HOPE IS A GOOD THING

by Lowetide

The Edmonton Oilers have reached a point where fans can be genuinely disappointed by an effort that would have been considered usual fare not so long ago. Ahead 3-1 last night, they stepped into an elevator shaft and blew a winnable game. They have major issues, including a momentum-killing power play and a problem with pressure. It is December 28: They remain in the conversation for the playoffs, but last night’s win makes draft talk in January far more likely.

JIGSAW PUZZLE, 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: 7-4-1
  • Oilers after 37 in 2014-15: 8-22-7, 23 points (-54 GD)
  • Oilers after 37 in 2015-16: 15-19-3, 33 points (-18 GD)

It will be a damn shame if the Oilers can’t grab at least one win in their last two December games (Los Angeles and Anaheim). There will be better days ahead—the IR has exceptional quality—but the club has shown impressive resilience in this first half of the season.

THE BLUE, LAST NIGHT

oilers blue nov 30

  • Nikitin—Gryba had a strong night by the numbers and visually both men had good moments. Gryba is as advertised (he can defend but is not a strong puck manager), so his partner should be better with the biscuit—enter Brad Hunt. I saw Nikitin good last night, he was more aggressive with the puck, but his wheels won’t turn and that is a fact.
  • Sekera—Fayne played a lot together but were a tale of two cities. Sekera won the Gaudreau Corsi events battle (8-6) in 5:47, but was only 11-17 with Fayne (5-1 with Gryba). Fayne’s numbers were the least impressive of the group, I like him but will admit he is often in the middle of nowhere and standing up at the blue is alien to him (his game is more passive, he cheats because of foot speed—that’s my guess). He won’t play a feature role for McLellan when the injured return.
  • Nurse—Schultz had a good night against the feature group, sawing off Gaudreau at 5×5. Nurse was splendid to my eye, this was one of his better games during the days of heavy work. He finished 12-11 in 7:06 against Gaudreau and that kid is magic. Schultz was 9-12 against Gaudreau and of course made a poor decision on goal four against—but it is important to remember it’s possible to have good numbers and get noticed for negative things—single moments and events can have super importance while being exactly single moments and events.

Brad Hunt is on the roster and will play soon, suspect he will receive plenty of power-play time. Who comes out, based on merit? Nikita Nikitin and it is not close. I believe NN’s deadline trade value is something akin to ‘Nikitin and a second for a third’ with Oilers keeping some of the money. The Oilers biggest issue (imo) this morning is the power play, and Hunt should help with that hammer.

CENTERS, LAST NIGHT

oil c nov 30

A very nice recovery evening from Nugent-Hopkins, skated miles, posted two assists (one a dandy) and spent 5:16 against Gaudreau (going 7-8). He was 30 percent in the dot, but overall this was a solid effort. Leon Draisaitl also had a positive outing, getting an assist on the Purcell goal. He isn’t on fire currently but still has an impact. Mark Letestu is bringing a consistent level of play now, the veteran (like many Chiarelli hires) seems to have settled in. His speed is exposed on a night like last one, but for me there is value in this player. Anton Lander was the only regular C at 50 perent on the dot, and battled the Bennett line to 6-3 Corsi events at 5×5. A good night from the centers to my eye.

WINGERS, LAST NIGHT

oilers f nov 30

  • Hall—Purcell hooked up on the third goal and had five and six shots on goal, respectively. It is hard to fault this line, they cashed once and could have had another. The power play issues are clearly team driven, so my grade is positive (save for an ill-advised Hall hit attempt on the PP that contributed to the PK goal by CGY—a devastating moment that involved a lot of culprits).
  • Pouliot—Eberle had a splendid night, hard to believe this trio were the same bunch who played so poorly in Vancouver. If they can keep that momentum up, Edmonton will win some games in this next stretch because two scoring lines—and it has been awhile.
  • Hendricks—Korpikoski had an effective night by the numbers, I am still mad about the bobbled pass by Hendricks but that is a single event and this is a substantial veteran. Hendricks does seem to have some issues at the blue lately, probably just a blip on the radar and he will settle down.
  • Gazdic—Pakarinen played the McLellan 4line minutes, meaning not a helluva lot. I would like to see the Finn in a bigger role, but the guys ahead of him are playing well so there is no daylight.

