NORTHERN LIGHTS

by Lowetide

It was 80s night at Rexall last night, a wild and crazy time. Everyone but Kool and the Gang got the call, the goal-scorers were hungry like the wolf and that damn puck had eyes without a face. Wow.

LUCKY STAR, 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: 5-0-0
  • Oilers after 30 in 2014-15: 7-18-5, 19 points (-43 GD)
  • Oilers after 30 in 2015-16: 13-15-2, 28 points (-8 GD)

This 5-0 run has been a great time for Oilers fans and if we are honest, this moment—right now—could be the high mark of the season. A four game road trip, an injured Klefbom, and a Nilsson who had some holes last night, all of those things could mean down beat in the days leading up to Christmas. That said, this team is not playing air tight defense or anything so there is still room for improvement. A 2-2 road trip is a reasonable line in the sand based on how well things are going, fair?

standings

Only one team is out of sight, in what is clearly an addled division. Edmonton has played too many games (everyone but Vancouver has games in hand) but they are in it and No. 23 overall. The goal differential, minus 8, is No. 4 in the division. The Oilers lead the division in goals. !!!! .

DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT

oilers blue nov 30

The Klefbom injury really puts the blue in this blue line. Niki Nikitin will probably draw in, they may also split up Nurse-Sekera but we will see. Damn shame about the injury, because Klefbom absolutely posted a stunning evening and Schultz along with him. Fabulous results for both men, when together. Schultz with Klefbom last night 5×5: 20-1; without 4-10.

Nurse-Sekera played the Brassard-Nash line most of the time and it was tough sledding. Nurse had a goal and was plus two on the evening, so the Corgi’s will once again go unnoticed but this pairing is getting ripped by the opposition’s best.  McLellan wants this pairing, implying the other pairings are the weakerthans. Suspect the road trip will be an adventure for all.

Davidson-Gryba did not play against the feature lines much (Davidson was strong against Zuccarello) and they should have had better numbers, but this was a 1980s game and honestly I cannot tell you why or how Davidson went 0-7 against Fast. It was not the big part of the game, but I think Davidson may be playing in exactly that Monday in Boston.

Final item: Notice the time-on-ice from Nurse. He and Sekera, at evens, played an outrageous line (mostly) and came out the other side. He is 20.

 CENTERS LAST NIGHT

oil c nov 30

Leon Draisaitl is Paul Bunyan, with a strick the size of a tree and hands by Charmin. Good LORD what a play on the winner, two really, the deft chip past the defenseman and then pass to Hall for the cash. What an incredible hockey player. Heilige Scheiße, he is good.

Anton Lander is now being trolled by the Gods, posting reasonable numbers and yet getting nothing close to useful offense. When his blue moon turns to gold again, he may carry this team for a week (not really, but it feels like it). Mark Letestu was part of the Lauri Korpikoski Project, grabbed an assist and ended +2.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and his line battled against the other Bunyan and his freak center Brassard. That is a tough chore and they were soundly punished (Nuge -3, and 4-11 against Nash) unless playing softer comp (9-6 against Zuccarello). This line needs Pouliot back.

 WINGERS, LAST NIGHT

oilers f nov 30

I can understand why Edmonton will trade Teddy Purcell, but how tempting is it to see if there is some interest at a lesser rate? Taylor Hall is now top five in scoring and is bitch slapping the river. This is insane.

Matt Hendricks and Lauri Korpikoski were on a line with Mark Letestu and they were the freakers at the freaker’s ball all night long. Honestly, this is one of those nights where life is going to make everything easy, and Korpikoski cashed three for the first time in his career. Credit where due, he scored two goals from high traffic areas and made me think of Lumley. Damn Finns, you cannot stay mad at them!

I thought Luke Gazdic and Iiro Pakarinen looked good in places, although they played in the parts of the game where there coaches were allowing the primary players to catch their breath.

Jordan Eberle and Jujhar Khaira were up against it with Nuge on a tough line (Letestu chipped in a little too). This trio needs Pouliot back, and then Khaira may push someone else out. Could we see Gazdic sent down?

