That was whatever is beyond ugly. The Oilers had some passengers—well paid—and were shy on the puck luck, bottom line they got a point in a game they probably lose 3-1 a year ago. Lordy this team can look craptastic when they’re of a mind to do it.
- Todd McLellan: “At the end of the night they got one by our goaltender, but it was a pretty evenly matched game. I liked a number of our players coming out of the Christmas break. I thought they had a little jump in their stride and made some plays. And then there was about five or six that I thought was pulling us down anchor-wise. And hopefully they give us better games tomorrow.” Source
This season, or at least the first half, involved a lot of evaluation. Time is running out for some of these players and I do suspect we are going to see some changes. When? Sooner than later is my guess, but a lot of that depends on when injured players return. I will say this: It is going to be fairly hard to trade Teddy Purcell when he is your best RW and you are in a playoff race.
"They won a few more battles… We just didn't do enough out there to generate any offence." Mark Letestu on tonight's #Oilers loss
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) December 18, 2015
GEORGE CANYON, 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: 7-3-1
- Oilers after 36 in 2014-15: 7-22-7, 21 points (-54 GD)
- Oilers after 36 in 2015-16: 15-18-3, 33 points (-16 GD)
Game 37 last season was a SO win over the Los Angeles Kings. Things began to get better a year ago after this day on the calendar. The Oilers have been very good in December, but this week’s games will go a long way to determining what kind of excitement Connor McDavid comes back to next month.
THE DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT
- Sekera—Fayne had a fine night, with No. 2 going 8-1 against Henrik Sedin in 6:09 and 4-5 against Bo Horvat in 4:42. Sekera had an insane chance late and was effective with the puck, I will use adequate to describe Fayne’s puck moving. I am pleased Todd McLellan went with this pair.
- Nurse—Schultz were an interesting story, beginning with their usage. I am going to cut Todd McLellan a lot of slack because there were no other options, but 23:26 for Nurse cannot go on. The rookie was 4-7 in 6:29 against Henrik and low event 2-3 in 5:40 against Horvat. The commentary had the Sedins chasing the third pairing but in truth the twins played about equal time against the top two pairings.
- Nikitin-Gryba is a bad pairing. They played less than two minutes against the Sedins and it was not good, although the possession numbers didn’t reflect it. Nikitin was 3-7 against Horvat and that is probably the best result imaginable. If this pairing is out against Gaudreau tonight, they will be setting the woods on fire. Nikitin’s lunatic pass to the opposition killed the shutout, tied the game and put me in a bad mood for quite awhile.
How was Griffin Reinhart worse than Nikitin? I don't see it. What am I missing?
— Baggedmilk aka Lil Turbo (@jsbmbaggedmilk) December 27, 2015
It is a transaction worth making today—unless one of Oscar Klefbom or Brandon Davidson is available tonight. If he is healthy, and GR played last night, the Oilers should have had him on the red eye last night.
CENTERS, LAST NIGHT
- Letestu scored the goal, looked effective and his line performed well. Coach McLellan gave him almost 12 minutes at even strength and he earned it. He was 5-0 versus the McCann line, 6-2 versus Henrik and 2-2 against Horvat. He should be proud of that point in the standings this morning.
- Lander went 5-0 versus the Vey line, but he is now 4C and has been for a time. I don’t know if it is because there is more ask in the McLellan system but he looks less effective this year, even without the offense. My guess, along with quality of linemates, is that he just needs a damn goal to go in off his stick.
- Draisaitl didn’t get a point but he was dangerous all night, I especially noticed him in OT. 7-6 against Henrik and 5-6 against Horvat, I have no quarrel with his performance and remember LD had two assists in the Winnipeg game.
- Nugent-Hopkins was part of the incredibly disappointing 2line again last night. Here are his 5×5 Corsi for events: Horvat 2-7; H Sedin 1-2; Hansen 2-5; D Sedin 1-1; Vrbata 2-8; Baertschi 2-8; Dorsett 0-0; Kenins 1-4!!!; McCann 1-4; Vey 1-5; Cracknell 1-5; Prust 1-5 and he was 3-16 against Yannick Weber. I know he worked hard and I will give credit for drawing a penalty after a long period of disaster when he stole the puck in the neutral zone to make a play, but he and his linemates were beyond shoddy. Is he hurt? He was 1-3 with Taylor Hall. Nuge is now officially a concern.