It’s possible to have good numbers and get noticed for negative things—single moments and events can have super importance while being exactly single moments and events. Put another way, shit happens.

REDEMPTION SONG

This is a Glen Sather move all the way. Zack Kassian brings issues to his new team (described briefly here) and the Oilers fanbase is going to be asked to adjust their thinking on this player. On the negative, he has a back story that would have had Steve Tambellini puking into a bucket dawn to dusk. There is also the Sam Gagner stick-swinging assault to deal with and Kassian’s poor display of sportsmanship that followed it.

Once beyond that mess, we have a somewhat unique hockey player. He is 6.03, 214, can win battles along the wall and in front of the net, and is a world class agitator. He can fight, and has real skill (12.86 even-strength goals per 82GP in the NHL) and is the definition of a power forward. Since Edmonton doesn’t have one, Kassian goes to the top of the table.

Adding Kassian brings competition to the RW position and it is my belief we could see him on a skill line as soon as he is ready (Kassian hasn’t played since last season) in Bakersfield. Will he ever play for the Oilers? Yes. Will he have success? There is a very good chance. Will he conquer his demons? One always hopes for it. Can we cheer for him? Let me get back to you.

SAIL ON, SPRUCE GROVE SAINT

He came to us in times of trouble and for a time stilled the waters. Playing goal for Team Chaos is a giant task and Mr. Scrivens could not sustain the confidence and performance, becoming another in a long line of goaltenders crushed under the incredible weight of playing Oilers goal.

Year two of his deal featured the humiliation of being sent to the minors and toiling in a lesser league. I didn’t hear one complaint from him and he delivered solid netminding once he got established (.957, .921 and .923 last three Condors outings).

BEN

scrivens11

You remain a unique personality in the game of hockey, and we will follow your career in Montreal. There is quite a collection of former Oilers there, suspect one day you will be able to laugh about your experiences in Edmonton. I hope you earn an NHL contract for next season and build your career back to previous levels. Don’t become one in a long line of players who lost their NHL careers because playing for the Oilers sewered value. Seize the day, Ben Scrivens. Grab that rope and start climbing. Sail on, Ben Scrivens. All the best.

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Jethro Tull

Sail on, Gentle Ben.

Going full bear rug, then flopping around like a big bull walrus trying to get lucky will never over-shadow that glorious night against SJ

You have an Oilers, nay, and NHL record. Against some goalies that were truly great. That counts for something.

I shall be cheering for you.

Bon Chance.

Seismic Source

I love the idea of this trade and I believe in second chances. Good Luck Kassian. You have a golden opportunity and I hope you realize it.

Pajamah

A saint for a demon. Maybe what the team needs right now. Seriously doubt he moves the needle much, but again, were good at hope.

Now only if there were a Spitfire defenseman available, currently on a team with a glut of defensemen that could not only help defensively, but maybe cash a few shots on the PP.

Ben

Cheering big for BS. Was proud to have such a caring and progressive voice on the team.

Watching the game last night, I was struck (yet again) by how bad this defense has been, and for how long. Thinking about Jeff Petry makes me want to puke. Would accept a move of anything but 97,29, 4 to improve D, but suspect Chiarelli may have to sacrifice a virgin goat at Sheldon Souray’s feet before this group improves much.

flyfish1168

From the previous thread i wrote.

I like the trade. Big last chance texaco. Has potential that he my finally fulfill. Heavy game with top 6 potential. Knows Taylor well. Hopefully he gets it and we benefit from this.

