MORNING IN THE NORTH COUNTRY

Have you ever stayed up all night, waiting for the sunlight? It is cold, lonely, still. There is no quiet I have ever known like the pitch black of 4am in Saskatchewan, alone with the coyotes and the loons. Since 2006 summer, in a very real way, the Edmonton Oilers have been in an endless loop of 4am Saskatchewan, with the loons and coyotes and the crazy. Today, this morning, I think we can see the first rays of sunlight catch our eye. It is morning in the north country. It is long past time to be going home.

The young Oilers are on a three-game winning streak and these are good times for fans. Do not plan a parade, but you are free to wear your Oilers jersey in public and snicker at the Canadian teams in Calgary and Toronto.

SOUR SUITE, 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: 3-0-0
  • Oilers after 28 in 2014-15: 7-16-5, 19 points (-40 GD)
  • Oilers after 28 in 2015-16: 11-15-2, 24 points (-11 GD)

It comes down to this: After that crazy road trip (0-4-0) to start the season, Edmonton is now 11-11-2. Music! Music? Well, music drifting in the window, just barely audible. Okay! Faint music!

standingsEdmonton is No. 25 overall, tied with Carolina, and three points out of the playoffs. The team they are chasing has the same goal differential and Edmonton will get that crazy McDavid line (Yak, Poo) back in the coming weeks. Orly, we’re turning north!

DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT

oilers blue nov 30

Todd McLellan likes this group. Know why? He rolled them evenly. Either that or he didn’t fear any matchup Buffalo could send over the boards (and that could be true, too).

  • Klefbom—Schultz and I knew it. Oscar Klefbom was and is wheeling now, fantastic range from the young player. With JS alongside, I suspect Klef’s explosiveness will be curtailed. Dammit. That said, a fine evening in terms of performance and they did battle the toughs. Schultz will never have calm feet, but that was a solid performance.
  • Davidson—Gryba was a nice pairing, I preferred the young player and his decisions to the veteran. Gryba does provide toughness and he had some snarl last night. Is Davidson this decade’s Pisani?
  • Nurse—Sekera once again had the toughest competition but they were 50 percent as a pairing (11-11) and that is solid. McLellan is sticking with them, that is a tell about Darnell Nurse. This is a player who the organization sent away to start the season, and now he is in the top pairing. I think that gap, that canyon, is one of the things we will talk about in the spring and summer. Peter Chiarelli and Todd McLellan had to rely on organizational intel in pre-season and probably made their choice relying heavily on recommendations. Those reports were bunk. Who was sending the reports?

I think we may see this group of D for awhile, and wonder how many games Mark Fayne has left as an Oiler. For me, he is a veteran NHL defenseman and one suspects he will play a long time in this league. Doubt it is in Edmonton. I also wonder about Eric Gryba long term, you can see what McLellan is doing with mobile defensemen who can both stand up at the blue line and scoot back for retrieval. I think that is the template and Fayne, Gryba and Reinhart possibly don’t fit that bill. I am not sure about Reinhart, he may be able to handle the role, suspect we see him again later in the year. The test for this management group is Justin Schultz. How smart is Chiarelli? We wait.

This entire scenario kills me. It is over, NHL. You already let this happen! The time to stop the Oilers was before McDavid. Now? It is done. Fin.

FORWARDS, LAST NIGHT

oilers f nov 30

It was a good night for all but the checking line.

  • Gazdic—Lander—Pakarinen didn’t play a lot, save Lander who performed some extra duties. Still, they did post some crooked numbers and had a good evening. McLellan has them forechecking like madmen, that is a key imo to this team’s success. Every minute outside the defensive zone is success. This is the line that will get flushed when Pouliot-McDavid-Yakupov return, not a shred of doubt in my mind. I still hold out hope that Lander can turn it around, there is a player here, swear to God.
  • Khaira—Nuge—Eberle had a strong night, Eberle had 5 shots and a goal, Nuge posted three more and Khaira had a cool wheel play that almost cashed. I suspect we will see them later in the week. The two veterans are coming out of a funk, and Khaira is building a nice little scouting report in these games. Is he a guy who hangs around after the injured return? He might be, I think the size/speed/truculence may have earned him an NHL gig. The scoring is going to be the concern, but that is for another day. How many Condors could get called up and play with this kind of skill without looking a fool? Not too damn many, folks.
  • Hall—Draisaitl—Purcell had the toughest matchup and slayed. They left the Sabres top line with No Time (Leon was 9-4 against O’Reilly, Hall was 12-4 and a bitch slap against Kane). Hall has moved into another dimension at this point, he can impact the game any time he wants. Took some major hits though, that is a concern. Absolutely flying right now. Purcell does a dozen things a game that make you appreciate him, I am officially going to miss him when they make a deadline deal.
  • Korpikoski—Letestu—Hendricks had a tough time (Korp was 1-7 against Girgensons) and they played the lesser men. Tough ZS were not an issue (Letestu had four, Hendricks one at 5×5) and on a night when Anders Nilsson was +10 in Corsi differential these numbers are beyond poor.

I wonder about the future for some of these forwards. The list of guys who will eventually come back is long (McDavid, Pouliot, Yakupov, Klinkhammer, Slepyshev) and one or two names could get lost in the flood. Lauri Korpikoski has been very poor, surely Todd McLellan’s notes say the same. Jujhar Khaira is a better player in these last games than the Finn, and that is crazy.

EBERLE

  • Bruce Garrioch: Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli is looking to make changes and RW Jordan Eberle is prominent on the market, but it sure sounds like it will be difficult for Edmonton to make a significant move before the deadline. Since Chiarelli likes his teams to play hard (see the Bruins for details), he’ll want to change the mix with the Oilers at some point. The only way for the Oilers to get the 25-year-old Eberle and his $6 million cap hit that runs until 2018-19 is if Edmonton is willing to take back a player or two to even up the money. Ideally, the Oilers want a good, young player in return with plenty of upside. Several teams believe that’s an off-season deal for Chiarelli. Source

I think it is open season for media on the Oiler roster now, but Eberle will pile up goals in the next while and the heat will be off of him. Remember when people were all over Hall late last season? Yeah. One thing Garrioch does give us is a new wrinkle: A very good, young player. It suggests PC would be willing to take another Purcell for 2016-17 as long as there is a good young player added to the package.

Young forwards over 200 pounds who can play with skill? Mika Zibanejad, Charlie Coyle, Nick Bjugstad, Ryan Johansen, Boone Jenner, Aleksander Barkov, Tomas Hertl. Any of these seem like a match?

The one area this does make sense: It shouldn’t be too difficult for Peter Chiarelli to find inexpensive free agents willing to play (or take a discount) to play with the centermen on this team. We will see.

INDIVIDUAL HIGH-DANGER SCORING CHANCES

  • 3-Jordan Eberle
  • 2-Taylor Hall, Leon Draisaitl
  • 1-Teddy Purcell, Oscar Klefbom, Luke Gazdic

Thank you, stranger! He is .922 overall SP and .927 at evens, making him No. 15 and No. 18 in the NHL, respectively. At what point does Peter Chiarelli talk to the agent? He would have to see this over a longer period for sure, but Nilsson had a fine year in the KHL last season and is continuing the run this season. Interesting development.

LAGESSON TO WJS

There will be very few Oilers prospects at the Christmas tournament, possibly Lagesson and Caleb Jones being the only two. Nice to see the young Swedish defender make the list.

ROSS78

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

We are back! Me, Lt. Eric and the usual cast of zany characters hit the air at 10 this morning, TSN 1260. Scheduled to appear:

  • Scott Burnside, ESPN. We will talk about teams in trouble, lack of scoring, and this recent surge by the Oilers.
  • Andrew Bucholtz, 55-Yard Line. Chris Jones heading to Regina, does that mean the return of Jason Maas to Edmonton?
  • Sunil Agnihotri, The SuperFAN and Copper & Blue. Is it real, Sunil? Can we begin to grow flowers and will our sense of smell return? Are the Oilers good? Will it stay? Dammit Sunil, answer me! 11:05. Ish.
  • Carol Schram, Bleacher Report and Hockeybuzz. The Canucks are struggling badly. Is this short term, or are we witnessing the end of glory Sedins?

10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Also, I will be on the round table at 10 this morning with Dustin, Wil and DVD. Eskimos talk, Oilers and probably Creed. The movie! Plus, at 2 this afternoon I will be part of an analytics discussion on the Jason Gregor Show. Darcy McLeod and Michael Parkatti will be the big brains, and I will chime in from time to time on what should be an interesting conversation. Hope you can tune in!

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151 Responses to "MORNING IN THE NORTH COUNTRY"

  1. stush18 says:

    I gotta say, gazdic has really impressed me with his play this year.

    Not in a hall or drai kinda way. But he doesn’t get hemmed into his end much, and he plays exactly how he should.

    Shoot the puck at the net from anywhere, chase down the rebound, hit the guy with the puck, and then park that big load in front of the net. Back check, or change. Rinse repeat.

    I am way less apprehensive with him on the ice this year. Morphing into our own Shawn Thornton?

  2. JDï™ says:

    Hoping to see JJ for a little while longer.

    He’s more than competent with the puck, and can realize when he’s got time to make a play rather than just move the puck out of desperation.

    Col Klink will likely displace him though, no?

  3. Really? says:

    Now that the Oilers are getting a bit of traction, it will be very interesting to see if management displays patience or pushes the envelope. In any event, I am very much looking forward to the return of McDavid. It should make for some really exciting hockey. (not of the ELPH variety).

