barely good enough at the start of the season is playing up yet another level, and looking like an AHL calibre group because of it.

    We now have a 20-year-old rookie D on our top pairing, paired with a guy who ideally would himself be a complement to a 1D on the top pairing, NOT the guy sheltering a rookie.

    Point being – as concerning as last nights performance is, we’e seen better from this group against some very good teams, and I’m not going to lose much sleep over it until we see a team that ISN’T leading the league in important man games lost.

    Been saying this since the beginning of the season. I have to remind myself of this when we play teams like Toronto and Carolina. Not to mention that insane schedule to start the season. I really believe that when we get healthy we are gonna be a team nobody wants to play..

    Remind ourselves during the tough games how banged up we are. That mindset is helping me lower my yelling at the TV/60..

  112. blainer says:

    Lowetide: Lots of teams. Fayne had a bad night people. He does not bring offense and he does not have fabulous puck moving ability. I think he is better than Gryba for instance.

    LT I have a similar take on Fayne as you and Ricki.. You are correct he had an off game last night but Seguin Benn and company do that to a lot of D.

    He has value and just needs to play with a decent puck mover not named Shultz. Other than last night he is a much better option than Gryba in my eyes.

  113. G Money says:

    I find it astonishing that there are those folks who have the same reaction to hockey stats that religious nutjob fundamentalists have to science and the scientific process, and yet have such a staggering lack of self-awareness that they accuse those who would choose to include hockey stats in their evaluation of the situation as being the ‘religious’ side.

    Here’s a clue: Corsi stats don’t give a shit about you or your (experience shows generally biased, emotional, and typically worthless) opinion of what happened to this player, this team, or this season.

    They count shots. That’s it. They are factual, unbiased, and don’t miss a game or a period or even a play.

    Fayne is a weird case of a guy who is sometimes a highly capable defenseman, yet this season has been a tire fire more often than not.

    Yet the counting stats show that the Oilers generally outshoot the other team when he’s on the ice. Shots against are bad. Shots for are good. This is axiomatic. The most critical plays in hockey pretty much always involve a shot of some kind at some point.

    If you are to understand the game, and in particular Mark Fayne, you need to figure out why the eye hates his guts so often, yet the Oilers generally outshoot the bad guys when he’s on the ice moreso than when he’s off the ice. That is the challenge you need to answer if you are to have a credible opinion.

    If your answer is simply to suggest that shots don’t matter, and we should just trust your opinion because it’s your opinion, then you are something akin to a flat earth proponent. Feel free to join a society of equally deluded individuals and practice your tinfoil hat technique, insisting all the while that the earth is flat, because, you know, IT IS, and I CAN CLEARLY SEE IT SHEEPLE.

  114. Lowetide says:

    blainer: LT I have a similar take on Fayne as you and Ricki.. You are correct he had an off game last night but SeguinBenn and company do that to a lot of D.

    He has value and just needs to play with a decent puck mover not named Shultz.Other than last night he is a much better option than Gryba in my eyes.

    Sure. And on the day Edmonton has six better options, trade the man. We are not there.

  115. RexLibris says:

    G Money: Very important to keep this in mind.

    Injuries are not an excuse, but they make a huge difference.One thing that all Stanley Cup Champions share over the last few years (other than stellar Corsi) is that they were all unusually healthy the year they won the cup.

    Right now, every NHL division leader is below average for injuries.

    The Oilers lead the league in ‘important player games lost’ – and that doesn’t include the players who are playing at less than full capacity.

    The Oilers are not good enough or deep enough to be able to absorb multiple losses at multiple positions.Before we even started the season, we had people playing above their ideal role.That situation gets worse with injuries.Add in underperforming vets like Fayne and Korpi, and suddenly a line or pairing that was barely good enough at the start of the season is playing up yet another level, and looking like an AHL calibre group because of it.

    We now have a 20-year-old rookie D on our top pairing, paired with a guy who ideally would himself be a complement to a 1D on the top pairing, NOT the guy sheltering a rookie.

    Point being – as concerning as last nights performance is, we’e seen better from this group against some very good teams, and I’m not going to lose much sleep over it until we see a team that ISN’T leading the league in important man games lost.

    That’s one of the reasons I follow Man Games Lost and RT a lot of their summaries.

    Very good information there, excellent way of adding some information to help frame the relatives success/failure of teams in the league.

  116. blainer says:

    G Money:
    Brandon Davidson is back, but sounds like Poo is headed for IR.

    Yay Oilers!Lead the league in injuries to key players.

    We’re #1 at something! (other than lotteries of course)

    G.

    I wonder if the idea of trading Nikkitin and Korpi for Bickell might make sense again with all the injuries up front.

    Bickell has 7 goals and 7 assists in 12 games since being sent down. The money shouldn’t be too bad as they can hold back cash on NN and Korpi isn’t bringing much to the table either..

  117. G Money says:

    blainer,

    I think Bickell would be a great add to the bottom 6, he’s been a contributing member to the best team in hockey for years. He’s huge, he’s mean, he plays ‘heavy’.

    But I think the concern is actually with the length of his contract.

    $4M is a mighty load to pay for his typical production (.3 ppg or so). Trading Nikitin and Korpi would obviously make that a wash this year, but Nikitin’s contract disappears this year, so the risk is that it would hamper the team from making improvements elsewhere next year. Like the D!

  118. RexLibris says:

    McSorley33:
    Corsi comment vs. Mark Fayne still a top 4 D comment

    Has a gut feeling how that would turn out in here.

    The defence of Mr. Fayne has to stop.

    Much of a supporting player’s value lies in the system and environment in which they play.

    Fayne has a skill set that has made him an NHL regular in an era that is more demanding of defensemen than many previous.

    That his skill set does not mesh with McLellan’s schemes isn’t a problem with Fayne but rather a mismatch.

    In a more defensively-focused scheme perhaps Fayne thrives, hence his record with New Jersey.

    The Oilers, for lack of skill-identification, have chased away plenty of good defensemen over the years and in Fayne’s case I think this time they realize that he has value just not for this roster.

    He’s far from the kind of contract dump that Nikitin is, not that that was part of your argument, but Fayne can bring back a warm body with value whereas Nikitin is most likely a trade deadline move for a pick.