It was like Montana to Rice, the world knew where it was going, but the world could not stop it, only stand and witness greatness. That is textbook fabulous.

klefbom capture 1

Oscar Klefbom is 107 games into his NHL career and the Edmonton Oilers rely on him like he is at the 500-game plateau.

This will be the major point of discussion all day (how to deploy the defense), so it is a good idea to start with the coach. Who does he trust? EV TOI by McLellan:

  1. Darnell Nurse 18:56
  2. Oscar Klefbom 17:21 (injured)
  3. Andrej Sekera 17:09
  4. Justin Schultz 16:19
  5. Eric Gryba 15:54
  6. Brandon Davidson 15:23
  7. Andrew Ference 11:51 (injured)
  8. Nikita Nikitin

If Klefbom cannot play on the trip:

  • Nurse—Sekera
  • Davidson—Schultz
  • Nikitin—Gryba

If I had a vote:

  • Sekera—Fayne
  • Nurse—Schultz
  • Davidson—Gryba

General Managers are always stubborn about their players, so do not discount the possibility of a GR recall. He is 3GP, 0-2-2 +2 on the farm and could be the choice by management.

Good for Ben Scrivens, glad to see it. The Oilers have gone from no goalies to one, and need to find out about Cam Talbot, let alone Ben Scrivens. One would hope the team gets some value back for some of these goalie bets, but at this point I will settle for Scrivens getting his career back on track.

I ranked Bear No. 9 among Oilers prospects this winter, wrote about him here. Edmonton spends a lot of assets on WHL kids, including Eberle, Nuge and Leon, would be nice to get a good one from the lower portions of the draft (to add to Brandon Davidson).

 

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[…] It’s so nice when the Oilers make Lowetide (aka Allan Mitchell) happy, as they did with that monster 7-5 win. […]

Zelepukin

theres oil in virginia: Yes, especially since they are playing with that rookie 4th liner.They should be killing experienced opposition.

Last night was the first night where the glimpse of unicorns/opposition matchups was very evident. Huge/Ebs were pretty much thrown to the wolves. It was heavy sledding for them, definitely. Even though NYR was mixing their lines up like crazy in the first, it seemed liked McL was fine with sacrificing that line for the sake of DraiHall destroying their matchups, hence the 80’s back and forth.

Having said that, Ebs is getting his funk back in the offensive zone and if Poo comes back in the next week or so, that should help drive up that line’s ability to push back with confidence. I’d love to then see JJ stick it with Lander and Iro for a bit.

Our unicorns will ride in ’16. Someone’s shitty 3rd pairing D is going to have to handle either Nuge, Drai or McD and on any night and one line is going to drive our scoring:

Hall – Drai – Purcell
JJ- Nuge – Ebs
Poo – McD – Yaks
Korp – Hendy – Lets

JJ and Poo could potentially swap with each other but I think this is a good balance of vets with rooks.
So if you’re the opposition, how do you not double shift your 1-2 D against these offensive lines?

The only downside of 3 very strong offensive lines, is TOI. With PK time involved, your challenge is keeping everyone active. On the PP I wouldn’t even change up the lines. Just put those guys out with set D pairings. 4 forwards really hasn’t added much benefit to us.

ruotsalainen

Nurse V Ristolainen is not only about offense.

Yes, early indications show Ristolainen as being more offensive oriented, but that is FAR from the end of the conversation.

Nurse is and will be just—for a lack of words—nasty. You don’t want to hang around Nurse. Ever. Now I will be honest in saying I haven’t watch Ristolainen that often, but I will say Nurse is already getting the reputation as a guy you don’t want to hang around.

Don’t get me wrong, both are fantastic players, but I really like what Nurse brings.

theres oil in virginia

AsiaOil: Sorry but the this is RNH’s 5th year in the league and Ebs 6th. They need to be better or changes need to be made because we can use that cap space.

Yes, especially since they are playing with that rookie 4th liner. They should be killing experienced opposition.

Ca$h-McMoney!

I’ve decided to try to mobilize my vast @cn_mills twitter army to call for the Oilers to do the right thing and put the C on Hall.