  4. russ99 says:

    Last night showed even more evidence that defense is less a problem than one bottom six line that can clear the puck out of the zone and hold the puck on offense.

    When everyone’s healthy and we run with:

    Hall – Draisaitl – Purcell
    Pouliot – McDavid- Yakupov
    Khaira – RNH – Eberle

    – it will be even more vital to find three 2-way forwards to be able to play well in the D-zone and excel at possession in the O-zone.

    The only player who seems to fit that profile is Hendricks, and I really don’t think we have the other two on the roster or in the system.

  5. mattwatt says:

    I was critical of Eberle during the first few games he returned, but should have taken the stance of “he is coming back from injury, give him time.” Reason being is that the Eberle I saw last night is one hell of a hockey player. Was tough to play against. Saw him several times last night using his stick to tie up players or slow them down, which is all one can ask for.

    I know the term “soft skill” is being thrown around town lately, but to me the issue with Eberle before the past few games was that he was playing “soft”, period. That doesn’t mean he has to go out and throw hits or play dirty. That isn’t his game. However, he was not putting his body between the board on scrambles or using his stick to stop opponents. Was just not aggressive in the moments he needed to be. Last night, he was anything but. Right side of the puck more often than not and using his stick to stop/slow down opponents. Great game from him.

    If his performance last night was “soft skill” personified, I will take that type of player 7 days a week.

  6. zatch says:

    stush18,

    He hasn’t made me cringe like I thought he would, but he still shouldn’t be near a roster on a good team. “Not a total disaster” is a really low bar, and I’d like him gone. He’d have to triple his offence to even get to Thornton’s low level. There are countless better options out there.

    Also should be noted that this Sabres team is still really bad.

  7. frjohnk says:

    Woodguy

    “#93 Ryan Nugent-Hopkins,6. Softly took on two Sabres behind the net, softly stripped Sam Reinhart of the puck then softly dropped a soft pass on to Eberle’s soft stick…”

    That’s absolute mint.

    Great job.

  8. mattwatt says:

    russ99,

    The Lander over the past 5 games is the type of player you are describing.

    Just pray to good he isn’t the Lander from earlier in the season though.

  9. JAG-041 says:

    A guy came into my work today (in Toronto) and I was talking to my coworker about how excited I am about the Oilers recent string of wins. The guy didn’t hesitate to say, “doesn’t matter they’re still in last” and then to start quoting those eastern media articles about how the Oilers don’t deserve any more picks and that they’re a talent drain and that they’re screwed for cap space.
    I can’t take this garbage. I hope the Oilers win five straight and shut all these dinks up.

  10. JAG-041 says:

    Five straight cups I mean…

  11. Woodguy says:

    Bruce asked me to do the Cult of Hockey grades last night so he could enjoy the game live like a normal fan and not have to take notes.

    The carnage is here: http://edmontonjournal.com/sports/hockey/nhl/cult-of-hockey/cult-of-hockey-player-grades-giant-swedish-goalie-monster-backstops-oilers-to-third-straight-win

  12. Woodguy says:

    frjohnk:
    Woodguy

    “#93 Ryan Nugent-Hopkins,6. Softly took on two Sabres behind the net, softly stripped Sam Reinhart of the puck then softly dropped a soft pass on to Eberle’s soft stick…”

    That’s absolute mint.

    Great job.

    Heh.

    Thought I’d honour Matty since I was writing for the Journal.

    I’m such a dink.

  13. Pouzar says:

    I remember a certain someone saying JJ should be moved to LW last year and that he was the best player for OKC this year. hmmmm 😛
    No way he goes down with Klink back. JJ stays with Ebs/Nuge and Klink replaces Gazdic.
    Chia needs to admit his mistake and ship out Korpse.

  14. Doug McLachlan says:

    McDavid’s puck over the line against LA.
    Frolik squeezing one through the AHL gap and the post with seconds left.
    A last minute brain fart in tinsel-town.

    Tied for a playoff spot.

    Miles to go but the needle may actually have turned north.

    This game against a team the Oilers should beat (see recent efforts against the Canes and Leafs) was the one that worried me. Good on them to have some boot on the throat time – looks good on them.

    Miles to go, but maybe in the right direction…

  15. Pouzar says:

    Woodguy: Heh.

    Thought I’d honour Matty since I was writing for the Journal.

    I’m such a dink.

    Was just going to post on that. Nicely done indeed.

    Man I had to listen to Gary Lawless this AM again talk about Scheifle being the best Center in his draft. F^ck right off blow hard.

  16. PhrankLee says:

    Welcome back Pouzar.

    I like JJ on that line. If he can make a little space for the boys it’s working

    I am also concerned about the abuse Taylor suffers on account of being an Oiler.

    Darnell was hungry to feed Kane some knuckles. I hope they take the leash off of him soon.

    Happy day, thanks Lt.

  17. Woodguy says:

    Re: Khaira – you said: ” How many Condors could get called up and play with this kind of skill without looking a fool? Not too damn many, folks.”

    I said at CoH: “I’m giving this young man an extra point compared to his line mates because it’s his 5th NHL game and he doesn’t look out of place with two very good players. “

    Khaira can skate at a NHL level.

    If he continues to play like he has he’ll pass 3-4 vets like a house on the side of the road.

    I also said this about him, and this is why he continues to line up with skill:

    A large man who doesn’t stop until he gets the puck, he also shows an ability to pass it well to others who will create scoring chances from his board work, including a great sequence along the end wall that led almost directly to the Eberle goal. A welcome addition to a RNH-Eberle line that sometimes struggles to come out of the corner with the puck.

    Its JFJ with Hemsky, but it has a beat and I can dance to it.

  18. zatch says:

    russ99,

    That’s a pretty damn good top 9. 4th line should be pretty easy to fix, honestly. Hendricks is overpaid, but I like him on the 4th a lot. Lander looks to be shaping up and is theoretically a helluva 4th line C. A cheap vet or a young 2-way guy would make that a pretty nasty forward corp.

  19. Yeti says:

    mattwatt,

    Maybe. But the opposition were all too much soft-non skill personified. A perfect game for Eberle (and Schultz) to shine.

  20. Pouzar says:

    PhrankLee:
    Welcome back Pouzar.

    I like JJ on that line. If he can make a little space for the boys it’s working

    I am also concerned about the abuse Taylor suffers on account of being an Oiler.

    Darnell was hungry to feed Kane some knuckles. I hope they take the leash off of him soon.

    Happy day, thanks Lt.

    Thx man. I will leave again if things goes South. 🙂

    JJ has really developed nicely. Whodddahthunkit?
    A power forward with decent hands who can play Center in a pinch.
    I thought he looked great on that line. Like TMc said, it’s going to be our lineup for a while.

    Yeah Kane wanted no part of Nurse. He had that same look of “disinterest” as Getzlaf lol

  21. frjohnk says:

    Woodguy and Lowetide:
    ” 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Also, I will be on the round table at 10 this morning with Dustin, Wil and DVD. Eskimos talk, Oilers and probably Creed. The movie! Plus, at 2 this afternoon I will be part of an analytics discussion on the Jason Gregor Show. Darcy McLeod and Michael Parkatti will be the big brains, and I will chime in from time to time on what should be an interesting conversation. Hope you can tune in!

    Awesome, I’m on days off and so for today I think I’ll just sit in front of the computer, drinking coffee listening to you guys.

    That list the wife wants to me to look at can wait.

  22. frjohnk says:

    Pouzar: Yeah Kane wanted no part of Nurse. He had that same look of “disinterest” as Getzlaf lol

    The fight that Nurse had with that Giant Smith at the beginning of the year showed that Nurse is a guy that can play with skill and battle against the toughest players.

    Guys like Getzlaf and Kane now know that if they are going to fight Nurse, its gonna be one hell of a battle.

  23. Pouzar says:

    frjohnk: The fight that Nurse had with that Giant Smith at the beginning of the year showed that Nurse is a guy that can play with skill and battle against the toughest players.

    Guys like Getzlaf and Kane now know that if they are going to fight Nurse, its gonna be one hell of a battle.

    Yup. I think quite a few NHLers took notice of that tilt and Kane can throw em.

  24. JDï™ says:

    Pouzar: No way he goes down with Klink back. JJ stays with Ebs/Nuge and Klink replaces Gazdic.

    You had me at ‘JJ stays’!

  25. jm363561 says:

    russ99:
    Last night showed even more evidence that defense is less a problem than one bottom six line that can clear the puck out of the zone and hold the puck on offense.

    When everyone’s healthy and we run with:

    Hall – Draisaitl – Purcell
    Pouliot – McDavid- Yakupov
    Khaira – RNH – Eberle

    – it will be even more vital to find three 2-way forwards to be able to play well in the D-zone and excel at possession in the O-zone.

    The only player who seems to fit that profile is Hendricks, and I really don’t think we have the other two on the roster or in the system.

    Yep, three very good lines. I have still not given up on Lander. Blend him with Hendriks + Letestu or Klink, and there is a decent fourth line. The flaw is believing the Oilers will ever get everyone healthy.

    Still not caught fire with the playoff hype. If Ders ever cools off we are toast.

  26. Магия 10 says:

    “It comes down to this: After that crazy road trip (0-4-0) to start the season, Edmonton is now 11-11-2. Music! Music? Well, music drifting in the window, just barely audible. Okay! Faint music!”

    Some smokes and mirrors and goalie theivery in the 3 game win streak. But the season’s luck evens out and who they are starts to come into view. They need 2 more wins to reach real .500 and best pounce on the Sharks and then batten down the hatches for the 4 games that follow. North!