  119. John Chambers says:

    Lowetide: Lots of teams. Fayne had a bad night people. He does not bring offense and he does not have fabulous puck moving ability. I think he is better than Gryba for instance.

    Hmm, I’m not sure we’re going to be able to ‘Smid’ our way out of this one, unless we retain some salary. I just don’t foresee to many teams wanting to take on a 5-6 guy for $3.5M

  120. RexLibris says:

    Lowetide: Lots of teams. Fayne had a bad night people. He does not bring offense and he does not have fabulous puck moving ability. I think he is better than Gryba for instance.

    How about the Rangers? They seem to like those sponge-defensemen who absorb shots against by the thousands.

    If they hadn’t had success previous years, and Vigneault didn’t have a pretty nice track record as a coach, I’d suggest they were this year’s Minnesota/Colorado/Toronto/Calgary.

    Should we just pencil Vigneault in for the Jack Adams now?

  121. Water Fire says:

    blainer: G, I wonder if the idea of trading Nikkitinand Korpi for Bickell might make sense again with all the injuries up front.

    Bickell has 7 goals and 7 assists in 12 games since being sent down. The money shouldn’t be too bad as they can hold back cash on NN and Korpi isn’t bringing much to the table either..

    It looks like Bickell has inner ear issues:
    “* * *

    I’m not sure it can be understated how devastating the vertigo has been to Bickell’s career. Nobody around the team seems willing to acknowledge how much it has affected Bickell’s game, but starting in the spring of 2015, Bickell’s impact on the ice took a noticeable dip. His ability to make plays in tight spaces and finish opportunities completely evaporated.”

    Too bad for him, won’t help the Oilers.

    http://www.secondcityhockey.com/2015/11/3/9661544/bryan-bickell-chicago-blackhawks-contract-vertigo-overpaid-2015

    Another interesting tid bit:

    “He’s the poster child for the Hawks’ fringe interest in maintaining some semblance of size while they continue to double down on speed and hockey I.Q.” perhaps a good path to follow via the best team going lately.

  122. RexLibris says:

    blainer: G.

    I wonder if the idea of trading Nikkitinand Korpi for Bickell might make sense again with all the injuries up front.

    Bickell has 7 goals and 7 assists in 12 games since being sent down. The money shouldn’t be too bad as they can hold back cash on NN and Korpi isn’t bringing much to the table either..

    I floated that awhile ago and it was soundly shot down.

    On paper it can make sense, but the Hawks want to be rid of Daley and we want to be rid of Nikitin, I’d rather keep NIkitin because his contract ends this year.

    We would want Bickell but the Hawks might want someone like Hendricks or even Fayne as you suggest. Not sure the Oilers want to move the former.

    Bickell for Fayne? Not sure.

  123. LMHF#1 says:

    G Money:
    I find it astonishing that there are those folks who have the same reaction to hockey stats that religious nutjob fundamentalists have to science and the scientific process, and yet have such a staggering lack of self-awareness that they accuse those who would choose to include hockey stats in their evaluation of the situation as being the ‘religious’ side.

    Here’s a clue: Corsi stats don’t give a shit about you or your (experience shows generally biased, emotional, and typically worthless) opinion of what happened to this player, this team, or this season.

    They count shots.That’s it. They are factual, unbiased, and don’t miss a game or a period or even a play.

    Fayne is a weird case of a guy who is sometimes a highly capable defenseman, yet this season has been a tire fire more often than not.

    Yet the counting stats show that the Oilers generally outshoot the other team when he’s on the ice.Shots against are bad.Shots for are good.This is axiomatic.The most critical plays in hockey pretty much always involve a shot of some kind at some point.

    If you are to understand the game, and in particular Mark Fayne, you need to figure out why the eye hates his guts so often, yet the Oilers generally outshoot the bad guys when he’s on the ice moreso than when he’s off the ice.That is the challenge you need to answer if you are to have a credible opinion.

    If your answer is simply to suggest that shots don’t matter,and we should just trust your opinion because it’s your opinion, then you are something akin to a flat earth proponent.Feel free to join a society of equally deluded individuals and practice your tinfoil hat technique, insisting all the while that the earth is flat, because, you know, IT IS, and I CAN CLEARLY SEE IT SHEEPLE.

    Ever watch the 2-part Go God Go episode of South Park GMoney?

    “Our Corsi is the true answer to the great question!”

    The sea otters are going to show up any day now…

  124. Diesel says:

    Joey Legs playing left wing for the sunshine squad today. Top line duty.

  125. GCW_69 says:

    kinger_OIL:
    – Before start of next year, all of Nikitin, Captain, Shultz and Fayne are gone.That’s close to 15MM in salary.You get to spend 6MM x 2 on two established D

    – With Sekera, Klef, Nurse in the mix, and some ofGriff, Davidson, Gryba, Musil, Simpson, etc as 6/7 (1 or more is dealt) you have, dare to dream, quality D corps, replacing current D corpse

    Who would they be? Looking at this crop of free agent defenders for next summer, you get:

    Name (Age)

    Campbell (36)
    Yandle (29)
    Byfuglien (30)
    Goligoski (30)
    Coburn (30)
    Boyle (39)
    Hamhuis (33)
    Quincey (30)

    and a whole bunch of crap. If you take Campbell and Boyle out we are talking about 6 defenders league wide. oilers will be lucky to get one of them. We know they all won’t make it to free agency either.

  126. sliderule says:

    Jonathan Willis,

    Your point is?

  127. smellyglove says:

    Lowetide: I said in the post;

    The acquisition of Nilsson for Liam Coughlin will be a major story of the offseason should this continue.

    So, I reject the framing of the issue as you have presented it.

    Lowetide,

    Lt, this is what you said in a comment:
    “Yeah, I knew you were joking but that is a helluva get if it works out. That is what the team needs, to solve three problems this year and then have only three problems in summer. If Nilsson, Davidson, McDavid fill holes, we are on to the next.”

    Which is why I said to cool the jets in Nilsson. I stand by my caution to not annoint him as permanent or even temporary goalie solution.

  128. Bag of Pucks says:

    G Money:
    I find it astonishing that there are those folks who have the same reaction to hockey stats that religious nutjob fundamentalists have to science and the scientific process, and yet have such a staggering lack of self-awareness that they accuse those who would choose to include hockey stats in their evaluation of the situation as being the ‘religious’ side.