He’s been carrying the team for years, is still its best player, and cares deeply about making this club great. It’s his time and it’s the right thing to do.

Woodguy

SwedishPoster: I heard they’ve filled all his bones with adamantium.

His bones actually produce it on their own.

Oil2Oilers

G Money: It was a tweet from a reasonably (in my eyes) respectable source, but it has disappeared off my Twit feed.As soon as I see some confirmation, will post/repost.

I saw the tweet earlier myself, but can not verify it is correct or not.

Pouzar

G Money: It was a tweet from a reasonably (in my eyes) respectable source, but it has disappeared off my Twit feed.As soon as I see some confirmation, will post/repost.

Who? What? Wasssssssssup???

G Money

Centre of attention: Where did you hear that??!

It was a tweet from a reasonably (in my eyes) respectable source, but it has disappeared off my Twit feed. As soon as I see some confirmation, will post/repost.

Oil2Oilers

Joey LaLeggia has been playing winger for the Condors;

http://oilersnation.com/2015/12/12/condors-recap-scrivens-shuts-out-eakins-gulls

Seems wise to try.

LadiesloveSmid

Centre of attention:
http://oilersnation.com/2015/12/12/edmonton-s-beating-heart

If they beat Boston, I’m buying a lottery ticket.

next few games are pretty tough, tougher without the best Dman on a weak core as is

back to back will hurt, hawks will hurt. this streak was well well needed, but I don’t expect much in the next bit

G Money

Woodguy:
There are strange things done in the midnight sun By the men who moil for goals;
The Rexall trails have their secret tales That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, But the queerest they ever did behold
Was that night Nilsson sank while they chased out King Hank and a Korpse scored 3 goals.

Awesome.

Hope is a good thing

Long time reader and listener, LT, and first post. We are seeing the impact of TMac in many ways, and most obviously in their breakouts. D to D passes (often multiple) to gain time and space, centre swinging low to receive the pass – wait for it…ON THE TAPE! And in stride, accelerating past the initial stationary forechecker with head up able to read the next play. If you can’t execute these simple skills at the NHL level, you are doomed to ten years of anguish and face offs at centre ice. TMac and staff must have been a bit astonished that they had to teach these kinds of things at the beginning, but Eakins had plenty of time and opportunity and failed.
John Wooden, one of the greatest coaches ever, started each season teaching his UCLA baketball players (rookies and star seniors alike) how to put their socks on properly, and how to tie their shoes correctly.
As a lifelong Oilers fan, I am so grateful TMac has recognized the fundamental problems, patiently taught the right ways, and is leading us north, out of the decade of darkness.

AsiaOil

Pretty much bang on. The Finn was not taking anything from the Oilers and came right back at us whenever he was challenged (which was a lot that night). Very nice player and no way he’s traded unless part of an insane deal. Better then Nurse? Maybe a bit more offense but they are close. Both very nice players that any team would love to have. If I had to pick I’d use my 5 year old’s reasoning and say BOTH!

NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”: I love Nurse but don’t think he will bring the offense Ristolainen does. Both very good D-men with size, skating and a mean streak.

Centre of attention

http://oilersnation.com/2015/12/12/edmonton-s-beating-heart

This brought a tear to my eye for some reason.

The amount of sh*t this man has taken is ridiculous.

Its only a matter of time before he gets considered for Captaincy. IDK if he will get it but his play has to have Todd & co thinking twice at least.

I finally dragged myself out of bed at 12 PM today because of copious amounts of beer last night. Twas’ an intense game that had me jumping up and falling back down just as fast, only to jump back up again. Halls goal at the end there made the hang over worth it.

If they beat Boston, I’m buying a lottery ticket.

Pouzar

NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”: I love Nurse but don’t think he will bring the offense Ristolainen does.

agreed

Gayfish

NIKITIN,GRYBA, SHULTZ, Two rookies and sekera. Holy defence batman. That might be the worst defence we have iced during this rebuild, and we had such studs as Alex plants and taylor chorney at one point.

New Improved Darkness

There once was a clown named Sather
on departing his town in a blazer
twixt droughts ballyhooed and belaboured
dared rebuff the glare of the laser
Rogaining his crown somewhat later.

