YOU DON’T PULL NO PUNCHES, BUT YOU DON’T PUSH THE RIVER

It would have been so much easier to play a solid game, grab a point, and lose in overtime. Alas, it was not to be. Edmonton gave up some weird goals, received uneven efforts, and made the coach mad. Yeesh! Enjoy your va-ca!

OY, 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: 7-6-1
  • Oilers in January 2015: 5-7-1
  • Oilers in January 2016: 4-5-2
  • Oilers after 50 in 2014-15: 13-28-9, 35 points (-51 GD)
  • Oilers after 50 in 2015-16: 19-26-5, 43 points (-27 GD)

All that effort and the record isn’t much better at all. They lost a lot of ground on that road trip, January remains somewhat salvageable but two more W’s would have been grand.

  • Todd McLellan: “We have to get deeper in a lot of areas of our game. Tonight was a prime example. As soon as we got one line going and they target (Benoit) Pouliot and (Jordan) Eberle and Nail Yakupov immediately, they score early. Then we need to juggle our lines around again. We need to get deeper as an organization. We need to upgrade in a lot of different areas, whether it is strength, size, but also skill level, quarterback on the power play and things like that. We know that, but I’ve enjoyed my time here so far. I know we’re going to get better. I know we are better right now, and I know we’re going to get better.” Source

Todd McLellan is 50 games into his Oilers coaching career, and it sounds like he is still a game rooster. I wonder if he ever thinks of a safer career, like juggling lit sticks of dynamite. I don’t know what they are paying him, but—this season—it isn’t worth it.

DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT

oilers blue nov 30

  • Eric Gryba—Griffin Reinhart seemed an unlikely pairing but they were extremely effective last night. Now, GR caught the 9-0 Corsi bus with the Leon line, but you can’t explain away the numbers (or the visual). Both men looked good, and I think Gryba is earning another contract (if they can offload Fayne—who I would keep). Reinhart probably goes back to Bakersfield on Monday, maybe he has company on the plane.
  • Sekera—Fayne are now over 50 percent Corsi for 5×5 for the season and it remains a mystery to me why they don’t play more. This is an effective tandem, and yet Fayne plays three fewer minutes at evens than Justin Schultz last night. I really like Todd McLellan as a coach, but whatever he is chasing here is a mirage.
  • Nurse—Schultz was easily the least effective pairing while also playing the most minutes. Once in awhile I trot out the old ‘one year’s experience five times’ line and in the case of Schultz the giant hat fits. I think it is fair to question placing Nurse with him, not a lot of learning can be done from the wrong end of an open fire hose. I would like to see Nurse take some time off over the break, suspect he will get some sorties in the AHL. As I have mentioned a few times now, a night in the gondola would probably help, and a new partner is vital.

CENTERS, LAST NIGHT

oil c nov 30

  • Leon Draisaitl scored a goal, was a going concern and certainly gives us hope for the second half and next year. Fantastic game when he was on the ice, each man on his line had a high-danger scoring chance and the trio totaled 10 individual shot attempts at 5×5. Impressive.
  • Mark Letestu and his line had a couple of reasonable looks but couldn’t cash. It is interesting to see the 5×5 TOI and how it was shared last night—Matt Hendricks played in the middle too—and I do think we see a prominent role for Letestu with the Nuge down.
  • Benoit Pouliot joined Leon with one high-danger scoring chance, but he was 0-4 in the dot and chaos spent the night with the 2line. These are difficult days for the trio, Edmonton is putting this gentleman in an impossible situation and robbing another line of an effective LW. When BP moved to portside, the world made sense.
  • Anton Lander ended up spending some time between Pouliot and Eberle, as McLellan attempted to find a line that rhymed. They did not (2-6 at 5×5 Corsi), but the Swede did saw off with Hendricks and Korpikoski (4-4).

WINGERS, LAST NIGHT

oilers f nov 30

  • Hall—Purcell make beautiful music with Leon, I am going to miss the man from St. John’s when they deal him. The trio had Josi-Weber on their ass and smoked them, and it rained chances (GR had two slot shots) when the trio was on the ice. Both wingers (and the center) had one individual high-danger scoring chance (this is from War-on-Ice save TOI via NHL.com).
  • Hendricks—Yakupov—Korpikoski were together and apart as the evening progressed, Korpikoski got the IDHDSC and Yak had three shots blocked and was not effective overall (the 2line was poorly compiled). Yakupov is one of two skill wingers who is really getting the short end right now because of the center situation, as with Eberle I don’t think major criticism is warranted at this time.
  • Kassian—Pakarinen were solid to my eye, although the good chances eluded them (one individual high-danger scoring chance for Kassian). Their night was reflected by a partial breakaway for Kassian, who was flagging when he got the puck, got caught, and the puck trailed away. No chance, no penalty. I like this duo.
  • Jordan Eberle will get some criticism today, but I look at his centers (2-0 with Leon, 0-2 with Letestu, 5-9 with Pouliot, 1-0 with Hendricks, 2-6 with Lander) and believe the Oilers could probably have predicted this result based on the pivot available.