    Here’s a clue: Corsi stats don’t give a shit about you or your (experience shows generally biased, emotional, and typically worthless) opinion of what happened to this player, this team, or this season.

    They count shots.That’s it. They are factual, unbiased, and don’t miss a game or a period or even a play.

    Fayne is a weird case of a guy who is sometimes a highly capable defenseman, yet this season has been a tire fire more often than not.

    Yet the counting stats show that the Oilers generally outshoot the other team when he’s on the ice.Shots against are bad.Shots for are good.This is axiomatic.The most critical plays in hockey pretty much always involve a shot of some kind at some point.

    If you are to understand the game, and in particular Mark Fayne, you need to figure out why the eye hates his guts so often, yet the Oilers generally outshoot the bad guys when he’s on the ice moreso than when he’s off the ice.That is the challenge you need to answer if you are to have a credible opinion.

    If your answer is simply to suggest that shots don’t matter,and we should just trust your opinion because it’s your opinion, then you are something akin to a flat earth proponent.Feel free to join a society of equally deluded individuals and practice your tinfoil hat technique, insisting all the while that the earth is flat, because, you know, IT IS, and I CAN CLEARLY SEE IT SHEEPLE.

    First off, totally agree with your post.

    Second, Fayne team worst -8 amongst D on team. And he’s not playing the toughest opps or starting with the worst ZSs, correct?

    So, possibly the explanation for why Fayne bleeds goals against while not looking horrible Corsi wise is, you only need one shot to score!

    Does Fayne grade out worst on your danger metric?

    If so, there’s our explanation. Why take 3 shots from the perimeter against Nurse when Fayne lets you walk it right into the slot?

    I’ve never understood why +/- has been completely marginalized, particularly over larger sample sizes. It’s a results oriented stat and should have value in lending context to other metrics. It certainly matches up with the eye test. How often have you looked at the worst +/- players at the end of the season and said, yep, those are the worst defensive players by eye as well?

    It’s certainly revealing that Ebs has racked up a -10 in close to half the games that RNH has posted a -5. One of these players is better at defending than the other.

  129. Soup Fascist says:

    Wasn’t watching the game but I see the Cap’s Tom Wilson just got 8 minutes for roughing in one play (if TSN Hockey app is to be trusted). Was that an accidental entry by the guy doing stats or a league record for most 2 minute minors in one play?

  130. leadfarmer says:

    GCW_69,

    I’m guessing Buff and Spurgeon. As long as they keep Buffs contract to 5 years or less I could live with it. Spurgeon would cost probably 4.5. Maybe Hamonic deal will go through in the offseason. Either way they really need two guys.

  131. delooper says:

    I’d love to read the posts by the Corsi-evangelists but my 6-year old son can read quite well and shouldn’t be exposed to that kind of language. Why are you guys so angry?

  132. frjohnk says:

    UFA is not the play next summer for D men. With the salary cap only increasing by $1M if teams are lucky and the Oilers being one of the few teams that will have lots of cap space to play with this summer, a better move might be like what Snow did to get Boychuk and Leddy. IIRC, there will be 13 teams close to cap next summer that may have to dump contracts, and there are 6 that have internal caps. Having cap space available is a tremendous asset.

    Another play is to go after some of the RFA Dmen.

    Hamonic might still be on the table.

    But I wouldn’t go after any UFA Dmen. Only guy Id be in interested in is Buff. But We will have to overpay in money AND term to get Byfuglien which I’m not interested in doing. Somebody will get crazy and I can see Buff getting 7M for 7 years.

    I hope that is not us.

  133. blainer says:

    RexLibris: I floated that awhile ago and it was soundly shot down.

    On paper it can make sense, but the Hawks want to be rid of Daley and we want to be rid of Nikitin, I’d rather keep NIkitin because his contract ends this year.

    We would want Bickell but the Hawks might want someone like Hendricks or even Fayne as you suggest. Not sure the Oilers want to move the former.

    Bickell for Fayne? Not sure.

    Rex
    G
    Water.

    Thought that extra year of Korpi would offset the extra year of Bickell with the hawks holding back some cash and us holding money back on NN this year… think there is a way to figure out the money but was unaware of the vertigo issue.

    If the vertigo is a chronic problem then the entire idea is a non starter. But Jeebus he is a monster and hits like one .. almost three hits a game.. A big forward who finishes his checks and can chip in on the scoring.. would like that for sure..

  134. Магия 10 says:

    Hockey Buddha: Woodguy, come on, I love your posts, but you have to admit some culpability in being a little Pythagoras-like, when it comes to corsi!

    “Steve Smith”: I do not think that “in a right triangle, the square of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides” means what you think it means.

    doubt he was talking about a^2 + b^2 = c^2 but the cult of the mathies:

    http://www.britannica.com/topic/Pythagoreanism

  135. AsiaOil says:

    Hall had a good game despite the numbers carrying 2 rookies around much of the night – no worries there. But I saw no “sawing off against the other teams best” last night from line two. They had their souls owned by bigger, faster skilled players. It’s true that size does not trump skill – but skilled size usually does.

  136. blainer says:

    Hey Pouzar..

    I’m expecting you back after the game tomorrow night !!

    Go Oil..

  137. G Money says:

    Water Fire,

    Man, that’s tough.

    I caught a mild cold or flu or something about hmmm, eight years ago, and it triggered vertigo so bad that after a few days, I ended up going to emergency. They checked me for a stroke just in case. But overall, I was healthy as a horse.

    It went away after about another week, which was a horrible week.

    The worst part is that it was recurring, coming back and hitting me out of the blue every six months to a year, and lasting for a few days. Initial diagnosis was BPV, but it did not fit the profile, and the common treatment for BPV didn’t help at all.

    Eventual diagnosis was vestibular neuritis, which can be recurring. Thankfully, each succeeding bout was milder and shorter.

    However, to this day I’m still not 100% recovered in the sense that I’m far more sensitive to head movement than I used to be. So I avoid roller coasters (which sucks cause my kids are old enough to go on them and I want to go with them!), and I even avoid doing movements like spinning elbows and spinning back kicks in Muay Thai, as doing more than a few reps tends to make me queasy.

    Can’t imagine being a professional athlete and having to manage through that.