  27. Bos8 says:

    The thing that amazes me is that ‘The Der’ is unbelievably mobile in his lateral movement. The mountain that blocks out the sun standing still and then he moves quickly. Trolledyngian. (Staying with the monster theme and reference Glen Cook)

  28. bendelson says:

    LT has Korpikoski moving from “awful” just a few weeks back to “very poor” this week… progress baby! If coach can address his ongoing ‘koirien’ whistle problem, he could reach “mediocre” by the all-star break! Music!

    Reading GMoney and WG over the past couple of days I’ve noticed:

    It’s the ‘Hendricks and Letestu’ line when good things happen, and it’s the ‘Korpikoski’ line when they struggle. MacTavian selective memory perhaps…

    If he wasn’t Finnish, I suspect he’d have been sacrificed to the Gords by now…

    Good times.

  29. Zeabs93 says:

    Haha, thought this was pretty cool:

    2005 EDM grey cup – Oilers make the Stanley cup final for the first time in a long time (1990’s)
    2006 MTL grey cup – Canadiens makes playoffs
    2007 SSK grey cup – no nhl team in saskatchewan
    2008 CGY grey cup – Flames makes playoffs
    2009 and 2010 MTL grey cup – Canadiens makes playoffs
    2011 BC grey cup – Canucks makes it to the stanley cup for the third time (but their last time was in the 1990’s)
    2012 TOR grey cup – Maple leafs make the playoffs for the first time in 8 years
    2013 SSK grey cup – no nhl team in saskatchewan
    2014 CGY grey cup – Flames make the playoffs for the first time since 2009-2010
    2015 EDM grey cup) – ???

    Fingers crossed boys!

  30. judgedrude says:

    JAG-041,

    Yeah…I think this Eastern Media thing against Edmonton has been going on while:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-0rHnnS7U8

  31. Pouzar says:

    bendelson: It’s the ‘Hendricks and Letestu’ line when good things happen, and it’s the ‘Korpikoski’ line when they struggle. MacTavian selective memory perhaps…

    Hendricks:
    with Korpse: 34.6
    without Korpse: 51.1

    Letestu:
    with Korpse: 29.2
    without Korpse: 49.7

  32. Ca$h-McMoney! says:

    JJ is doing what Pitlick was supposed to start doing last year.

    Three scoring lines typically means 6 elite forwards. Each line then has 1 less than elite guy. Where both elite guys are small it’s a bigger guy who can go and get the puck, create space, keep up to speed, and ideally not embarass himself when the puck hits his stick.

    Pouliot is an elite 3rd wheel (in the sense that he’s a very good not elite plug option). The McDavid/Yak line needs the best 3rd wheel of the group, so it’s good that he fits well there.

    Purcell isn’t big but that’s OK because Drai checks those boxes. His hands and vision are bordering on elite, it’s the rest of his game that holds him back. It’s a good fit as third wheel on that line, just wish we had him for cheaper. Maybe this is where Sleppy fits in next year, or maybe Miller, or maybe we find a cheap UFA on a 1 year deal (Brad Boyes… or maybe that Teddy Purcell guy).

    JJ makes a lot of sense with RNH and Ebs. He’s the biggest/meanest of the third wheel options and his feet work. His hands are mediocre at best, he’d put JFJ to shame but he’s behind Pouliot and especially Purcell in that department for sure, but his two linemates have that covered. If he can stay cheap for a few years he might have himself a cushy long term assignment.

    It makes a lot of sense.

  33. Pouzar says:

    http://www.tsn.ca/statistically-speaking-gibson-steps-up-for-ducks-1.405441

    Wow…Connor Hellebuyck and John Gibson are really buckling under in the NHL.
    How could those organizations expect those guys to do so well in the NHL? Send them back to the AHL you fools!!!!

    “Not only that, but there’s a decent chance that Gibson and Jets rookie Connor Hellebuyck (who has a .965 SV% in three starts with Winnipeg) could be the goaltenders for the Young Stars squad at next year’s World Cup.”

  34. Woodguy says:

    bendelson,

    It’s the ‘Hendricks and Letestu’ line when good things happen, and it’s the ‘Korpikoski’ line when they struggle. MacTavian selective memory perhaps…

    Letestu with Korpse 29.2% CF (!!!)
    Letestu without Korpse 49.7% CF

    Hendricks with Korpse 34.6% CF (gross)
    Hendricks without Korpse 51.1% CF

    MacTavian my ass.

    As a wise man once said: “Fuck you Bendelson”

  35. frjohnk says:

    Pouzar:
    http://www.tsn.ca/statistically-speaking-gibson-steps-up-for-ducks-1.405441

    Wow…Connor Hellebuyck and John Gibson are really buckling under in the NHL.
    How could those organizations expect those guys to do so well in the NHL? Send them back to the AHL you fools!!!!

    “Not only that, but there’s a decent chance that Gibson and Jets rookie Connor Hellebuyck (who has a .965 SV% in three starts with Winnipeg) could be the goaltenders for the Young Stars squad at next year’s World Cup.”

    Very early but if Nilsson continues to play like he has and shows he is a legit number 1, I wonder if the Oilers trade Talbot at the trade deadline and bring up LB.

    Otherwise, unless there is an injury, I don’t see LB coming up.

  36. bendelson says:

    Pouzar: Hendricks:with Korpse: 34.6without Korpse: 51.1Letestu:with Korpse: 29.2without Korpse: 49.7

    Hey there Pouzar.
    Welcome back.
    And there goes the win streak…

    (and yes, I know the numbers are bad – it won’t stop me from showing Korpi a little love)

  37. speeds says:

    RE: turning north:

    The 7 games remaining before the Christmas break are:

    SJ, NYR, @BOS, @NYR, @CHI, @COL, WPG

    We’ll see where they are after that, but if they are well positioned at the Christmas break, maybe there will be playoff musings, if not talk?

  38. Pouzar says:

    frjohnk: Very early but if Nilsson continues to play like he has and shows he is a legit number 1, I wonder if the Oilers trade Talbot at the trade deadline and bring up LB.

    Otherwise, unless there is an injury, I don’t see LB coming up.

    Man I have no clue what Chia is going to do with the Goalering for next year.
    Going to be a very interesting next 6 months on that front.

  39. "Steve Smith" says:

    Woodguy: As a wise man once said:“Fuck you Bendelson”

    Hu?

  40. Snowman says:

    speeds:
    RE: turning north:

    The 7 games remaining before the Christmas break are:

    SJ, NYR, @BOS, @NYR, @CHI, @COL, WPG

    We’ll see where they are after that, but if they are well positioned at the Christmas break, maybe there will be playoff musing, if not talk?

    If they pull six points out of that 7 games that would be decent. That ain’t no cakewalk.

    Should have Colorado and may steal a point or two elsewhere. Could be a tough stretch here if the Goaler loses his mojo (and even if he doesn’t, might still be a tough stretch).

  41. Pouzar says:

    frjohnk: Very early but if Nilsson continues to play like he has and shows he is a legit number 1, I wonder if the Oilers trade Talbot at the trade deadline and bring up LB.

    Otherwise, unless there is an injury, I don’t see LB coming up.

    My greater point with this bit of trolling is that you can catch lightening in a bottle for short periods of time when it comes to goalering. When I was calling for LB it was before Anders The Giant went supernova. I thought LB, like his 2 AHL peers noted above, could come in and provide that same spark. It wasn’t as “far out” an idea as “some” thought it was.

  42. PhrankLee says:

    Pouzar: Thx man. I will leave again if things goes South.
    JJ has really developed nicely. Whodddahthunkit?
    A power forward with decent hands who can play Center in a pinch.
    I thought he looked great on that line. Like TMc said, it’s going to be our lineup for a while.
    Yeah Kane wanted no part of Nurse. He had that same look of “disinterest” as Getzlaf lol

    I watched JJ really take over in Bakersfield when Leon got called and Yak2 got hurt. It was such a nice thing to see him last night skating with those guys and keeping pace. He really is a good skater.

    His offence is worrisome. But I had hoped that he could develop into the Boyd Gordon role. He would be a hell of a 4th line C and could be had for cheap over long term.

    After last night I think it’s time to part ways with Lander. He has been a favorite of mine since his drafting but he is just a ghost.

  43. "Steve Smith" says:

    Woodguy: Yes.

    He’s our tight end.

  44. PhrankLee says:

    “Steve Smith”: Woodguy: Yes.
    He’s our tight end.

    I’ll say!

    Hurt him? Damn near wrecked him!

  45. Pajamah says:

    Pouzar: Man I have no clue what Chia is going to do with the Goalering for next year.
    Going to be a very interesting next 6 months on that front.

    To be fair, even if Nillson starts 45 and wins 40 of them, I still go Greiss hunting in the off-season. Veteran back up, Turco late career kind of thing. Sample size with goalies should be like 5 seasons, minimum.

    Don’t trust them, as LT says, they’re voodoo.

  46. blainer says:

    russ99:
    Last night showed even more evidence that defense is less a problem than one bottom six line that can clear the puck out of the zone and hold the puck on offense.

    When everyone’s healthy and we run with:

    Hall – Draisaitl – Purcell
    Pouliot – McDavid- Yakupov
    Khaira – RNH – Eberle

    – it will be even more vital to find three 2-way forwards to be able to play well in the D-zone and excel at possession in the O-zone.

    The only player who seems to fit that profile is Hendricks, and I really don’t think we have the other two on the roster or in the system.

    Those are three number one lines.