———

For the leathery-lipped undertones (slather/blather/lather) I credit equally Pope and Popeye.

This is a hard form.

The game here is to make the fizzle sizzle with the unsatisfactory final rhyme to contrast making the sizzle pizzle (nostalgic roast pizzle, if you must ask), while concealing a moose in a fishbowl (here today, “goon” tomorrow–seriously, the word “goon” is right there as bright as daylight, alongside hints of “glint” and “gloom” only it really needs to be “goon with the laser [eyes|wrist shot]” if one could have nice things).

———

Willis awards me a conflicted five.

“Pope or Popeye, for or against?” I ask Willis.

“I wish I knew,” answers Willis.

“You sound weary,” I say to Willis.

“Yes,” says Willis.

“Not for the first time?” I hazard a guess.

“Like the stars,” answers Willis.

“So bad as that?” I console.

“Like the stars during an eternal, prairie dust bowl,” Willis billows biliously.

“In that scenario, your star count might be somewhat suspect,” I infer cautiously.

Willis’ Lacedaemonian carapace ruffles not.

“Supposing the dust settles?” I propose provocatively.

“Yes, suppose it does?” Willis settles the matter with gravid finality.

———

The real reason the NHL made helmets mandatory: Sather tired of wearing sunshades indoors.

jm363561

In hindsight, it was a waste of time to post it either way.
=====

I think you are being too modest. I am sure CMcD, The Oilers, and the Canadian Medical Association ethics committee are all very interested.

AsiaOil

Great fun last night but after the retro glow wears off there are some issues. Time to get Talbot in net as we have to see what we’ve got with this guy since he’s UFA in the summer. Would prefer he plays against Boston but NY might be a better place. If Talbot wins in BOS and looks good then maybe you go right back to him the next night in NYC.

Other issue is that Ebs and RNH did not “saw off against the other team’s best’. Nash and Brassard kicked their heads in and stole their lunch money. Sorry but the this is RNH’s 5th year in the league and Ebs 6th. They need to be better or changes need to be made because we can use that cap space. I still think Ebs is the guy who gets moved by the deadline for a dman and our bargaining position is much improved for now.

Hope Klef is not out long. We’ve got plenty of depth but not much of it actually helps. Only good thing is Ference is hurt so he can’t sub in. Hopefully Niki can give us a couple of good game and help us get through this road trip. A .500 record would be massive as the tough part of the schedule ends in Denver next week and we will start to get guys back after Christmas.

stevezie

Pouzar,

Looking at things objectively, three out of four dentists would take the Fin first.

But Nurse is beautiful, no doubt. Good chance he catches and passes all kinds of people.

SwedishPoster

delooper:
It’s of course possible they used some fancy biodegradable plate, or something that’s relatively flexible.Medical technology is evolving.. but if they’re using conventional technology the plate will be quite stiff and will remain stiff.

I heard they’ve filled all his bones with adamantium.

frjohnk

Klima’s_Bucket: Sharp was not in Dallas during Nichushkin’s rookie season???

I meant Seguin. Oops.

delooper

It’s of course possible they used some fancy biodegradable plate, or something that’s relatively flexible. Medical technology is evolving.. but if they’re using conventional technology the plate will be quite stiff and will remain stiff.

Ribs

delooper,

Interesting stuff!

Pouzar: Well yeah. He has a full season of NHL experience on Nurse.
Nurse’s first year has a very good chance of being better than Risto’s.

I love Nurse but don’t think he will bring the offense Ristolainen does. Both very good D-men with size, skating and a mean streak.

delooper

Ribs,

If he eventually gets the plate removed (is that the plan?) the chance of reinjury is pretty low. If the plate stays in I would suspect the chance of reinjury is maybe a little higher than normal.

A metal plate in the bone makes it too stiff along its length. So when pressure is put on it, there’s less of the length of the bone available to “flex”. So that part is under higher stress, and is more likely to break. On top of that, the break would be in a spot that’s more difficult to fix.

Hopefully he gets the plate removed in the off-season.