  138. Adam Wu says:

    delooper:
    I’d love to read the posts by the Corsi-evangelists but my 6-year old son can read quite well and shouldn’t be exposed to that kind of language.Why are you guys so angry?

    Being called “evangelists” when they are using an empirical, evidence-based metric might be part of it.

  139. Quinlan says:

    smellyglove: Lowetide,

    Lt, this is what you said in a comment:
    “Yeah, I knew you were joking but that is a helluva get if it works out. That is what the team needs, to solve three problems this year and then have only three problems in summer. If Nilsson, Davidson, McDavid fill holes, we are on to the next.”

    Which is why I said to cool the jets in Nilsson. I stand by my caution to not annoint him as permanent or even temporary goalie solution.

    Huh? ” if it works out…”

    Not sure what that means to you… but it looks like a conditional statement to me. Rather than, say, an annointing.

    So you don’t think Nilsson is even a temporary goalie solution? Talbot should for sure start the next game then.

  140. G Money says:

    LMHF#1,

    Hmmm, I can’t recall that one. I started watching South Park before it was available here, and we would painstakingly download the shorts from the still-nascent internet to watch them. Watched for a few years while it was still ‘subversive’ but only watch once in a rare while since then.

  141. flyfish1168 says:

    Ryan Hamilton has been recalled

  142. G Money says:

    Bag of Pucks,

    Fayne definitely grades worse with DFA than he does with Corsi, so for sure part of the story is the calibre of chances.

    Fayne was at 170 DFA/60 yesterday, the worst individual score ever recorded for an Oiler player with more than 2:00 of TOI in a game! (since I started tracking this season, anyway)

    To put that in perspective, DFA essentially normalizes shots against as if they are a ~28 ft wrist shot. So that number means that in an hours worth of 5v5, Fayne is giving up 170 x 28 ft wrist shots, or almost one every twenty seconds!

    It’s not the whole story, though, because even after accounting for the danger of chances given up, he still looks better by on-ice results than he does by eye. *I* would say. LT for example I think sees Fayne better than I do, which is actually more in line with the objective numbers.

    Assessing defensemen is hard. (Just ask MacT)

    Also on the topic of +-, I agree. It’s quite funny since most would consider me a fairly hardcore and rigorous numbers guy, but I do end up defending +- every once in a while. It is not a ‘worthless’ stat, not at all. It is an extremely noisy stat, which means you need a LOT of signal (i.e. ice time) before you can rely on the stat. But it does have value.

  143. LadiesloveSmid says:

    flyfish1168:
    Ryan Hamilton has been recalled

    the lineup today is just horrific, hard to support when you’re doubled in shots and Hamilton comes up to replace a top 6 body

    McDavid, Pouliot, Yakupov, and now potentially Eberle out. Korpikoski, Gazdic, Khaira, Hamilton, Pakarinen in.

    Hell, I miss Klinkhammer.

    Enough with the quality man games lost, let’s get a little bit of luck in the injury department

  144. commonfan14 says:

    The hostility to Corsi really seems baffling considering that the oldest knee-jerk cliche in hockey is how important it is to get pucks at the net. Corsi is just a count of the exact thing that everyone universally agrees is enormously important to winning hockey games, so what’s the issue?

    Sometimes I’m tempted to say that it must just be as simple as the fact that the name is unforgivably terrible, but it’s probably more complicated than that.

    I think there will always be people who get their backs up about anything that brings a degree of predictability to a game that they like to think is anything but.

    For some fans, Cinderella stories are fun. Imagining that your team is pulling through based on toughness and a never-say-die attitude is fun. Thinking that your team has as good a chance as any to win it all at the start of the season is fun.

    For some writers, making up theories to explain PDO-fuelled runs and painting the picture with gushing prose is a lot more interesting than just breaking down the stats for people. Provoking reactions with hot takes is fun and gets them noticed. It’s hard to stand out in the crowd if you’re all just translating the same set of stats for people.

    I don’t see any of those factors changing, no matter how good the stats get.

    Better to just accept that there are different kinds of fans and different kinds of writers, and that at the end of the day we’re all just going to go with what we find the most enjoyable.

    The hard part if when you know your team is operating from ignorance. That’s a battle worth fighting.

  145. G Money says:

    commonfan14,

    Very well said. This must be why they named an entire House after you!

  146. jm363561 says:

    I just can’t believe Chiarelli didn’t sign Nilsson to a 2 or 3 year contract – what an idiot.
    =======

    Yes, I had been expecting V 2.0 to have been demanding PChia be fired for doing nothing about this!

    The Oilers are 2-0-0 in December and a mere 5 points out of a playoff spot and the best LT can do is “WOOT”.

  147. blainer says:

    1-0 condors.. currie SH..

    Man that stadium is empty.

  148. "Steve Smith" says:

    Магия 10,

    Right! I’d heard somewhere about his belief that you shouldn’t handle beans (if you know what I mean), but I’d somehow forgotten about it. Sorry, Buddha.

  149. blainer says:

    LadiesloveSmid: the lineup today is just horrific, hard to support when you’re doubled in shots and Hamilton comes up to replace a top 6 body

    McDavid, Pouliot, Yakupov, and now potentially Eberle out. Korpikoski, Gazdic, Khaira, Hamilton, Pakarinen in.

    Hell, I miss Klinkhammer.

    Enough with the quality man games lost, let’s get a little bit of luck in the injury department

    And we haven’t even had Hall’s annual injury yet !

  150. Lowetide says:

    smellyglove: Lowetide,

    Lt, this is what you said in a comment:
    “Yeah, I knew you were joking but that is a helluva get if it works out. That is what the team needs, to solve three problems this year and then have only three problems in summer. If Nilsson, Davidson, McDavid fill holes, we are on to the next.”

    Which is why I said to cool the jets in Nilsson. I stand by my caution to not annoint him as permanent or even temporary goalie solution.

    I stand with you, that was the reasoning behind qualifying things with ‘if it works out’ in the original post.

  151. "Steve Smith" says:

    Lowetide: I stand with you, that was the reasoning behind qualifying things with ‘if it works out’ in the original post.

    Look, LT, I’m not disagreeing that early returns on Nilsson have been positive, but your anointing him the 2018 Conn Smythe winner seems a little hasty.