    Tmc could just roll those lines and not even match especially on the road.. Poo is the defense on the CMD line so they should be fine with CMD’s talent and Yak’s new found awareness on The D side.

    I just can’t wait to see this team healthy. With Nilly playing the way he is and with the right trade deadline deals we could really scare people in the playoffs with those lines..

  47. G Money says:

    bendelson: It’s the ‘Hendricks and Letestu’ line when good things happen, and it’s the ‘Korpikoski’ line when they struggle. MacTavian selective memory perhaps…

    Ha, there’s probably a hint of truth in that. I would normally call it the ‘Letestu’ line, since to my mind the C defines a line (unless Taylor Hall is on the line) and has the greatest responsibility for the two-way performance.

    And I was getting pretty annoyed with Testtube’s numbers, while giving Korpi the obligatory Finnpass.

    Then I read Jon Willis’ scathing article on Korpikoski, and decided to pull a full set of WOWY numbers. What I found CHANGED MY LIFE. https://oilersnerdalert.wordpress.com/2015/12/01/korpikoski-vs-the-nuge/

    Look at those numbers, and you too will start calling the line the “Letestu Hendricks line” when it’s good and the “Korpikoski line” when it’s bad. The latter being pretty much what we should expect all of the time.

  48. LMHF#1 says:

    Pajamah: To be fair, even if Nillson starts 45 and wins 40 of them, I still go Greiss hunting in the off-season. Veteran back up, Turco late career kind of thing. Sample size with goalies should be like 5 seasons, minimum.

    Don’t trust them, as LT says, they’re voodoo.

    Why wouldn’t NYI trade Halak and keep Greiss?

  49. slopitch says:

    I dont think 3 points back of Arizona is a reasonable goal since catching Anaheim may not be an easy task. 4 points back of SJ does make the game on Wednesday pretty important though.

    Honestly though if they can go 500 from today till CMD gets back its gonna be a pretty fun Jan-Mar. I wouldnt bet against a team with this much talent and a good coach. They will make a million mistakes along the way but still might have enough.

  50. speeds says:

    Any thought towards recalling Nikitin to rehabilitate trade value, assuming the reports that he’s playing fairly well in the AHL are accurate?

  51. blainer says:

    Woodguy:
    Re: Khaira – you said: ” How many Condors could get called up and play with this kind of skill without looking a fool? Not too damn many, folks.”

    I said at CoH: “I’m giving this young man an extra point compared to his line mates because it’s his 5th NHL game and he doesn’t look out of place with two very good players. “

    Khaira can skate at a NHL level.

    If he continues to play like he has he’ll pass 3-4 vets like a house on the side of the road.

    I also said this about him, and this is why he continues to line up with skill:

    A large man who doesn’t stop until he gets the puck, he also shows an ability to pass it well to others who will create scoring chances from his board work, including a great sequence along the end wall that led almost directly to the Eberle goal. A welcome addition to a RNH-Eberle line that sometimes struggles to come out of the corner with the puck.

    Its JFJ with Hemsky, but it has a beat and I can dance to it.

    I know LT says the offense isn’t there but he was a major factor on two goals in the last couple of games.

    I am predicting that if he stays up on that line he is gonna post some good boxcars.

    This is just the beginning folks as we will have Yak2 and Sleppy playing sometime next year.

    Can you imagine a fourth line of Yak2 Hendy and Sleppy..

    Predicting Korpi goes on waivers when the team gets healthy.. Khaira is playing himself on the team.

  52. Eastern Oil says:

    JDï™:
    Hoping to see JJ for a little while longer.

    He’s more than competent with the puck, and can realize when he’s got time to make a play rather than just move the puck out of desperation.

    Col Klink will likely displace him though, no?

    The Colonel may but the way the Korpse has been playing, JJ may still have a spot until everyone is back. Small sample size alert but he’s looked better thus far.

  53. Ca$h-McMoney! says:

    blainer,

    We’re going to have a really expensive AHL team in a few months the way things are going.

  54. Pajamah says:

    LMHF#1: Why wouldn’t NYI trade Halak and keep Greiss?

    More in idea, less in actual name. A veteran back-up of the Greiss, Chad Johnson, Neuvirth mold (established levels of play, decent safety net in case of Oileritis)

  55. Woodguy says:

    “Steve Smith”: He’s our tight end.

    Who?

  56. Lowetide says:

    speeds:
    Any thought towards recalling Nikitin to rehabilitate trade value, assuming the reports that he’s playing fairly well in the AHL are accurate?

    Yes. Great idea. Seriously

  57. Ca$h-McMoney! says:

    Lowetide,

    Me: Gee, self, I’m starting to actually feel comfortable watching the Oilers play defense.

    Oilogosphere: Let’s call up Nikitin!

    Me: Son of a Bitc……….

  58. frjohnk says:

    speeds: Any thought towards recalling Nikitin

    Nope, not one.

    In all seriousness, if he is playing like one of the best 6D in the organization, then call him up.

    But I don’t think he is.

    Id let him “season” in the A until the year is up, or somebody has a brain fart and would like him as a depth D man.

  59. Woodguy says:

    speeds:
    Any thought towards recalling Nikitin to rehabilitate trade value, assuming the reports that he’s playing fairly well in the AHL are accurate?

    If he’s skating well and healthy he can be moved near the deadline.

    Teams always need Dmen for the playoffs and an expiring contract is preferred.

    If there are teams interested he’ll need to play some NHL games so he can be scouted against NHL comp.

    The question would then be: Who goes down to make room?

    I’m not sure who that would be.

    Kinda tough to tell Nurse he’s going down to make room for Nikitin when he’s on your top pairing.

  60. Woogie63 says:

    MacT’s defence this year would have had Nikitin, Fayne, Ference, Klefblom, Shultz, plus a big tough free agent type.

  61. Lloyd B. says:

    Ca$h-McMoney!:
    blainer,

    We’re going to have a really expensive AHL team in a few months the way things are going.

    We already do. Just wait til Ference arrives for a conditioning stint. Yikes !

  62. zatch says:

    Pajamah,

    Chad Johnson is not my idea of a safety net.

  63. Pouzar says:

    Lowetide: Yes. Great idea. Seriously

    NN is a team worst -7 on the Condors. He hasn’t been good imo.

    Leggs is +5…which blew my mind. Good for him.

  64. blainer says:

    PhrankLee: I watched JJ really take over in Bakersfield when Leon got called and Yak2 got hurt. It was such a nice thing to see him last night skating with those guys and keeping pace. He really is a good skater.

    His offence is worrisome. But I had hoped that he could develop into the Boyd Gordon role. He would be a hell of a 4th line C and could be had for cheap over long term.

    After last night I think it’s time to part ways with Lander. He has been a favorite of mine since his drafting but he is just a ghost.

    Lander will be in tough to make this squad next year.

    His faceoff ability is near elite and that is important but probably not enough when competing for a spot against Yak2 Sleppy and or a decent UFA signing.

  65. LadiesloveSmid says:

    G Money,

    good Gord, is he playing Gordon like minutes at least or what

    two buyout candidates this summer in Ference and what seems to be the younger forward version of himself up front.

    Slepy is already better

  66. Pouzar says:

    Semin on waivers?

  67. Snowman says:

    blainer,

    Lander is starting to come around. He was 1″ away from scoring a shortie and a two point night.

    I think the points are going to start to come for him. He’s a player. He’ll remember soon.

  68. Pouzar says:

    James Mirtle (@mirtle)
    18 mins ago

    Hearing that the Canadiens will put Alex Semin on waivers. Hasn’t worked out.

  69. LadiesloveSmid says:

    Woodguy,

    when Nurse is on your top pairing, what an oilers thing to happen. Insulate the guy goddamn

    maybe you get someone to run over Schultz in the parking lot and pump Nikitin’s numbers on the PP, I like the D sans Schultz

  70. Pouzar says:

    The Lake Erie Monsters have signed former Blue Jackets defenseman Jan Hejda to an AHL tryout contract.

    “Jan was looking for an opportunity to play and we’re excited to provide that and in the process add a proven, veteran defenseman to our young blueline in Lake Erie,” said Columbus assistant GM and Lake Erie GM Bill Zito. Hejda played 81 games with Colorado last season and he posted 13 points while averaging more than 20 minutes of ice time per game.

  71. bendelson says:

    G Money,

    Read your article on the subject and was equally shocked/horrified. It has been a real struggle for the veteran Finn to be sure. New team, new coach, concussed early… maybe he turns it around a little? Maybe he ends up in Bakersfield.

    Regardless, thank you acknowledging the lighthearted point made.

    Woodguy,

    Not that it really matters, but I was referencing a particular post you submitted recently regarding contributions from the bottom 6. You forgot to include Korpi who (as you likely know) also contributed on the scoresheet in the Boston game…. it reminded of MacT ‘forgetting’ to mention Marincin back in the day. It must have been an honest mistake.

    Anyways, always nice to hear from you WG.

  72. Lowetide says:

    Semin on waivers

  73. LadiesloveSmid says:

    Coughlin actually off to a good start in Vermont. 7P in 14GP, better than the oilers other college picks. I don’t know why LT hated him so much

  74. blainer says:

    Ca$h-McMoney!:
    blainer,

    We’re going to have a really expensive AHL team in a few months the way things are going.

    Lol .. for sure..

    Hard to believe that we could have Fayne and Korpi on waivers and possibly Klink and Lander all before the end of this year..

    Fayne
    NN
    Korpi
    Lander
    Scrivens
    Klink

    That is a lot of money to be buried in the minors..

  75. Dominoiler says:

    “Purcell does a dozen things a game that make you appreciate him, I am officially going to miss him when they make a deadline deal.”