Gret99zky

Woodguy:
Offensive players not winning with rookie coach and meh Dmen:

in PIT:MEDIA: “ABOUT TIME THEY FIRED THE COACH”

in EDM:MEDIA:”CORE IS ROTTEN. HALL EMBODIES A LOSING CULTURE!”

What does the data say about the number of coaches each team has had over the last 5 years?

Edit: 2 vs. 6?

4 more coaches and the media will say Crosby is a coach killer.

Pouzar

stevezie: Ristolainen is ahead of Nurse.

Well yeah. He has a full season of NHL experience on Nurse.
Nurse’s first year has a very good chance of being better than Risto’s.

Water Fire

NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”:
Any Jessica Lange fans here? I just met her last night at a photo party in New Orleans. Still beautiful and very elegant.

A lot of you gents seem to hang in some pretty tony circles, actresses and hockey players.

Centre of attention

G Money:
Heard McDavid is skating in a yellow jersey.

DON’T FALL!!!

Where did you hear that??!

stevezie

Ristolainen is ahead of Nurse. A safer bet with just as high of a cieling.

But Nurse is great too

Ribs

ashley: I don’t get the comparisons of McDavid’s injury to Roma’s. One has a titanium plate reinforcing his collarbone in perfect anatomic reduction, the other had au naturel callus with likely some deformity. One is in his mid-30’s, the other a teenager. One was in a sling for 4-5 weeks, the other lifting weights at 2 weeks.

You also have to think that the chances of reinjuring this part of the body has to be quite a bit less likely in a hockey game compared to football.

BONE207

Woodguy:
There are strange things done in the midnight sun By the men who moil for goals;
The Rexall trails have their secret tales That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, But the queerest they ever did behold
Was that night Nilsson sank while they chased out King Hank and a Korpse scored 3 goals.

If something magical happens this year, I’ll memorize that verse and teach my grandchildren.

Pouzar

NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”: at this point you’d have to take Ristolainen over Nurse.

Nope. Not a chance for me.

dangilitis

http://web.archive.org/web/20040412220523/http://www.cbc.ca/fifth/whoselifeisit/story.html

I just thought people who were interested in Patrick O’Sullivan’s story would be be interested in the article 11 years ago.

Three conclusions
1) Patrick is doing a great service by speaking out. Clearly, as bad as things sounded 11 years ago, what happened at home was far worse and he wasn’t ready to disclose this to the public out of fear.
2) Gretzky is one hell of a human being.
3) Cherry is not a great judge of character, and this is a gross understatement

Ribs

“What the $@&* Korpikoski.” – Jari Kurri

Seconded.

You have to be kidding me! Haha. Damn.

Long Live The Korpse!

delooper

commonfan14:
The Nurse situation is pretty crazy. . .

The risk is huge, but the game should really start slowing down for him if he survives it.

Sounds like every Oilers prospect for the past 10 years?

commonfan29

The Nurse situation is pretty crazy. It’s kind of like he’s a kid called up to the Majors and having to immediately face a different Ace pitcher every game.

The big difference, of course, is that any mistakes Nurse makes have a much more significant impact to the team than a kid in the majors striking out against those Aces.

The risk is huge, but the game should really start slowing down for him if he survives it.

raventalon40

Water Fire: I’m hoping Chia can make a deal for a young right hand version of Nurse. Risto has the right ethnicity and name for the Oilers so I’d take him. The question is what do you give up? I suppose it depends on the key pieces and offer.

I don’t think Ritsolainen is going anywhere, kid is on fire and is his second good season but this season is his big coming-out party. He’s the future in Buffalo in the same hushed tones as Eichel.

I might rather look to fringe playoff teams for GM’s willing to deal some young D for some immediate help on F.

Water Fire

NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”: Nurse over Nichushkinbut at this point you’d have to take Ristolainen over Nurse. And I am a huge Nurse fan, as you know. I used to think Nurse had the nastiness edge but watching Ristolainen the past year he has been impressive on that front and brings more offense. Time will tell.

I’m hoping Chia can make a deal for a young right hand version of Nurse. Risto has the right ethnicity and name for the Oilers so I’d take him. The question is what do you give up? I suppose it depends on the key pieces and offer.