  152. AsiaOil says:

    We should be both buyers and sellers up to the trade deadline. Would be way better to only need one more dman over the summer. Getting Hamonic and Okposo this year would solve two issues at once (as long as we can resign Okposo to a reasonable deal). But selling Fayne, Shultz and Gryba at the deadline for whatever is fine with me to clear out the deadwood – then lose Niki and Ference in the summer since I doubt anyone wants them.

    But no one is talking about what to do with Talbot if he does not recover PDQ. Given what he cost to obtain – you recoup some of that if possible in January if he does not have a big turn around in December. Nice that Nilsson is playing well – but Talbot need to get his junk together soon or it’s a problem given his UFA status.

    frjohnk:
    UFA is not the play next summer for D men. With the salary cap only increasing by $1M if teams are lucky and the Oilers being one of the few teams that will have lots of cap space to play with this summer, a better move might be like what Snow did to get Boychuk and Leddy.IIRC, there will be 13 teams close to cap next summer that may have to dump contracts, and there are 6 that have internal caps.Having cap space available is a tremendous asset.

    Another play is to go after some of the RFA Dmen.

    Hamonic might still be on the table.

    But I wouldn’t go after any UFA Dmen.Only guy Id be in interested in is Buff.But We will have to overpay in money AND term to get Byfuglien which I’m not interested in doing.Somebody will get crazy and I can see Buff getting 7M for 7 years.

    I hope that is not us.

  153. Bag of Pucks says:

    G Money:
    Bag of Pucks,

    Fayne definitely grades worse with DFA than he does with Corsi, so for sure part of the story is the calibre of chances.

    Fayne was at 170 DFA/60 yesterday, the worst individual score ever recorded for an Oiler player with more than 2:00 of TOI in a game! (since I started tracking this season, anyway)

    To put that in perspective, DFA essentially normalizes shots against as if they are a ~28 ft wrist shot. So that number means that in an hours worth of 5v5, Fayne is giving up 170 x 28 ft wrist shots, or almost one every twenty seconds!

    It’s not the whole story, though, because even after accounting for the danger of chances given up, he still looks better by on-ice results than he does by eye.*I* would say.LT for example I think sees Fayne better than I do, which is actually more in line with the objective numbers.

    Assessing defensemen is hard.(Just ask MacT)

    Also on the topic of +-, I agree. It’s quite funny since most would consider me a fairly hardcore and rigorous numbers guy, but I do end up defending +- every once in a while.It is not a ‘worthless’ stat, not at all.It is an extremely noisy stat, which means you need a LOT of signal (i.e. ice time) before you can rely on the stat.But it does have value.

    Good stuff. Helps to explain why TMac showed him the press box door and the popcorn machine.

  154. LadiesloveSmid says:

    blainer:
    1-0 condors.. currie SH..

    Man that stadium is empty.

    Scrivens allows 4 in the first

  155. Lowetide says:

    “Steve Smith”: Look, LT, I’m not disagreeing that early returns on Nilsson have been positive, but your anointing him the 2018 Conn Smythe winner seems a little hasty.

    Everyone gets detention after school and I don’t even care if you miss you bus!!!!

  156. LadiesloveSmid says:

    Lowetide: I stand with you, that was the reasoning behind qualifying things with ‘if it works out’ in the original post.

    I’m one to give it a good sample size before I make big claims, LT.

    he’s had a good stretch, I wouldn’t call him a “vezina finalist” quite yet

  157. G Money says:

    By the way, I’m working on a cool new visualization. Well, I think it’s cool, anyway.

    I’m trying to show a ‘game flow’ chart, but for each individual defenseman and defensive pairing. Might do it for forward lines too. Just like the game flow, it shows the plus and minus of the shot attempts, with the shifts for each of the players shaded onto the chart.

    I have the basic chart (for example, here is the chart for Gryba):
    http://i.imgur.com/0I2iP0u.png

    You can see why Gryba’s numbers looked OK – after a horrific end of 1st/start of 2nd, he was actually on ice for some pretty decent pushback to end the game. And NO goals against.

    Just need to add the shadings so you can see when he was actually on the ice, not just guessing.

    Ideally, I should be able to figure out how to put all the charts on one display, so you can see the gameflow for every D on a single image.

    Cool? Interesting? Possibly valuable? Yes? No?

  158. Woogie63 says:

    Scrivens pull after 20 minutes of work.

  159. G Money says:

    This is Fayne BTW:
    http://i.imgur.com/noIamQN.png

    You can’t explicitly see it, but it’s pretty obvious he got benched after the Oilers gave up the goal late in the second!

  160. OilClog says:

    I fully believe another team will take on Fayne, absolutely, doesn’t mean he’s a top 4 D for the Edmonton Oilers, He’s not.

    Andrew Ference was decent 4 years ago too!

    Woooo.

    Fayne does not match up against the big bad centres in the west, send him to NYI for one of their unused guys upfront.

    If Chia was any good Fayne and Scrivens for Harmonic lol

  161. Aron_S says:

    Woogie63,

    Holy smokes. Is anyone watching? I am not, but his ineptitude is record low at the moment. I really respect his off-ice demeanour, and wonder if he’s seeing a therapist or goalie coach to try and pull himself out of this. If he plays every other game for the Condors he could sewer their season.

  162. Water Fire says:

    G Money:
    Water Fire,

    Man, that’s tough.

    I caught a mild cold or flu or something about hmmm, eight years ago, and it triggered vertigo so bad that after a few days, I ended up going to emergency.They checked me for a stroke just in case.But overall, I was healthy as a horse.

    It went away after about another week, which was a horrible week.

    The worst part is that it was recurring, coming back and hitting me out of the blue every six months to a year, and lasting for a few days.Initial diagnosis was BPV, but it did not fit the profile, and the common treatment for BPV didn’t help at all.

    Eventual diagnosis was vestibular neuritis, which can be recurring.Thankfully, each succeeding bout was milder and shorter.

    However, to this day I’m still not 100% recovered in the sense that I’m far more sensitive to head movement than I used to be.So I avoid roller coasters (which sucks cause my kids are old enough to go on them and I want to go with them!), and I even avoid doing movements like spinning elbows and spinning back kicks in Muay Thai, as doing more than a few reps tends to make me queasy.