    LT, you need to top up your kool-aid, the oil are only out of the playoffs by 3 points.. Purcell, the wonder (salary) dump, is definitely doing lots of things right; that assist, sending the backhand sauce into the crease, was a beauty..

    Also, you’ve said it for years, oilers need skilled player w size (and speed, *edit) to compliment RNH n Ebs, JJ seems to be doing a good job of it so far..

  76. Ca$h-McMoney! says:

    LadiesloveSmid,

    To be fair to everyone else I’m pretty sure he’s like 26 at this point, so it’s probably not fair to compare him to other rookies.

  77. blainer says:

    Snowman:
    blainer,

    Lander is starting to come around. He was 1″ away from scoring a shortie and a two point night.

    I think the points are going to start to come for him. He’s a player. He’ll remember soon.

    Ahhh I like you glass half full kinda guys.. Hope your right.. Still going to be a tough team to make next year..

    To my eye landers skating needs help..

  78. Pajamah says:

    zatch:
    Pajamah,

    Chad Johnson is not my idea of a safety net.

    Ok…..again……”more in idea, less in actual name”

    How better can I qualify this? A veteran back-up. It doesn’t need to be Greiss or Johnson. I’ve said their type. Along with Neuvirth they are all veteran back-ups. If Nillson does well, go get a veteran back up as a safety net.

    Or, they can spend $5m on a Niemi or Lehtonen type for no good reason.

    Also let it be known, as it seems lost on some, I said “type” again. Not Niemi, Not Lehtonen

    Type

  79. blainer says:

    Ca$h-McMoney!:
    JJ is doing what Pitlick was supposed to start doing last year.

    Three scoring lines typically means 6 elite forwards.Each line then has 1 less than elite guy.Where both elite guys are small it’s a bigger guy who can go and get the puck, create space, keep up to speed, and ideally not embarass himself when the puck hits his stick.

    Pouliot is an elite 3rd wheel (in the sense that he’s a very good not elite plug option).The McDavid/Yak line needs the best 3rd wheel of the group, so it’s good that he fits well there.

    Purcell isn’t big but that’s OK because Drai checks those boxes.His hands and vision are bordering on elite, it’s the rest of his game that holds him back.It’s a good fit as third wheel on that line, just wish we had him for cheaper.Maybe this is where Sleppy fits in next year, or maybe Miller, or maybe we find a cheap UFA on a 1 year deal (Brad Boyes…or maybe that Teddy Purcell guy).

    JJ makes a lot of sense with RNH and Ebs.He’s the biggest/meanest of the third wheel options and his feet work.His hands are mediocre at best, he’d put JFJ to shame but he’s behind Pouliot and especially Purcell in that department for sure, but his two linemates have that covered.If he can stay cheap for a few years he might have himself a cushy long term assignment.

    It makes a lot of sense.

    Purcell is listed anywhere from 6″3 200lbs to 6″2 195..

    he went to Gary Roberts camp in the summer so I would guess his weight is closer to 205.

    That is not small. Now he doen’t play big but he is big.

    Let’s not forget the spot he took in his trade to come here. You are correct that is a good line with size. All three of Hall Drai and Purcell are NHL sized.

    Agreed that JJ will be fine with Ebs and Nuge.. Things are really looking up !

  80. LadiesloveSmid says:

    Nilsson still qualifies for Calder, so we just need him to drop a .930 the rest of the season and it’ll be a close race. Woodguy will live to see an oiler calder winner

  81. blainer says:

    Pajamah: Ok…..again……”more in idea, less in actual name”

    How better can I qualify this? A veteran back-up. It doesn’t need to be Greiss or Johnson. I’ve said their type. Along with Neuvirth they are all veteran back-ups. If Nillson does well, go get a veteran back up as a safety net.

    Or, they can spend $5m on a Niemi or Lehtonen type for no good reason.

    Also let it be known, as it seems lost on some, I said “type” again. Not Niemi, Not Lehtonen

    Type

    Ya I find it funny how some posts sometimes get lost in translation..

  82. PhrankLee says:

    Having JJ on the top line is a blessing. At the begining of the year we had Hendo up there because on the forecheck the beef crashes the corners in hopes of a puck squirting out to the high skill duo.

    Hendo is worth more as a checking fwd in the bottom 6.

    So happy to have a big body crashing and making space for the scorers.

    Dollars to donughts he gers a PP shift or two to hang tough in front of the net.

    Would also like to see him take the teeth out of these guys running Taylor Hall. Seriously it’s no wonder our skill guys loose so much time to injury.

    JJ is a deterrent, Darnell is a deterrent. Hendo is a deterrent. They also play with skill.

    These types of player have been missing. Size also contributes to balance. Size and skill with a dash of mean..well just call that Christmas.

  83. Bar_Qu says:

    Two things: I am assuming based on WG’s review there was an issue or two with reffing – it’s between the lines but I think I see it. 2 – NN should come up after Christmas just to play the role TCAF was holding. If he gets a fourth because GMs believe he can play, it’s worth it. Even if salary gets held back. Anything beyond that is gravy.

    Great review Woodguy. Very entertaining

  84. blainer says:

    PhrankLee:
    Having JJ on the top line is a blessing. At the begining of the year we had Hendo up there because on the forecheck the beef crashes the corners in hopes of a puck squirting out to the high skill duo.

    Hendo is worth more as a checking fwd in the bottom 6.

    So happy to have a big body crashing and making space for the scorers.

    Dollars to donughts he gers a PP shift or two to hang tough in front of the net.

    Would also like to see him take the teeth out of these guys running Taylor Hall. Seriously it’s no wonder our skill guys loose so much time to injury.

    JJ is a deterrent, Darnell is a deterrent. Hendo is a deterrent.They also play with skill.

    These types of player have been missing. Size also contributes to balance. Size and skill with a dash of mean..well just call that Christmas.

    I am predicting we will be in the top three for size in the NHL next year.

  85. PhrankLee says:

    blainer: I am predicting we will be in the top three for size in the NHL next year.

    Careful. We will soon be chided about being morons about this issue. The cries of moar biggar will be leveled at us. Ha ha.

    I agree. It is not surprising given our new GM and his reputation.

    It’s a long, long time coming, imo.

  86. Pajamah says:

    blainer: Ya I find it funny how some posts sometimes get lost in translation..

    LB will get called up next season, string together a few good games, and I will be inundated with “Didn’t you say they should have signed Chad Johnson. You sure are one handsome idiot”

    To which I will say “thanks? I guess?”

  87. Aron_S says:

    Pouzar,

    Glad you’re back, Pouzar, as I missed your updates on the Condors. I was wondering along the lines of Speeds and LT’s comments if bringing Nikitin back into the mix might be a fit as an opportunity to showcase him, but your eye test and the -7 haven’t matched up with his offensive output.

    Edit to add: That said, is +/- going to be that trustworthy a stat considering the abortion of a season Scrivens is doling out?

    Edit again: And no sooner do I say this than the Condors have recalled Rimmer from the ECHL. Looks like Scrivens has effectively burned the bridge. Or is playing injured.

  88. stevezie says:

    Our bottom six is bad, but Semin looks done. Spilled, if you will.

  89. Ice Sage says:

    LadiesloveSmid:
    Nilsson still qualifies for Calder, so we just need him to drop a .930 the rest of the season and it’ll be a close race. Woodguy will live to see an oiler calder winner

    LOL I can just picture CMcD ‘accidentally’ SteveSmithing Nilsson in game 82 to take the Calder (kid’s a pure competitor) – of course, by then, the Oil will be comfortably preparing for …??? (can’t bring myself to say it yet).

  90. frjohnk says:

    stevezie:
    Our bottom six is bad, but Semin looks done. Spilled, if you will.

    Not too long ago, there were some who said he was the most skilled player in the league.

    Pretty sure it was “soft skill” though.

  91. Lowetide says:

    Pouzar:
    The Lake Erie Monsters have signed former Blue Jackets defenseman Jan Hejda to an AHL tryout contract.

    “Jan was looking for an opportunity to play and we’re excited to provide that and in the process add a proven, veteran defenseman to our young blueline in Lake Erie,” said Columbus assistant GM and Lake Erie GM Bill Zito. Hejda played 81 games with Colorado last season and he posted 13 points while averaging more than 20 minutes of ice time per game.

    Welcome back, Pouzar! You were missed.

  92. Caramel Obvious says:

    blainer: I am predicting we will be in the top three for size in the NHL next year.

    This is completely ridiculous. It won’t happen.

    However, if it does I bet one hundred million dollars the Oilers don’t make the playoffs.

  93. Pouzar says:

    Aron_S:
    Pouzar,

    Glad you’re back, Pouzar, as I missed your updates on the Condors. I was wondering along the lines of Speeds and LT’s comments if bringing Nikitin back into the mix might be a fit as an opportunity to showcase him, but your eye test and the -7 haven’t matched up with his offensive output.

    Edit to add: That said, is +/- going to be that trustworthy a stat considering the abortion of a season Scrivens is doling out?

    Edit again: And no sooner do I say this than the Condors have recalled Rimmer from the ECHL. Looks like Scrivens has effectively burned the bridge. Or is playing injured.

    NN is getting a decent PP push. 6 of his 9 points have come from the PP. Heck he was QBing the PP from the half wall a few times. He’s got skills but a defender he isn’t. I would keep him far away from the big club.

    EDIT: NN has 7 PowerPlay pts (1g 6a)

  94. Pouzar says:

    Lowetide: Welcome back, Pouzar! You were missed.