WINGERS, LAST NIGHT
- Hendricks was effective save for a 1-4 Corsi trip with RNH (sigh), and he did some heavy lifting too (7-8 against Hansen) although the box suggests he was playing softer opp.
- Hall was a force (7-4 v. Henrik) and McLellan rode him hard (will again tonight) because he had no choice. What an exceptional player.
- Pakarinen didn’t play much but when he did the puck was generally headed in a good direction. I imagine the coaching staff is beginning to love the Finn, doesn’t bring a lot of offense but can be counted on. Had an effective 59 seconds with Hendricks (3-0), although the other Finn is starting to push so that point may be moot.
- Purcell had good numbers and some good looks, but the puck wouldn’t go in. Slick passer, he can keep the train moving with a deft pass and does a nice job of making up for lack of foot speed by waiting for a good passing seam. Smart player.
- Korpikoski had another good night, I am really warming to his play. WOI has a category called Individual High Danger Scoring Chances and it is mostly filled with the usual suspects. Edmonton had six last night: Hall (2), Leon (1), Nuge (1) and then one each for Hendricks and Korpikoski. Letestu didn’t get one, but did score a goal. Edmonton appears to have their checking line and they do appear to have some of that Pisani offensive ability. He was 0-4 with Nuge (gack!).
- Gazdic made a dumb banana play, icing the puck because two more strides just weren’t there and it contributed (but a whole helluva lot else happened) to the first VAN goal.
- Eberle isn’t right, he is skating like a bag of milk and the only thing he did well last night was fold like a cheap suit along the boards in the name of comedy. I really like this player, but he hasn’t caught up after the injury.
- Pouliot was lost in the supermarket. My Mom used to play me a 45 when I was just a little kid, it was a song I loved called Sleepwalk by Santo & Johnny. Santo & Johnny contributed as much to Edmonton’s cause as Pouliot did last night.
Why is this so funny pic.twitter.com/1MaMUDWB6f
— ComicBook NOW! (@ComicBookNOW) December 26, 2015
If they play like last night, have a backup plan. This organization is going to turn north, but I don’t think everyone who plays tonight is going to be part of the solution. They were talking about turkey legs on the broadcast, I think turkey brains may have been the larger issue.
I remember when Kassian was drafted by the Buffalo Sabres, there was a sense he would eventually give them an answer to Lucic and other big forwards in the conference. It never did work out there, or Vancouver, or now Montreal. We have seen this fellow up close and personal, we have seen who he is, and it was not attractive. If the price is right and he has changed his ways, then maybe he is worth it. They better be right.
— Eyes on the Prize (@HabsEOTP) December 19, 2015
The guy Peter Chiarelli probably wants is Michael McCarron. He is big, powerful and scoring in the AHL, along with being a physical player. I mentioned this the other day, but if PC is snooping around the Habs, then McCarron is a guy he would like (6.06, 231, 29gp with 13 goals and 50pims as an AHL rookie). Chiarelli did trade NHL players for minor leaguers (Matt Hendricks for Johnny Boychuk) but I cannot imagine the Habs dealing their big winger. That is the kind of player he will be looking to add, a big winger with skill. How many are there in the AHL? Not many.
I suspect that the interest in Kassian (if it is true) springs from the lack of availability of these men and others at the NHL level. Chiarelli will have his list of players who satisfy a need, and is probably in the market for a big winger to play inside the top 9F, with some time in the top 6F possible. It is more likely a summer thing, but that kind of player will no doubt be added and there is no one that fits in Bakersfield.
— Neal (@tweetneal) April 21, 2015
Young Mr. Platzer is emerging as an interesting prospect in the AHL this season. The rookies are beginning to push for playing time, interesting top 5 freshman (in scoring) so far:
- Kyle Platzer 27gp, 5-7-12
- Joey Laleggia 27gp, 3-7-10
- Greg Chase 15gp, 1-5-6
- Anton Slepyshev 19gp, 4-1-5
- Braden Christoffer 22gp, 1-3-4
Platzer leads the way, Laleggia is getting some time at forward, and Chase is beginning to show up on the score sheet after beginning the year in Norfolk. I think Slepyshev will have the strongest NHL career but we are just getting started.