He reminds me of Ben Eager but hopefully with more upside. Some one that can be an A$$hole in the top 9 is good. Hopefully he likes to seek revenge on the nucks and phlegms

D'oh-ilers

Defensively, he’s a nightmare, but in the offensive zone he can out muscle guys on the wall, and has underrated playmaking ability. If he’s committed and serious, this could be a steal in the long run.

Aron_S

Last night’s game had me seething in anger, which I haven’t done in years because I’ve been so numbed to the frustration of following the Oilers. Hope, as you mentioned, is a dangerous thing, but for those like me, it’s volatile because I was just as mad at myself for getting sucked in to the hope of playoffs as I was at the Oilers for blowing a very winnable game on the second of back to backs. That 3-2 goal looked like an absolute back breaker. Man, that was embarassing and one that I’ll hear about from my Calgary in-laws for the next year.

Glad to see Scrivens getting another chance in a different city and to see good asset management by Chia. I despise Kassian for the Gagner incident and am sad that the stick to the face essentially ended Samwise’s time as an Oiler. Considering Purcell’s past numbers playing with skill and his current season with Hall, it looks to have been one of MacT’s savvy moves though.

Sail on, Scrivs.

jp

Wow. Kassian happened.

Who knows how this will work out, but there’s a chance for this to be a real big win for the Oilers.

Seismic Source

Is this the end of Gazdic as an Nhl’er?

Soup Fascist

I think it is a very low risk / potentially decent reward move.

A rehabilitated Kassian is a substantially better hockey player than the much beloved Luke Gazdic.

I do know Benning could not move Kassian fast enough and he did nothing to help himself in Montreal. Honestly I think it is a longshot Kassian gets his crap together enough to be an effective NHLer, but it is a calculated risk with limited downside. Scrivens was done in Edmonton and Kassian is an RFA in the summer.

I would be interested to know if Chia asked Hall for his opinion. Puts Hall in an interesting position where he is likely effecting his past teammate or current roommate. Not sure I see a scenario where both guys are on the same roster.

KSC10032

I’m nostalgic/sentimental enough to at least want to think that there is also an element of doing a favour for a good soldier in this deal. AS LT mentions, he went to Bakersfield without a fuss and was a pro throughout his time here.

Past grudges @ the Gagner injury aside, this is a speculative deal involving two expiring contracts. Kassian is also a pending RFA (IIRC) so the degree of risk for the Oilers is basically nil.

flyfish1168

Not sure if anyone is watching the Sweden vs USA world junior game. But Oiler draft Lagesson is a real agitator out there. In Mathews ear and running him from behind. We need more of these type.

Bar_Qu

Seismic Source:
Is this the end of Gazdic as an Nhl’er?

I’ve been impressed with Gazdic this year. He has reinvented himself as a utility 4th liner. I think he is good as a 13th forward. I doubt he sits for Kassian. More likely Klink, Pakarinen or Khaira go to make room.

LT, thanks for continuing to see the positives on this team. The twitters last night were unreadable, there were so many moaning Oilers fans on there – and that was as they were leading. Schultz had a bad night, but the over the top commentary makes it very hard to enjoy a backchannel during the game. It was nice to come on and read your account.

Ca$h-McMoney!

I like this trade so much.

Kassian is a lottery ticket, kinda like Semin though for different reasons. Scrivens was never getting back on the Oilers NHL roster so giving him up costs quite literally nothing.

I don’t buy lottery tickets but I’ll take a free one any day of the weak.

kinger_OIL

– Alex anthopolus talked about how last year something clicked with their team decision making. They went from “good on paper” trades to signing guys that would be good for the team and fit in.

– I don’t think the analysis on paper jives with the reality and dynamics of a kassian on the oil.

– sather would trade for the one good year of a Derek Sanderson when he went to the Rangers

– kassian doesn’t fit on a team lacking leadership and his history with this team and his personal foibles

– this is fine trade in that you are trading a guy buried in minors for a guy with a nice piece of paper but the reality of professional sport dynamics suggest strongly that that’s all this will amount to

– trust scrivens will recover and good luck.