    Thanks.

    Needed a break.

    Even read a book. 😛

  95. blainer says:

    Caramel Obvious: This is completely ridiculous.It won’t happen.

    However, if it does I bet one hundred million dollars the Oilers don’t make the playoffs.

    I dunnno …One hundred million ?

    I like Dr Evil’s ” One BILLION dollars ”

    What if Chia signs Big Buff and say Troy Brower or Lucic and say Yak2 and/or Sleppy make the team and replace Lander and Letestu.. That’s a really big team..

    Sekera on that D would look like * Minnie ME * .

  96. Caramel Obvious says:

    According to Mirtle the Oilers are currently the 15th heaviest team in the NHL (according to opening day rosters. To be the third heaviest, their average weight has to increase by five pounds, so 115 total pounds.

    So let’s say the Oilers subtract from this roster, Lander, Ference, Gazdic, Purcell, Gryba, and Schultz to have the third heaviest team they’d have to replace those six guys with six new guys whose average weight is 220 pounds.

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that making this a criterion for new player additions is not going to make the team better.

  97. G Money says:

    Caramel Obvious,

    No no no no no no! They just need to add 5 guys averaging 200 lbs, and one 320 lb lineman.

  98. Caramel Obvious says:

    blainer,

    You mean what if Chiarelli spends $20 million dollars on free agents past their prime?

    So in that case you are subtracting one or both of Eberle and Hopkins. Now since Eberle and Hopkins are better and younger than Brouwer and Lucic, you’ve somehow managed to make your team worse and older in one offseason. Good work.

    It is true, however, that if you subtracted Eberle, Hopkins, and Schultz, while adding Lucic Brouwer, and Byfuglien the Oilers would have the biggest team in the league. It would also be a worse team. But that’s what you get when you prioritize size.

  99. stephen sheps says:

    G Money:
    Caramel Obvious,

    No no no no no no!They just need to add 5 guys averaging 200 lbs, and one 320 lb lineman.

    only if that lineman can be the backup goalie – otherwise I do not support this plan.

    btw G, your new charts are really really good. Despite my training (or more likely because of my training – stats for sociologists was terrible!), I often have a hard time making sense of some statistical analysis in chart form, but last night’s were truly beautiful. Keep this up and some hockey team is going to try and hire you.

  100. AZOIL says:

    So what is the timetable for Mcdavid? When the oilers play the coyotes on 1/12?

  101. Doug McLachlan says:

    Given how bad the Pacific is, I’ve already predicted that the 6th team in the Central will finish with more points than the 3rd team in the Pacific but is making the post-season in this division easier than finishing top 20 overall?

  102. blainer says:

    Caramel Obvious:
    According to Mirtle the Oilers are currently the 15th heaviest team in the NHL (according to opening day rosters.To be the third heaviest, their average weight has to increase by five pounds, so 115 total pounds.

    So let’s say the Oilers subtract from this roster, Lander, Ference, Gazdic, Purcell, Gryba, and Schultz to have the third heaviest team they’d have to replace those six guys with six new guys whose average weight is 220 pounds.

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that making this a criterion for new player additions is not going to make the team better.

    So you’re agreeing with me. They can be in the top three..

    Ok how about top ten ?

    They can be big and skilled..

  103. LadiesloveSmid says:

    Accidentally stumbled upon William Lagesson’s vine account so here’s 6 seconds of his hair flailing while skating

    https://vine.co/v/eAEltOO0Fa5

  104. Alpine says:

    Both media and fans out there seem to think Chiarelli prioritizes size, but his draft history isn’t exactly littered with coke machines, . And when he’s made big trades it’s usually for guys of the skilled two-way variety like Peverley, Eriksson, Horton. Not bangers.

    I always thought his Bruins teams he had contending for Cups were more the Big-ish Defensively Sound Bruins than of the Big Bad variety.

  105. frjohnk says:

    Doug McLachlan:
    Given how bad the Pacific is, I’ve already predicted that the 6th team in the Central will finish with more points than the 3rd team in the Pacific but is making the post-season in this division easier than finishing top 20 overall?

    I’d put my money on the Ducks to pull away from the Canucks, Yotes, Oilers, Flames.

    But if past history is any indication, I’ve lost a lot of money

  106. AsiaOil says:

    They will get bigger – but bigger and skilled – that’s the GM and coach’s MO. Getting more size on the wing with the skilled younger guys has been a focus since game one. Only problem is that they have had to use bottom sixes like JJ and Hendo to accomplish this. You want skilled size like Pouliot – and a guy like him with a bit more size and a bit more edge would make the team way tougher to play against. Same on defense – one more big RS dman like Hamonic who plays with an edge will make a big difference. Hopefully we can get one before March and the other over the summer.

    But more than anything else in the turn north talk – last night I actually saw the Oilers rough up and mock an opponent. BUF will be good but they look like the Oilers of years past and got treated the same way. That Ristolainen kid is going to to be one hell of a player though once he squeezes the mistakes out of his game. Will be a nasty load to play against and he’s got some offensive tools as well. Like him a lot.

  107. blainer says:

    AsiaOil:
    They will get bigger – but bigger and skilled – that’s the GM and coach’s MO. Getting more size on the wing with the skilled younger guys has been a focus since game one. Only problem is that they have had to use bottom sixes like JJ and Hendo to accomplish this. You want skilled size like Pouliot – and a guy like him with a bit more size and a bit more edge would make the team way tougher to play against. Same on defense – one more big RS dman like Hamonic who plays with an edge will make a big difference. Hopefully we can get one before March and the other over the summer.

    But more than anything else in the turn north talk – last night I actually saw the Oilers rough up and mock an opponent. BUF will be good but they look like the Oilers of years past and got treated the same way.That Ristolainen kid is going to to be one hell of a player though once he squeezes the mistakes out of his game. Will be a nasty load to play against and he’s got some offensive tools as well. Like him a lot.

    Ya I was kinda saying that .. maybe top three is a bit much but your point is what I’m getting at..

    Troy Brower is who I had in mind and similar to Pouliot .

    He is a little bit older but if the price is right I would go after him. Hendy in my mind proves what a good vet can bring to the table.

  108. AsiaOil says:

    If they can get to Christmas and still be in contact – that January schedule is soft like fresh cinnamon buns – especially if they get some guys back and healthy. Playoffs not likely but I think they have a real shot at 4th place in the Pacific – and just as important – getting the goal differential near sea level.

  109. PhrankLee says:

    G Money: No no no no no no! They just need to add 5 guys averaging 200 lbs, and one 320 lb lineman.

    Oddly enough this is correct. In essence.

    I don’t want to get in an argument and end up with Rikki throwing around lb/inch tables again but we do need some size with skill and attitude. Taylor is swaggering. Leon is swashbuckling. Nuge can slither and dart. They need complimentary support wingers and linemates.

    I happen to believe those line mates should be of the 74″ x 220 variety.

    GM and Coach agree with that. Recently Coach called on the “organization” to supply bigger and stronger guys.

    I am happy. Mostly because Chia really appears to have a good handle on what it means to be bigger, stronger and skilled.

    K.Lowe did not. Dithers did not. Howson/McT did not.

  110. General Jultz says:

    I’ve always thought straight averages of height and weight can be misleading because of enforcers that play 5 minutes a night and are 6’4” 245lbs.
    If you could somehow incorporate TOI I think you’d have a pretty decent measurement for the skilled size of a team.

  111. Lois Lowe says:

    “Steve Smith”: He’s our tight end.

    I’m not sure if you know this, but a tight end can be a wide receiver.

  112. PhrankLee says:

    frjohnk: I’d put my money on the Ducks to pull away from the Canucks, Yotes, Oilers, Flames.

    I would be shocked if they did not.

    Unless they hit the conference final its the end of the Boudreau show, I think.

  113. AsiaOil says:

    Sure I like Brower as well – would be a really nice complementary piece – but what more do you need in the top 6 when you have this?

    Hall RNH Drai
    Poo McD Yak

    I’d prefer a cheaper guy who is usually a 3rd liner – but can play up the lineup when injuries hit. Korpse was supposed to be that but he’s been unbelievably bad – like earth-shatteringly crappy. Big fail for Chia unless he’s re-injured in some way that’s not obvious (concussion?).

    Deal is still Eberle for a very good dman – then fix the bottom six with proven vet UFA and in-house talent like JJ, Slepy and big Yak. Also you pray Talbot gets his junk together and can be an affordable 1A/1B Tandem with the Swede. He got until Christmas though to prove something as he’s not likely to re-sign sitting on the bench. He’s getting cheaper by the day and might be a FA looking for a backup job if things don’t change – and that would be a huge opportunity he failed to exploit. I’d deal him long before that though to get some of the acquisition cost back. Would do Korpikoski and Talbot for Bernier in a NY minute right now.

    Is LB waiver eligible next season or the year after?

    blainer: Ya I was kinda saying that .. maybe top three is a bit much but your point is what I’m getting at..

    Troy Brower is who I had in mindand similar to Pouliot .

    He is a little bit older but if the price is right I would go after him. Hendy in my mind proves what a good vet can bring to the table.

  114. Water Fire says:

    stush18:
    I gotta say, gazdic has really impressed me with his play this year.

    Not in a hall or drai kinda way. But he doesn’t get hemmed into his end much, and he plays exactly how he should.

    Shoot the puck at the net from anywhere, chase down the rebound, hit the guy with the puck, and then park that big load in front of the net. Back check, or change. Rinse repeat.

    I am way less apprehensive with him on the ice this year. Morphing into our own Shawn Thornton?