    Can’t imagine being a professional athlete and having to manage through that.

    I was taking out a dead apple tree, being careful too, and was pushing the 6 foot tree forward. A 2″ cut off branch was pointing toward me. It slipped through gloved hands and I took it dead low centre forehead.

    Wife calls out the kitchen window ‘you okay’. I was seeing stars a bit but carried on.

    Today I was caulking crown moulding and tipped my head back a bit and almost went off the ladder. The apple tree attack was 5 years ago.

    Brought home to a finer point the consequences of concussion. The league loses a lot of respect in my eyes for not taking simple steps to protect the players and the tens of thousands of youth who play hockey, given the hockey world follows their lead.

  163. kinger_OIL says:

    GCW_69,

    – Yeah GCW: one off that list of FA, and one RFA from a team needing cap room: problem solved. Chia has experience with this, and should be all over relieving cap issues for effective D.

    – Need 2 D age 24-29 in mid-career form, with upside or fully developed but still km’s left in tank. So better than Gryba for upside, and no more Captains with wheels already clearly falling off.

  164. Stelio Kontos says:

    Lowetide: Everyone gets detention after school and I don’t even care if you miss you bus!!!!

    “You don’t dismiss me, the bell dismisses me!”

  165. striker says:

    Woogie63: Scrivens pull after 20 minutes of work.

    4 goals allowed on 11 shots.

    His confidence must be shot. It’s been a lifetime since Spring 2014 for him.

  166. russ99 says:

    Ference on IR? What did he have a hangnail?

    Hope this is a precursor to a season-long conditioning assignment to Bakersfield.

    Pouliot also on IR and Hamilton called up.

    Trade imminent? That’s a lot of cap room on the IR…

  167. leadfarmer says:

    7 players have played 26 or 27 of the 27 games played. 3 of them are Lander Purcell and Letestu. Nuge is one of the players and I would hardly consider him healthy this year. To say this team has been decimated by injuries would be an understatement

  168. delooper says:

    Adam Wu: Being called “evangelists” when they are using an empirical, evidence-based metric might be part of it.

    We could manufacture an empirical evidence-based metric for eyeglow/60 as well. That would not make it meaningful, or at least, its importance would be dubious.

  169. Gerta Rauss says:

    TMac Saturday audio

    http://oilers.nhl.com/club/podcastplayer.htm?pid=98&iid=53037

    -Eberle and Klefbom had maitenance days…8 games in 14 nights…both expected to be ready tomorrow

    -Ference has an ailment…see if we can get him repaired as well

    -Davidson should be ready to go tomorrow

    -Fayne had a tough night…others did as well….”we’ll get him back to where he needs to be”

    -Pouliot will not play tomorrow, potentially an IR situation

    -At some point we’ll need to get Cam in the net….Nilsson will play tomorrow

  170. Mr DeBakey says:

    commonfan14: Sometimes I’m tempted to say that it must just be as simple as the fact that the name is unforgivably terrible, but it’s probably more complicated than that.

    That’s a big part of it
    If it was called Redzone Percentage, you’d be seeing headlines on Steve Simmons’ columns like “Leafs Blue in Redzone Disaster”

    Another reason is it destroyed narrative, the facts regularly wouldn’t support stories of how “Beloved Player Sparkled” or “Evil Euro Floated”
    The story-tellers fought back with references to greasy areas and such
    Now the spreadsheet boys are heading there
    Stay tuned Monday for another episode of The Edge of Skates

  171. AsiaOil says:

    Starter’s dip 🙂

    LadiesloveSmid: Scrivens allows 4 in the first

  172. G Money says:

    AsiaOil,

    It’s now in solid starter’s destruction territory. Will be interesting to see if he actually recovers by next year, and what that will take, per our bet.

    You might actually win one or two of the four points.

  173. G Money says:

    This is the game flow chart edited to show only Fayne’s DFF, with his shifts highlighted.

    Check out the four second shift that resulted in a goal against late in the second. When I first put up this chart, I thought it was a bug because the shift wasn’t highlighted, but the goal was (which means the program was assigning that event as having him on the ice).

    I had to check the NHL TOI to discover it was a four second shift, and then expand the x axis to be able to actually see a few of his shifts.

    http://i.imgur.com/UN4Sobw.png

  174. Water Fire says:

    Love G’s work. I don’t find it hard to assess players. It’s hard to get enough eyeball time on an individual to make a fair call.

    Good math helps dispell myths and explain outliers. But as he says t he math verifies what the eyes see. People love to complicate things. Both are good and useful.

    Fayne is a serviceable player, which is a useful player. The Oilers need to get from over taxing those types to putting them in a place to succeed and developing proper support.

    The issue with breakouts has a lot to do with forwards methinks. Tmac is on it. In this we trust

  175. Armchair GM says:

    Woodguy: corsi

    What is not well-known is that the Soviets invented corsi first. It was developed by Vladymyr Korzi for the Red Army team and is the main reason the Soviets instituted 5 man units at the core of their hockey philosophy. From Korzi’s Little Red Book, “hockey players do not have an individual statistic from my ‘Korzi’ calculations. The statistical analysis belongs to groups of players. As such, a coach may be able to determine the optimal deployment of players as groups of 5. I would caution against using this statistic to provided insight at any particular game or small groups of games although a good sense of the effectiveness of a group of players should arise over time. P.S. This type of analysis is unlikely to ever gain acceptance in Canada as the capitalists move players from line to line in random according to a coach’s hunch or a player’s ‘hot streak’. As such it is inevitable that the Soviet method of hockey shall reign supreme!”

    Vladymyr Korzi (Sept 1, 1972)

  176. G Money says:

    Water Fire: It’s hard to get enough eyeball time on an individual to make a fair call.
    Good math helps dispell myths and explain outliers. But as he says t he math verifies what the eyes see. People love to complicate things. Both are good and useful.

    Precisely.

    Not only impossible to get enough eyeball time (I miss games, periods, or shifts … the stats don’t), but at EV, there are 5 of “our” players on the ice at any given time.

    An individual has zero chance of beig able to iso on any one of them and notice what they’re doing well or not doing well unless they replay the game five times.

    Otherwise, you’re only going to notice them when they do something of note, whether for good or for bad.