REINHART

In what can only be described as a giant ‘fuck you’ to his critics, Griffin Reinhart had a helluva game, by eye and by math. This has been a trying season for the youngster, but the game he played looked calm, effective and with pace. He jumped into the play late for two great chances (didn’t cash) and picked up his first assist as an Oiler on the Leon goal.

Where does he go from here? Interesting question. I always envisioned GR as third-pairing partner for Brandon Davidson next season, and we should NOT read anything into one game. That said, Eric Gryba and Reinhart offer an interesting possible pairing for next season. Lots of time to discuss, and they still need a power-play shooter, but what about this?

  • Klefbom—Sekera
  • Nurse—Vatanen
  • Reinhart—Davidson
  • Gryba

I think that might work. Edmonton would need to trade Mark Fayne, walk Justin Schultz, LTIR Andrew Ference. Possible? Sure. Probable? Don’t know. The Ducks have been clearing away contracts and roster spots of late, wonder if they have a big ticket acquisition in mind? I thought Steven Stamkos might be the target, but perhaps Jordan Eberle? Vatanen is an interesting option. We wait.

WHY CAN’T THE OILERS DEFEND?

Plenty of heat on Darnell Nurse these days, and as mentioned above I think he is playing too much and should spend a game or two watching. Even when he is the right place, the game is going too fast at this point and he is unable to catch up. In MLB, when a hitter is in a slump, they sometimes say he has a hitch in his giddyup, and that fits what I am seeing.

The truth, though, is this, and is applies to all of the Oilers at this time.

  • Darryl Sutter: “The big thing in today’s game is you have to be able forecheck and backcheck, and you have to have the puck. You can’t give the puck up. We don’t play in our zone, so there’s not much defending.  I’ve coached in three decades now and this stuff where they said Marian had to play in Jacques’s system is a bunch of bull-crap. The game’s changed. They think there’s defending in today’s game. Nah, it’s how much you have the puck. Teams that play around in their own zone think they’re defending but they’re generally getting scored on or taking face-offs and they need a goalie to stand on his head if that’s the way they play.”

The Edmonton Oilers don’t take care of the puck and they haven’t done it for years. Errant passes, chips to the blue line that don’t get out, other teams cycle and wheel until the defensemen are dizzy and the goalies are Hamilton Bulldogs.

MCLELLAN AND CHIARELLI

One of the things that has delayed progress this season (imo) is the new management group’s curious evaluation of the defense. Mark Fayne spent time in the minors, Nurse—Schultz was the top pairing last night—these are unforced errors and contribute to losing.

The fan is generally regarded as an onlooker, an interested but unqualified observer of his favorite team. We tend to blame Scott Howson and Craig MacTavish for Nikita Nikitin and Andrew Ference, but this new management group has devoted an enormous number of at-bats to defensemen who do not fit that Sutter quote above. Here is the TOI per-game total for Edmonton’s defensemen this season, and the problem—as we the fans saw it—to begin the season:

  • Oscar Klefbom 21:53—too young for the role given
  • Andrej Sekera 21:28—no criticism from fans beyond wishing he could pair with Petry
  • Darnell Nurse 21:04—too young for the role given
  • Justin Schultz 20:15—one year’s experience (now) four times
  • Brandon Davidson 17:55—Depth defender (all but David Staples missed on this one)
  • Eric Gryba 17:44—too slow for the Western Conference
  • Mark Fayne 16:34—fans I know were fine with him
  • Griffin Reinhart 16:21—inexperienced, and his skills are duplicated multiple times
  • Nikita Nikitin 14:46—his wheels won’t turn
  • Brad Hunt 14:10—chaos incorporated
  • Andrew Ference 13:03—erosion is a bitch

I think the fans would have been a better group of advisers than previous management, and I do think fans should worry about this summer. The Chiarelli—McLellan tandem has been slow to recognize their best veterans, and as of last night stubbornly played Nurse—Schultz over Sekera—Fayne.

Which begs two questions:

  1. What exactly are Chiarelli and McLellan searching for here?
  2. How does that search address the words of Sutter above?

At this point, I am prepared to be genuinely concerned.

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134 Responses to "YOU DON’T PULL NO PUNCHES, BUT YOU DON’T PUSH THE RIVER"

  1. sliderule says:

    Well I guess we can throw the reports we got on how Griff was not dominating in AHL were they belong.
    File 13.

  2. Woogie63 says:

    Not enough cycle time in the offensive zone, too much cycle time in our zone

  3. blainer says:

    From the last thread.

    I didn’t notice Griff’s skating at all last night. That is a good sign as to me slower skaters on D really stand out at the NHL level.

    Griff and Nurse should probably switch place for twenty games and let Darnell get some much needed development. The season is done anyway.

  4. blainer says:

    sliderule:
    Well I guess we can throw the reports we got on how Griff was not dominating in AHL were they belong.
    File 13.

    Mixed in with the same file on Drai !

  5. Магия 10 says:

    Would like to see 8 spend the break in the A and come up for a cup afterwatds. Would like to see 25 in the A next weekend. Rest then rebuild.