    True. It would be nice if Khaira and Yakimov could become the heavies on the team though, bring better hockey and make the Dion’s tone it down when they run around.

  115. Ca$h-McMoney! says:

    Water Fire,

    Yup. Khaira might be the smallest between him, Sleppy, and Big Yak. If all three of those guys pan out we’ll be in good shape in the size department.

  116. blainer says:

    AsiaOil:
    Sure I like Brower as well – would be a really nice complementary piece – but what more do you need in the top 6 when you have this?

    Hall RNH Drai
    Poo McD Yak

    I’d prefer a cheaper guy who is usually a 3rd liner – but can play up the lineup when injuries hit. Korpse was supposed to be that but he’s been unbelievably bad – like earth-shatteringly crappy. Big fail for Chia unless he’s re-injured in some way that’s not obvious (concussion?).

    Deal is still Eberle for a very good dman – then fix the bottom six with proven vet UFA and in-house talent like JJ, Slepy and big Yak. Also you pray Talbot gets his junk together and can be an affordable 1A/1B Tandem with the Swede. He got until Christmas though to prove something as he’s not likely to re-sign sitting on the bench. He’s getting cheaper by the day and might be a FA looking for a backup job if things don’t change – and that would be a huge opportunity he failed to exploit. I’d deal him long before that though to get some of the acquisition cost back. Would do Korpikoski and Talbot for Bernier in a NY minute right now.

    Is LB waiver eligible next season or the year after?

    I think LB is an RFA at the end of this year. There will have to be a two way deal put in place I guess.

    I would make the trade for Bernier but for the contract. $4 million next year..

    Thinking the Brower idea for unicorns.. but you are correct the money probably won’t make sense when we may have that player for a fraction of the price in house.

  117. Water Fire says:

    Woodguy:
    Bruce asked me to do the Cult of Hockey grades last night so he could enjoy the game live like a normal fan and not have to take notes.

    The carnage is here: http://edmontonjournal.com/sports/hockey/nhl/cult-of-hockey/cult-of-hockey-player-grades-giant-swedish-goalie-monster-backstops-oilers-to-third-straight-win

    Nice job WG. Personally I’d love to see a guy like JJ get put up with Hall when the other team is taking liberties and accidently cause somebody pain in a board battle. Repeatedly until they calmed down.

    Nurse had a cheeky little stick to the inner thigh of one Sabre after a end board collision which made the guy wince, Nurse looking him right in the eye, and a ref in proximity even, no call. When was the last time that happened in Edmonton with an Oiler on the skinny end of the stick?

  118. AsiaOil says:

    Well if LB is waiver eligible then it is a bit of a pickle. We may lose him on waivers if he continues to play well – just like we would have lost Davidson this fall if we had tried to send him down. How bloody bad would we look now if we have lost him for nothing? All we can do is continue to evaluate the goalies we have – but unless Talbot really turns it around soon – we may have to deal him. He’s UFA and the match may not be there for either side. Having Nilsson emerge is great but it does upset the planning for next year – of course you take that upset for Nilsson’s play any day. Would still be more than a bit worried about the lack of experience with a Nilsson/LB tandem next year as well. But I like how we let TC sort things out and let the “best man win” a job.

    blainer: I think LB is an RFA at the end of this year. There will have to be a two way deal put in place I guess.

    I would make the trade for Bernier but for the contract. $4 million next year..

    Thinking the Brower idea for unicorns.. but you are correct the money probably won’t make sense when we may have that player for a fraction of the price in house.

  119. Caramel Obvious says:

    Brouwer has had a nice career. He’s also about to get his retirement contract at 31 years old. You can’t win signing guys like that. There’s no value there.

    If you are signing guys in their thirties to fill out the roster it has to be for Matt Hendricks money.

    The Oilers need to find a RHD. Everything else pales in comparison. I don’t care how big that guy is as long as he’s good. I’d rather have Ryan Ellis than Eric Gryba. Wouldn’t you?

  120. frjohnk says:

    AsiaOil: Well if LB is waiver eligible then it is a bit of a pickle

    LB is in his 3rd year.

    He wont have to pass through waivers until after his 4th as he is a goalie.

  121. Caramel Obvious says:

    Also Brouwer scored 41 goals in the AHL as a 21 year old. He’s a skilled hockey player.

    Guys who can’t score in the AHL wash out of the NHL.

  122. frjohnk says:

    People look at the Kings or Bruins and believe size is needed to win.

    But then Chicago last year was one of the smallest teams in the league and they won the cup. Tampa Bay was not a big team IIRC as well.

    The Oilers are not the smallest team anymore and while getting bigger is maybe one of the needs/wants, skill should not be sacrificed for size.

    LT, WG are lighting candles for 3 scoring lines ( or unicorns) and I agree 100% as this gives us more players who are difference makers.

    What we need is more players who are difference makers. I believe that most of the pieces are here for that. Maybe add a couple more pieces. But we just some growth and health from those players ( most of the McDavid are not close to their prime) With that growth will come more consistency and that will make a world of difference for this team moving forward.

  123. Dr. Taboggan says:

    Lowetide,

    At what point do you think the Oilers would consider re-signing Purcell? And how much money would you have pay him? 3 x 3?

  124. fifthcartel says:

    This analytics discussion on 1260 right now is great! I missed the first hour but awesome stuff, guys.

  125. Ca$h-McMoney! says:

    Caramel Obvious:
    Also Brouwer scored 41 goals in the AHL as a 21 year old.He’s a skilled hockey player.

    Guys who can’t score in the AHL wash out of the NHL.

    Except for Draisaitl.

  126. Mandy says:

    Regarding NN, for what it’s worth I attended a Condors game on Nov 14. (Worked it into my vacation). He was not good. Very bad in fact. I know he’s on a 4 game point streak but man oh man was he terrible. Couldn’t keep up with the pace and the Reign have a couple guys with wheels but are definitely built as more of a heavy, grind the opponent to victory kind of way. I ran out of fingers and toes to count how many times he was out of position or made a terrible decision, usually a ill advised pinch or just throwing the puck right onto the opposing players stick. So pretty much what he was on the big club but should have looked a whole lot better than he did. I’d need to see a LOT more before considering bringing him up again.

    The two D that caught my eye in the good way were Musil and Simpson. Musil as it’s been stated countless times is not particularly fleet of foot but was sound positionally, head always seemed to be on a swivel and made the smart play. Nothing flashy but if he had the opportunity would finish his check, calmly recover the puck and make an efficient breakout pass. Simple, smart and effective. Simpson moved better than I was expecting, Was very good at finding the forward moving out of the zone and made some beauty headman passes. Think he’s going to be one of those dmen who mature by the speed of a sundial but if he can work on his first couple steps and get stronger there’s definitely a nice player in there. Oh, and Joey Legs was a guy I couldn’t stop watching. Just a wonderful skater.

    JJ was definitely one of the forwards I noticed the most and even leaned over to my dad a couple times to tell him I thought he’d get at least his cup of coffee with the big club. Happened sooner than I’d thought it would and in some ways it seems like the NHL speed suits his game better. Yakimov didn’t show me much but I believe it was the next day that he was placed back on IR. I suspect that contributed to the lack of speed I saw compared to what I saw in previous TCs. Would have liked him to be more aggressive though. He’s a load though, that’s for sure. Other players of note were Kessy, who looks like he has another gear this year. Skated well and was one of the few to instigate contact. Couple really big hits, a great fight and any time there was a scrum he was in it. It was the first game for Chase after his recall and while he had limited icetime every time he was out there he was being a pest and just always under the skin of the other team. Cheering like hell for him.

    LB with a nice shutout on the evening. Had some rebound control issues but liked both his positioning and battle level. He bailed out the earlier mention NN multiple times.

    Apologies for the longish post but I was planning on reporting back my observations after the game and just didn’t happen.

  127. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    Dr. Taboggan:
    Lowetide,

    At what point do you think the Oilers would consider re-signing Purcell? And how much money would you have pay him? 3 x 3?

    Signing Teddy Purcell for multiple years is a bad, bad, bad idea.

    Rather pay more for one year than sign him for more years. You don’t know which Purcell will show up. Last year’s or this year’s. Key difference? He is playing for a contract this year.

    Oilers can find a replacement for him this summer if they move him at the deadline anyway. Lots of veteran wingers would be happy to play with a Hall or McDavid or Nuge

  128. Snowman says:

    NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”: Signing Teddy Purcell for multiple years is a bad, bad, bad idea.

    Rather pay more for one year than sign him for more years. You don’t know which Purcell will show up. Last year’s or this year’s. Key difference? He is playing for a contract this year.

    Oilers can find a replacement for him this summer if they move him at the deadline anyway. Lots of veteran wingers would be happy to play with a Hall or McDavid or Nuge

    Agreed on Purcell. Don’t know which guy you’re signing. He’s a real legitimate NHLer but I’d prefer they find a guy who is faster and a little meaner on the forecheck.

    He’s playing much better this season and he’s on a roll right now but he’s not blowing the doors off by any stretch. He’s on pace for 43 points playing significant minutes with Hall and Drai or Nuge. Not a bad place to play.

    Good complimentary guy but I don’t think he matches the type for Maclellan or Chia Pete.

  129. PDL says:

    NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”: Signing Teddy Purcell for multiple years is a bad, bad, bad idea.

    Rather pay more for one year than sign him for more years. You don’t know which Purcell will show up. Last year’s or this year’s. Key difference? He is playing for a contract this year.