Hall has matured now and is potential captain material. This is one of his biggest challenges yet when they recall Kassian eventually. I believe in Hall so I hope he buries the hatchet and hands out the olive branch in the names of leadership and winning.

Kassian, for his part, must know this is his last chance. I hope he seizes his chance.

Chiarelli, I hope you consulted with Hall before this move and at least made a fully informed decision before you did this. If you just wanted to do Scrivens a solid, trading him for a 2017 7th would have worked. If this is the guy you wanted, then godspeed.

Kmart99

Kassian seems like a world-class DB. Hopefully he can help.

My wonder is regarding the D. What is PC’s plan?

At this point the team would benefit from playing frikkin Drai on D. OK that’s crazy, but the point is that the top of the D core is so awful and in CGY they have 3 guys better than every one of our dmen.

Bar_Qu

As far as Scrivens goes, I’m a fan. I sure hope he brings great play to his new town along with his tireless service and big heart. Good on you lad.

blainer

This move really does nothing. he won’t be up to NHL speed for weeks.

Don’t know what the oilers see that the habs didn’t.

If he makes this team then Gazdic will be gone so there is that.

Doesn’t really matter much if the coaching continues to play Shultz.

Seismic Source

Bar_Qu,

I’ve seen him contribute to a cycle and make a few passes this year. I agree he’s much better. I still don’t think he’s an NHL player though. With skill coaches all the rage, I wish he’d hire Big George so he could learn how to do his “cross the front of the net with the puck on a one handed outreached stick in slow motion” play he was so good at.

rope-a-dope

I absolutely hated Kassian for his antics involving Gagner, but if he gets his act together, he can really help this team so I hope he does. Does anybody know or recall if he and Hall played on the same line back in Windsor? Not that that probably means that much now but wondering if there’s any prior chemistry.

Jimmy

I haven’t seen any update on our injured players in quite some time…any news on Klef, Davidson, Yak etc?

theres oil in virginia

I don’t think the Kassian acquisition relates much to Gazdic. Gazdic is a 12th forward (who brings physicality and ability to drop the gloves), period, and has been adequate at that role. Kassian was acquired to play higher up the batting order.

kinger_OIL

– who wants to bet that scrivens starts 50+ games in the nhl and kassian less than 15 rest of career

– that doesn’t make this a bad trade I’m just saying.

Kmart99

Klefbom and Davidson are actually increasing their values by not playing. We knew they were important, but it’s been a familiar nightmare without them.

Injuries are an excuse. They just are. Is there a playoff team in the league over the past 10 years that has had this many impact players mia?

#1 RW gone for beginning of season.
#1A Centre/Generational talent gone for 3 months
#1D gone for who knows how long
#3D gone for who knows how long
#2 RW gone for a month or more
#2 LW missed a bunch of games

Hard to overcome that many crucial injuries.

Samson Loveblast,

There is prior chemistry, but the wrong kind.

Unwashed Oilfan

Fuck those ‘mericans, fuck ’em all!! Lagesson!!!

Gret99zky

If Kassian can force Bennett, Monahan, or Hamilton off their games and get into their heads a little so the Oilers can take advantage of their skill, then this trade works just fine.

There is no one on the roster who can do that currently. Bennett (19 years old) ran all over our guys last night and earned a star for the effort.

So tired of being un-team-tuff.

Bar_Qu

blainer,

kinger_OIL,

I think this was as much about moving Scrivens on as getting anything back. Laurikainen has been recalled from Finland where he was playing because Scrivens was taking up his space in the AHL. Kassian, I agree, will need to show a lot in the A before he comes up. He’s just something that was necessary to take back to make the trade feasible (Mtl couldn’t keep all that salary without sending some the other way – I know they kept a chunk of Kassian’s).