Klima's_Bucket

frjohnk: Nichuskin benefitted by playing with Benn and Sharp in his rookie season.

Sharp was not in Dallas during Nichushkin’s rookie season???

delooper

In the next few weeks as the Oilers (!hopefully!) get their key injured players back on line, there’s going to be a lot of fun hockey to see. If RNH becomes a 3rd line centre, that *should* give the Oilers D some breathing room, to develop over the next two years.

frjohnk

speeds: I agree that MacT had more good moves than some seem to acknowldge, however I’m not sure Nurse over Nichushkin looks like one of those (although it may well end up that way).

Nichushkin had a pretty good rookie year, then essentially missed a year with injury and unless the Oilers had medical info that we don’t know about, not sure how much credit can be given for avoiding an injury post draft.I also think that if EDM wanted a D, a case an be made for the D selected immediately after Nurse, in Ristolainen.

Nichuskin benefitted by playing with Benn and Sharp in his rookie season.
He played 1041:36 at 5 on 5 and scored 28 points.
but played 570:40 with Benn and scored 23 points.

Meaning he scored 5 points in 471 minutes without Benn.
That’s 0.63 points per 60 minutes.

Oilers depth chart on RW in 13-14 was
Eberle
Hemsky
Yak

So if Nichuskin was drafted by the Oilers in 2013, he probably would have played in the bottom 6 and put up not very good numbers.

With that all said, I think he will be a very good player.

With us not needing another winger and our lack of Dman Nurse over Nichuskin was a no brainer for me.

If we are looking in hindsight from the 2013 draft, one could make the argument that the Oilers should have picked Ristolainen instead of Nurse. And I say that with Nurse being my 3rd favorite Oiler after Hall and McDavid. I think Nurse becomes a number 2 D man for sure, but might lack the offense of a number 1.

I believe Ristolainen will become one of the top D men in the league.

With that all said, I believed at draft day and I believe now, that Nurse was 100% the right player to pick.

Pouzar: Really?

Interesting.

It’s Nurse for me and it’s not close. You have have to draft #1 d-men.
Another winger in that spot? No chance.

Nurse over Nichushkin but at this point you’d have to take Ristolainen over Nurse. And I am a huge Nurse fan, as you know. I used to think Nurse had the nastiness edge but watching Ristolainen the past year he has been impressive on that front and brings more offense. Time will tell.

G Money

Heard McDavid is skating in a yellow jersey.

DON’T FALL!!!

Halfwise

bendelson: Jersey of the night at Rexall: A white Oilers jersey adorned with number 33 on the back. The name plate read: Leon D. There was a ‘C’ over the heart. Great stuff mystery fan! So confused… so awesome…

I’m not getting it…
Are the 3s (Drei und dreissig) a pun on Drai? Was it his junior number? Was gibt?

Water Fire

OTO:
In the 1st period after Leon and Stoll battled on a face off , I heard Stoll call Leon a F#$%ing C$##Sucker , nice to see Leon dangle Stoll for the GWG!

Awesome. I was going to say they’ll learn that Leon has a knack for some pretty tasty pay back served up cold like, he did to Eichel, uses it as motivation, but I hope they don’t. Go ahead, poke the bear.

Ice Sage

Statsman:
Our new coach deserves one hell of a lot of credit.

He has joined a new team that hasn’t won dick in the last ten years and has had to endure injuries to some very important players. Still, you can see the improvement in system play and overall attitude in nearly every game.

McLellan is teaching these players to play the “right way”. He knows that if you consistently play the
“right way” (i.e. no shortcuts, hard work, playing for your teammates, playing with confidence), you will inevitably end up on the right side of the scoresheet most nights.

Our Oilers, with all of their immense talent, are Learning To Win and this is the next step in the evolutiion of a successful team.

This!
Also, TMac’s positive and lively style seems to be really inspiring the crew. It must be so refreshing – the ‘positive body language’ / 60 is way up. They also seem to be more resilient = fewer periods of deflation and more bounce-back. G Money’s longitudinal game graphs over time might capture this.