    Oilers can find a replacement for him this summer if they move him at the deadline anyway. Lots of veteran wingers would be happy to play with a Hall or McDavid or Nuge

    I think re-signing Purcell at the right price point would be a good idea. You’re right in that we don’t know which Purcell will show up but he’s got a long enough track record that we can reasonably predict his level next year. And if everyone on last year’s roster gets a pass for the first half of the season, then so should Purcell.

    With the players Chia wants to add this summer, it helps to keep players that have some established chemistry with the top guys. We can’t keep using the preseason and first 20 games of each season to find wingers for Hall and centers for Yak.

  130. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    PDL: I think re-signing Purcell at the right price point would be a good idea.You’re right in that we don’t know which Purcell will show up but he’s got a long enough track record that we can reasonably predict his level next year.And if everyone on last year’s roster gets a pass for the first half of the season, then so should Purcell.

    With the players Chia wants to add this summer, it helps to keep players that have some established chemistry with the top guys.We can’t keep using the preseason and first 20 games of each season to find wingers for Hall and centers for Yak.

    I didn’t say don’t re-sign him. Just don’t re-sign him to a multi year deal. 1 x 4m Teddy. Take it or leave it. That’s more than generous.

  131. Johnny skid says:

    Dr. Taboggan:
    Lowetide,

    At what point do you think the Oilers would consider re-signing Purcell? And how much money would you have pay him? 3 x 3?

    to increase the chance of winning hockey games it would be better to have teddy on the team you are competing against.

  132. Snowman says:

    PDL:

    With the players Chia wants to add this summer, it helps to keep players that have some established chemistry with the top guys.We can’t keep using the preseason and first 20 games of each season to find wingers for Hall and centers for Yak.

    At some point Yak needs to be able to play without having someone else carry his pack for him night in and night out. It shouldn’t be a matter of how can we make this work for Yak. Yak needs to start being able to adjust to whoever he is playing with. He’s not a rookie anymore. I love the guy but arranging your lines around Yak is insane.

    Hall will produce whether he is with Nuge, Mcdavid or Drai. I don’t think that’s an issue. He produces with Eberle, he produces with Purcell, he produces with Yak. Hall will put points up.

    The three forward pairs Nuge-Ebs, Hall-Drai, Mcdavid- Yak for example all need a fast puck retriever. Pou is a great fit for the Nuge or Mcdavid line. Great on the forecheck and fast fast fast. That’s what those pairings need. Fast forecheck puck retrieval types who can get to the blue paint.

    There’s enough skill there to drive the lines. Just need some fast complimentary types.

    I think Purcell is a bonafide NHLer but unless you can get him under 3M forget it. Doesn’t bring enough.

  133. Ca$h-McMoney! says:

    NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”: I didn’t say don’t re-sign him. Just don’t re-sign him to a multi year deal. 1 x 4m Teddy. Take it or leave it. That’s more than generous.

    $4 million? Jeez. No chance he gets that on the open market, no chance at all.

    The NHL is seeing guys north of 30 get PTO’s and the like, guys like Glencross and Boyes, who are very much comps for Teddy.

    1 year deal. $1.5 million. or 2 years for 2.5 million.

    That should be enough.

  134. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    Ca$h-McMoney!: $4 million?Jeez.No chance he gets that on the open market, no chance at all.

    The NHL is seeing guys north of 30 get PTO’s and the like, guys like Glencross and Boyes, who are very much comps for Teddy.

    1 year deal.$1.5 million.or 2 years for 2.5 million.

    That should be enough.

    That was my hyperbolic point. No need to pay him for 2 or 3 years. Don’t sign aging vets to multi year deals. P.s. no chance 1x 1.5m gets it done. None.

  135. Ca$h-McMoney! says:

    NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker",

    Tell that to December 2014 Curtis Glencross.

    Or Lee Stempniak, Brad Boyes, etc. etc.

    I think he signs for under $2million/year.

  136. AsiaOil says:

    Well that’s good – would like to see LB get 20 games next season if he continues to progress – and would also like to see a vet pair with one of the young NHL guys we currently have. Best case is for Talbot to recover and have him and the Swede as 1A/B for the rest of the year. But even if that happens – I’m not sure Talbot would resign in EDM to be a 1B. The window for Talbot resigning in EDM is narrowing the longer Nilsson keeps the starters job and Talbot sits. At some point in January it likely closes all together and you need to deal him.

    frjohnk: LB is in his 3rd year.

    He wont have to pass through waivers until after his 4th as he is a goalie.

  137. stevezie says:

    NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”,

    It is almost impossible to lose a one year deal. Your plan has wisdom to it.

    I’d rather get someone who contributes more to “balance”, but a one year deal on Purcell is no crime even if it’s outrageous expensive.

  138. Pouzar says:

    OilersNow
    ‏@OilersNow
    Laurent Brossoit was injured on Saturday. Under going an MRI today. It’s a LBI and he’ll be out for more than a few days. #Oilers #Condors

  139. delooper says:

    General Jultz:
    I’ve always thought straight averages of height and weight can be misleading because of enforcers that play 5 minutes a night and are 6’4” 245lbs.
    If you could somehow incorporate TOI I thinkyou’d have a pretty decent measurement for the skilled size of a team.

    The concept of weighted average does that. Take the sum over all players of their average weights, weighed (in the sense of integration) by their average TOI.

  140. GCW_69 says:

    Chiarelli is going to flush Teddy and Pouliot and sign Lucic.

    Book it.

  141. PDL says:

    Snowman,

    I agree that we should not arrange our lines around Yak but that’s kind of my point – we need complementary players that we already know are a good fit. Hall can play with a lot of players but that doesn’t mean everyone on our roster can.

    And we are in a tough position with Yak. We have to play him. And yes, he needs to be better but if you have to play him, he can’t just be an after thought when you’re designing your roster.

  142. stevezie says:

    frjohnk,
    I know you were being glib, but…

    “Skill” is such a weird word. What does it mean? Is Schremp skilled? Is Matt Green not? If the answers to these questions is “yes”, then skill is as meaningless as size.

    I really only care about effective.

    I’m not saying you can adjust for different type of effective. The oil could probably use a good corner man/net presence more than Teddy Purcel right now, but we’re definitely better off with a mostly effective “soft skill” player than less effectove “grinder”. Right?

    Semin was once incredibly effective. At his price point it’s worth the risk for someone to see if the problem is he just doesn’t fit with MTL. For an enigma, he was long an advanced stats darling. That said, I don’t see us being a fit either.

    I’m sure he still has the hands, and I am sure Penner is still big. If there is a meaningful distinction between these two “skills”, I don’t see it.

  143. kb says:

    Hall – Draisaitl – XX
    XX – McDavid- Yakupov
    XX – RNH – Eberle

    XX = insert skilled large bodies here…
    And fill your 4th line with deserving farm hands/ pk experts/ faceoff men.

    As much as I would love to see a trade for a D man, I don’t think ebs/ yak get it done and I don’t move the other 4.

  144. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    Ca$h-McMoney!:
    NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”,

    Tell that to December 2014 Curtis Glencross.

    Or Lee Stempniak, Brad Boyes, etc. etc.

    I think he signs for under $2million/year.

    The irony is you are citing players I wanted signed or offered tryouts to potentially take Purcell’s place.

    That said, if Purcell puts up 40 points this year I think he gets 2.5m-3m per. His name still has some cachet.

  145. bill needle says:

    It’d be something if the low-water mark of the franchise was that terrible loss to the Leafs last week.
    All it took was to search around in the dark for a goalie for five years.

  146. AsiaOil says:

    bill needle,

    We had a goalie 2 years ago. Previous mgmt went out of their way to destroy his confidence because they were the smartest kids in the room (so very obviously not) and another team benefited from that investment.

  147. GCW_69 says:

    NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”: The irony is you are citing players I wanted signed or offered tryouts to potentially take Purcell’s place.

    That said, if Purcell puts up 40 points this year I think he gets 2.5m-3m per. His name still has some cachet.

    As Iong as he gets it somewhere else, more power to him.

  148. square_wheels says:

    Have you ever stayed up all night, waiting for the sunlight? It is cold, lonely, still. There is no quiet I have ever known like the pitch black of 4am in Saskatchewan, alone with the coyotes and the loons. Since 2006 summer, in a very real way, the Edmonton Oilers have been in an endless loop of 4am Saskatchewan, with the loons and coyotes and the crazy. Today, this morning, I think we can see the first rays of sunlight catch our eye. It is morning in the north country. It is long past time to be going home.

    Lowetide, I want to say thank you for this, in a few short sentences you captured why I hang out here, why I love the North and miss my quiet corner of the world everyday and what this silly game means to me even after all these years of frustration.

  149. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    square_wheels:
    Have you ever stayed up all night, waiting for the sunlight? It is cold, lonely, still. There is no quiet I have ever known like the pitch black of 4am in Saskatchewan, alone with the coyotes and the loons. Since 2006 summer, in a very real way, the Edmonton Oilers have been in an endless loop of 4am Saskatchewan, with the loons and coyotes and the crazy. Today, this morning, I think we can see the first rays of sunlight catch our eye. It is morning in the north country. It is long past time to be going home.

    Lowetide, I want to say thank you for this, in a few short sentences you captured why I hang out here, why I love the North and miss my quiet corner of the world everyday and what this silly game means to me even after all these years of frustration.

    Great post.

  150. Coffeys_Messy_eh says:

    Seems like a lot has been made of the Oilers’ success in the faceoff dot last night. Is anyone other than me wondering if TMcL had a few pointers for the Oilers’ Cs based on his knowledge of the other team?

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