Seismic Source,

I agree he is not a great player, but he is a player type that McClellan has kept on his teams forever. If that is the player type needed, then Gazdic is doing a great job of that role. I’d prefer a bunch of young run-and-gun types on the 4th (Slep, Chase, Lander for ex.) but McClellan doesn’t. So, if this is what the 4th looks like, better Gazdic on it than a Bryan McGrattan.

blainer

Kmart99:
Klefbom and Davidson are actually increasing their values by not playing.We knew they were important, but it’s been a familiar nightmare without them.

Injuries are an excuse.They just are.Is there a playoff team in the league over the past 10 years that has had this many impact players mia?

#1 RW gone for beginning of season.
#1A Centre/Generational talent gone for 3 months
#1D gone for who knows how long
#3D gone for who knows how long
#2 RW gone for a month or more
#2 LW missed a bunch of games

Hard to overcome that many crucial injuries.

There are NO teams that could overcome those injuries. Just look at the Flames record since Brodie alone has returned.

Absolutely agree that injuries are an excuse. It is just gross that it continues to happen to this team for years. It seems we can never get healthy.

I can’t wait for the new rink to open as I really think the current one is cursed !

Bar_Qu

NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”:
Samson Loveblast,

There is prior chemistry, but the wrong kind.

Of the sodium and chlorine version. Or maybe cesium and water?

Water Fire

I’m sure Hall is a big enough person to not get too fussed. It’s not like Kassian is coming in all puffed up, more tail between his legs.

I am also sure Hall would appreciate what Kassian brings if he can get it together. A hockey player that can help where help is needed.

The gords have smiled on Zach. To go from where he is to a chance at being on a team with this much potential and possibly even playing with CMD, I hope he sees what this is and doesn’t look back.

I think Gazdic is an neat fellow, but if Kassian pushes him to the AHL that’s fine with me. Then they can ice 4 lines worthy of ice time. Luke is far from helpful in the hockey department at this level.

Lucic next on Chia’s list I’m sure.

Gret99zky

Also, at least we know the trade machine thingy works.

böök¡je

Awesome, a trade has finally been made to address the severe shortcomings this team has on defence! We can all rest easy now.

Adam Wu

Bar_Qu: Of the sodium and chlorine version. Or maybe cesium and water?

Sodium and chlorine. The initial reaction is nightmarish. The final product essential for healthy living.

Here’s hoping!

Centre of attention

I think the moment Kassian jumps in and helps out in a post-whistle scrum everything about sam might be forgotten. Kassian for sure is coming here looking for a second chance and there will be some apologies made.

I’m personally hoping for the best.

Adam Wu

blainer: There are NO teams that could overcome those injuries. Just look at the Flames record since Brodie alone has returned.

Absolutely agree that injuries are an excuse. It is just gross that it continues to happen to this team for years. It seems we can never get healthy.

I can’t wait for the new rink to open as I really think the current one is cursed !

The closest I can recall for a playoff team is that year when both Crosby and Malkin and several others missed significant time for Pittsburgh. If I recall, they got healthy just in time for playoffs, squeaked in, and made a nice run.

But if they had been healthy, they would have been President’s Cup contenders that year.

Dicky94

Gret99zky,

I agree. I remember back in the day (when I was a Jets fan) the Jets were a young fast team getting pushed around night after night. They made a trade for Tie Domi and Kris King. Those two guys helped the Jets make the playoffs that year because it created space for their skill guys like Selanne, Zhamnov and Tkachuk. It’s a good trade. We should all be cheering for Kassian. He needs our support as well to help him through this. Go Oilers!!!!!!

Ca$h-McMoney!

Kassian to me fits the three scoring lines mold. Each line has two legit scoring lines player and an effective but much cheaper “third wheel”. We have 1 right now in Pouliot, but he’s expensive (but also worth it).

This is competition for Khaira, Purcell, Iiro, Korps, etc. This isn’t a fourth liner acquisition.