    So I am astounded at the arrogance of those who think so highly of their own grossly limited observation capacity that they are able to say “no, the stats are wrong because I saw them wrong” without any self-awareness of those limitations at all.

    Especially given their comments more often than not simply confirm that their understanding of the game itself is weak. Astonishing. Truly.

  177. Adam Wu says:

    delooper: We could manufacture an empirical evidence-based metric for eyeglow/60 as well.That would not make it meaningful, or at least, its importance would be dubious.

    While your hypothesis is a likely one, you wouldn’t KNOW that it is not meaningful until you actually did the work to validate it.

    And that’s the thing about corsi. It HAS been validated. Repeatedly.

  178. oliveoilers says:

    Armchair GM: What is not well-known is that the Soviets invented corsi first.It was developed by Vladymyr Korzi for the Red Army team and is the main reason the Soviets instituted 5 man units at the core of their hockey philosophy.From Korzi’s Little Red Book, “hockey players do not have an individual statistic from my ‘Korzi’ calculations.The statistical analysis belongs to groups of players.As such, a coach may be able to determine the optimal deployment of players as groups of 5.I would caution against using this statistic to provided insight at any particular game or small groups of games although a good sense of the effectiveness of a group of players should arise over time.P.S. This type of analysis is unlikely to ever gain acceptance in Canada as the capitalists move players from line to line in random according to a coach’s hunch or a player’s ‘hot streak’.As such it is inevitable that the Soviet method of hockey shall reign supreme!”

    Vladymyr Korzi(Sept 1, 1972)

    Indeed, Vladymyr Korzi’s work was answered by a big hearted, life long hockey coach from a small Saskatchewan town called Randy McCarthy, who publicly and controversially eschewed all empirical evidence, reasoning that “I’ve been a peewee coach 30yrs. I know what I see. I think I know a little about winning, if ever there’s a concern.”

    The two titans of hockey thinking only met once in there lives, with a bizarre incident in a Zurich hotel, when McCarthy accused Korzi of hiding under his bed wearing nothing but red underwear.

    The two schools of philosophy have never been married, with experts predicting a grand unified theory of relativity being unveiled before this.

    Tonka Construction Toys Big Book Of Hockey(TM) 1987

  179. Armchair GM says:

    G Money,

    Thanks, G Money. You’re one of the reasons I love this blog so much so providing you with a smile is about the most I can repay the ‘math’ people for sharing their insights to the game for me. (I can follow the math, I just can’t do it myself.)

  180. G Money says:

    oliveoilers,

    Heh heh, you guys should collaborate on this History of Hockey.

    For greatest appeal, stick figure cartoon format recommended!!

  181. Lowetide says:

    I once met Korzi, shook his hand and thanked him for his work. He spit on me.

  182. Armchair GM says:

    oliveoilers: Indeed, Vladymyr Korzi’s work was answered by a big hearted, life long hockey coach from a small Saskatchewan town called Randy McCarthy,

    Tonka Construction Toys Big Book Of Hockey(TM) 1987

    IIRC McCarthy died without completing his lifelong dream of creating a useful metric for ‘grit factor.’

  183. AsiaOil says:

    Oh my friend G – Scrivens is likely done as an NHL goalie and Talbot has lost his job to a KHL guy. We both agreed that Ramo was junk but disagree on Enroth. You think he’s a starter while I thought his ceiling is high-end backup (a role he is excelling in this year I might add). Jury is still out on Talbot and Enroth – but the story is already over for Scrivens and Ramo.

    Please consider that your approach is entirely based on trailing indicators – and this is why you could not see that Nilsson had good potential. He was the best goalie in camp – full stop. What you’ve done is a good start – but unless these trailing indicators are supported by some real time assessment of current play – it will have severe limitation in telling us what will happen next. My calls at the end of TC were as follows:

    Scriven – demote / not an NHL goalie
    Talbot – wildcard, good potential, but high risk with no demonstrated performance as workhorse starter
    Nilsson – big, athletic, playing very well so a good risk as backup that might pay off

    I’d call that batting 1.00 🙂

    But I very much caution pushing our luck on Nilsson – he’s not ready to be a 60 game a year guy and might never be. It’s a bit like anointing Drai a top line RW after his first 2 weeks this year. We need to nurture Nilsson’s development and get the guy some support ASAP.

    G Money:
    AsiaOil,

    It’s now in solid starter’s destruction territory.Will be interesting to see if he actually recovers by next year, and what that will take, per our bet.

    You might actually win one or two of the four points.

  184. AsiaOil says:

    G Money,

    By the way – thanks again for the game stats you are compiling – great stuff that provides a ton of context for post-game musing.

  185. VOR says:

    Water Fire,

    Do you know the story of the Engineer?

    He was too small and way too slow to play Major Junior hockey. The year he was 19 he had a hell of a Junior B season. Numerous accounts say 11 different NHL scouts watched him play at least once. They, and every rating service, were unanimous in concluding he was a terrible skater. He couldn’t get so much as a training camp invite. Well, actually the Engineer couldn’t even get a college program to take a look.

    At nineteen, he dropped out of high school and was pumping gas in Markham, Ontario when he got the call that changed his life. The Rodney Dangerfield of college hockey was interested in auditioning him. At that point the university in question had been in NCAA sports for over 100 years and won exactly dick all. They couldn’t really be picky in who they got to play for them.

    The Engineer had a pretty good year, something like 49 points in 32 games. In his sophomore year he had 83 points in 33 games, the most, at that time, in NCAA history. Then in his Junior year he had 91 points in 33 games and took his team to a National Championship. By this point every NHL team was scouting the Engineer. All but one backed off because it was clear the kid was too slow to ever play NHL hockey. Actually the consensus was he was too slow to even play AHL hockey.

    The Detroit Redwings made the Engineer a contract offer. At the time they were the worst team in the NHL and headed to being the worst NHL team of all time. They didn’t figure they had much to lose. They signed the kid and stuck him straight in the NHL and we all know what happened, the poor guy tanked. In fact, the Engineer was on pace for the worst plus/minus in NHL history when he mercifully got sent to Adirondack in the AHL.