Woodguy

PACIFIC DIVISION STANDINGS VIA GAMES (TIES BROKEN WITH ROW)
NOTE: 3RD PLACE WILL ALWAYS = 0

LAK +8
ARI 0
SJS 0
—————-
CAL -1
VAN -2
ANA -4
EDM -6

Slip sliding away…….

Also,

BOTTOM 5 STANDINGS (AND TIES) IN NHL VIA GAMES (TIES BROKEN WITH ROW)
NOTE: 30TH PLACE WILL ALWAYS = 0

30 – CBJ 0
29 – EDM +5
28 – ANA +7
27 – TOR +8
26 – BUF +8
25 – CAR +8
25 – WIN +8

Kmart99

Kassian WOWY is underwhelming.
CF60 not great
GF60 is OK
The rest is flat.

Woodguy

Ca$h-McMoney!:
Kassian to me fits the three scoring lines mold.Each line has two legit scoring lines player and an effective but much cheaper “third wheel”.We have 1 right now in Pouliot, but he’s expensive (but also worth it).

This is competition for Khaira, Purcell, Iiro, Korps, etc.This isn’t a fourth liner acquisition.

If Kassian sticks in the NHL he should push Gazdic off the roster and one of the above mentioned take his place on the 4th line.

A functional 4th line is not a bad thing.

Good teams have that. (See: LAK, CHI, NYR, TBY etc)

square_wheels

Finn’s vs Russia at WJC…..loving the home team, size and skill on full display.

kinger_OIL

– I aready answered my question partly as I type, but thought I’d throw it out there: the reason they do this “trade” of 2 players who went through waiver wires already, is becasue of whatever financials went both ways. Scrivens there was 24% retained and free agent end of year: how long/how much is Kassian on the return, assuming he stays in minors?

Chris

Gret99zky:
If Kassian can force Bennett, Monahan, or Hamilton off their games and get into their heads a little so the Oilers can take advantage of their skill, then this trade works just fine.

There is no one on the roster who can do that currently.Bennett (19 years old) ran all over our guys last night and earned a star for the effort.

So tired of being un-team-tuff.

Quoted for emphasis. This…exactly!

Woodguy

Kmart99:
Kassian WOWY is underwhelming.
CF60 not great
GF60 is OK
The rest is flat.

I view his WOWY the opposite actually.

No particular players really zoomed his numbers much outside of Daniel Sedin who will zoom anyone.

His RelCor was slightly negative on a team with the Sedins, that’s ok.

Kmart99

I predicted 2-2-1 for this 5 game stretch. So far none of those numbers are higher than my prediction! AMIRITE?! :):):):)

Woodguy

Oiler Forwards 5v5 pts/60 (min 40gp) last two years with Kassian inserted via his rates with Vancouver

13/14
TAYLORHALL 2.91
JORDANEBERLE 2.03
DAVIDPERRON 1.96
*ZACK KASSIAN 1.89
MARKARCOBELLO 1.82
RYANNUGENT-HOPKINS 1.56
SAMGAGNER 1.47
NAILYAKUPOV 1.43
RYANSMYTH 1.19
BOYDGORDON 0.93
RYANJONES 0.82
JESSEJOENSUU 0.65
LUKEGAZDIC 0.62
MATTHENDRICKS 0.47

14/15
TAYLORHALL 2.06
BENOITPOULIOT 2.04
RYANNUGENT-HOPKINS 2.01
JORDANEBERLE 1.97
*ZACK KASSIAN 1.79
DEREKROY 1.57
NAILYAKUPOV 1.23
EDWARDPURCELL 1.2
MATTHENDRICKS 1.11
MATTFRASER 1.03
BOYDGORDON 0.85
ROBKLINKHAMMER 0.7
LUKEGAZDIC 0.61

Kmart99

Woodguy: I view his WOWY the opposite actually.

No particular players really zoomed his numbers much outside of Daniel Sedin who will zoom anyone.

His RelCor was slightly negative on a team with the Sedins, that’s ok.

Opposite of flat? Or opposite of underwhelming?

So round and overwhelming! 🙂