    It would be nice to be able to say he tore the AHL up, but the truth is the Engineer sucked so badly he ended up on the fourth line. Which is where his ‘foot speed issues” stopped mattering. Because one the aspects of skating is hard to judge is how important it is to be able to move as a unit (that thing about flow). The Engineer and his knuckle dragging wingers moved like one, right from the first. The other thing is one of those goons was the real deal. He could slow the game down to his speed, mainly because even at 20 Bobby Probert was the most frightening player anybody in the AHL had ever seen.

    The Engineer tore up the AHL with Probert on his wing. They both got long looks the next year at the Redwings’ training camp and this time they stuck (well there were some hiccups). The Engineer was now the checking center on the worst team in the NHL. His speed issues should have made that impossible. But he actually thrived in the Shawn Horcoff part of the Vollman Chart. His plus minus was very solidly in the plus. Reports from the time talk about how sad it was that he didn’t have the speed to do the job effectively, having to cheat for defence. Despite that by 27 he was playing the tough minutes and was third on the team in scoring. Given what happened next most hockey people now believe all the experts were just wrong – that the Engineer could flat out fly.

    Whatever, the Engineer had certainly proven he could think fast enough to make up for his slow feet (if he really was slow) when he was traded. There was this team that had a young gun who would shoot from anywhere and everywhere and a remarkable amount of the time the puck would go in. What he couldn’t do was play defence. The shooter also struggled to play with centers with speed (though that would change), always playing catch up. What was needed was a glacially slow center with decent offence and good defensive sense.

    Over the next 14 years the Engineer:

    -became one half of one of the game’s greatest scoring tandems
    -became the highest scoring undrafted player of all time
    -became the highest scoring NHL player to ever play in the NCAA
    -scored more points after 28 than any player in NHL history
    -became the only player in NHL history to center three different 50 goal scorers
    -retired 5th in NHL history is assists and 12th in points
    -his alma mater, RPI, actually created a Sports Wall of Honor and made him their first inductee, calling him the ultimate “Engineer.”

    Most amazingly perhaps is that Adam Oates went from being considered far too slow for the NHL to lighting up NHL defences with Peter Bondra. In those years defences would back off as soon as Washington gained control of the puck lest Bondra and Oates get behind them. Oates says himself his skating didn’t improve he just learned to do more with what ability he did have.

    Connor McDavid is generationally fast. What makes that important isn’t the speed itself, but what he can do at that speed. Mike Modano remains the comparable. He had blinding speed coupled with the ability to make great plays at that speed and that is McDavid right now. Maybe one day McDavid will learn to do things at that speed that no-one has ever been able to do.

    But it will remain probable that in a straight out race McDavid will never be quite as fast as the last generational skater to play for the Oilers, Andrew Cogliano. I’d argue McDavid’s amazing talent just makes him look much, much faster than the Cogliano’s and Marchant’s of the world. In any case, if he does as much with his generational speed as Oates did with his terrible skating we should all be delighted.

  186. oliveoilers says:

    Armchair GM: IIRC McCarthy died without completing his lifelong dream of creating a useful metric for ‘grit factor.’

    Yes, but his work on EyeGlare/60 and his remorseless persecution of anybody even suspected of writing down numbers in relation to game, other than the 50/50, won a place in our hearts.

    Korzi, on the other hand, sealed his own fate when he famously quoted; “Good players are good, they are good team mates. We can see this and it can be measured. Why you heff to be mad?”

  187. G Money says:

    AsiaOil: and this is why you could not see that Nilsson had good potential. He was the best goalie in camp – full stop.

    My good man, this is an example of a ‘straw man’.

    At no point did I suggest that Nilsson was a bad goalie.

    My point ALL ALONG was that a handful of pre-season games provides NO basis for drawing conclusions. And in fact, after his first five games (as opposed to his most recent six games), you would have been concluding that his pre-season was indeed completely misleading, given his poor results.

    Similarly, Talbot’s six mostly-outstanding games to start the season should count no more than his poor six games of recent.

    I continue to be amazed and amused that people claim my ’55 games’ standard is too small a sample size (when the whole point of the exercise was to find out if it was adequate sample size, which turns out it almost always is, which means those who claim otherwise are doing so without ANY evidence), while happily anointing a starter on the basis of six games.

    Maybe LT needs to make a link to ‘recency bias’ a sticky link on his pages.

  188. stevezie says:

    VOR,

    Great story. I believe he was also offered a contract by the Oilers but choe Detroit because of their superior job openings.

    Went on to light up the league even when Neely was injured. Helluva player.

  189. G Money says:

    AsiaOil,

    And thanks! 🙂

  190. Магия 10 says:

    oliveoilers: The two titans of hockey thinking only met once in there lives, with a bizarre incident in a Zurich hotel, when McCarthy accused Korzi of hiding under his bed wearing nothing but red underwear

    Korzi was never the same after the Swede Jakob Borgmästare invented the neutral zone trap.

  191. BlueNoteNorth says:

    Woodguy,

    I had similar seats in the 1980s and early 1990s. Row 8, right on the blue line.

    Gave them up when the price was raised to $23 a seat after Oilers 5th cup – because you know, it was highway robbery.

    Now I see a handful of games behind the visitor’s net – for a heck of a lot more!

  192. AsiaOil says:

    Honestly if you put your quantitative backward looking analysis together with my more qualitative real time emphasis – you probably get something that works best for goalies. So much of their game is mental and that can change for better or worse quickly depending on context. You’re doing good stuff though and cudos.

    G Money:
    AsiaOil,

    And thanks!

  193. Mr. D. says:

    And that 4 other players can be responsible for your number good or bad. You make a good breakout pass and your forward turns it over. The other team enters your zone and gets shots. The player who did it right gets shots against towards corsi. How many pucks do we turn over in the neutral zone. Great stat for the person who doesn’t know any better.

    Ca$h-McMoney!:
    Woodguy,

    The lack of understanding about the stat continues to blow me away.

    Corsi is, and always has been, about large samples.Individual corsi for an individual game doesn’t say a whole heck of a lot, I think everyone who subscribes to the metric understands that.

    You get out corsi’d for one game and you win anyway, fine.So be it.Happens all the time.

    You get out corsi’d for an entire season and still win a bunch of games, history shows us quite clearly (Toronto, Colorado, Calgary last three years) that it’s a problem.

    It’s about sustainability of performance, and it has proven it’s worth in that regard.Getting out-corsied is simply worrisome if it’s happening regularly and the point is to see the team get better over time.

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