  6. Lowetide says:

    blainer:
    From the last thread.

    I didn’t notice Griff’s skating at all last night.That is a good sign as to me slower skaters on D really stand out at the NHL level.

    Griff and Nurse should probably switch place for twenty games and let Darnell get some much needed development. The season is done anyway.

    Reinhart’s skating issues were (from what I can tell) promoted by those who hadn’t seen much of him.

  7. frjohnk says:

    REINHART

    “In what can only be described as a giant ‘fuck you’ to his critics”

    Yup.

  8. dadoug12 says:

    frjohnk:
    REINHART

    “In what can only be described as a giant ‘fuck you’ to his critics”

    Yup.

    its only one game, but it was a good start for him.

  9. Ryan says:

    “We have to get deeper in a lot of areas of our game. Tonight was a prime example. As soon as we got one line going and they target (Benoit) Pouliot and (Jordan) Eberle and Nail Yakupov immediately, they score early. Then we need to juggle our lines around again. We need to get deeper as an organization. We need to upgrade in a lot of different areas, whether it is strength, size, but also skill level, quarterback on the power play and things like that. We know that, but I’ve enjoyed my time here so far. I know we’re going to get better. I know we are better right now, and I know we’re going to get better.”

    Bringing a knife to a gun fight?

    Welcome to the Edmonton Oilers coach Mclellan.

    Seriously, I do like Mclellan and feel bad for him.

    I can’t imagine what it’s like watching your team get its teeth kicked in on a nightly basis… As a coach…

  10. Bank Shot says:

    Klefbom—Sekera
    Nurse—Vatanen
    Reinhart—Davidson
    Gryba

    That as the 2016-2017 Oilers starting defence makes my eyes bleed.

    The OIlers need to add two bonafide top four defencemen and one of those needs to be a legitimate top pairing guy.

    The biggest difference between this year and last year seems to be goaltending. If the Oilers had gotten .888% this year they’d be -50 right now same as last year.

    If the Oilers are to get any traction, they need serious upgrades on their blueline. Tuning the carburetor isn’t going to cut it. The engine needs a complete overhaul.

  11. Psyche says:

    Bakersfield has 3 games during the Oilers break. Good opportunity to send Nurse down. If Davidson or Klefbom return to the lineup before Feb 2nd then leave Nurse in the AHL for 2-3 more weeks of work.

  12. oilspillcali says:

    Hey LT do you really think Vatanen is more available than Shattenkirk? I mean He (Vatanen) is in the same division, in direct conflict with us for points and also seems to be a little undersized, i dont think the ducks would trade him to us unless they fleece us in everyway. Shattenkirk on the other hand seems like a better choice to me especially since he should only cost an Eberle+ maybe Pick or prospect. Even if the Blues are going after Drouin i think Armstrong knows that Guranteed goals with Eberle is a lot smarter than potential goals with Drouin

  13. blainer says:

    LT.
    I am very pleased you commented on the management and coaching. This group comes from a winning organizations. Their decisions on D are perplexing to say the least. Is MacT still in charge ?

    Dare I say this without opening a can of worms but Veradad might have been on to something here.

    The people on this blog are very smart fans whether they played the game or not.. 99% of us saw that Gags POS Ryan Whitny and others were all playing on this team way too long before management finally ditched them.

    Yet here we are again playing Shultz.. who is an AHL player at best.. still leading the team in ice time. WHAT is going on ? Is this coming from Katz ? Jeebus it has to be the only explanation. If it’s not how can he let this go on. Does he not care about the team and it’s fans.

  14. dustrock says:

    LT we can’t talk about an evaluation season and then be surprised when they are playing the heck out of Schultz and Nurse. They need to see how far away Nurse is and if they can salvage Schultz. They’ve invested a lot in Schultz.

    I’m also halfway convinced McLellan is doing this so it’s patently obvious how flawed the roster is.

  15. Магия 10 says:

    Lost in the CF shine but 8 was your shot leader last night. That pair did benefit from time with 4 and 29 but in an interesting way. Reinhart doubled Hall. Gryba doubled Drai.Those forwards used the trailing D well in the O zone.

  16. frjohnk says:

    Bank Shot: Klefbom—Sekera
    Nurse—Vatanen
    Reinhart—Davidson
    Gryba
    That as the 2016-2017 Oilers starting defence makes my eyes bleed.
    The OIlers need to add two bonafide top four defencemen and one of those needs to be a legitimate top pairing guy.

    Can Nurse make the jump into a top 4 D man by next year?

    Can Klefbom make the jump into a top pairing D man next year?

    If yes to both, then that D is not as bad as you think. Sekara and Vatanen are pretty good top 4 options. I think Reinhart and Davidson as the 3rd pairing would probably be the best 3rd pairing we have had in ages.

    If no to both, then I think a bold move is in order.

  17. kinger_OIL says:

    – I too am concerned: you now have Nurse Griff Davidson (NGD) that are “emerging”. You can’t go into next year with half your D that have played less than 82 games total. Same as it ever was

    – Klef, while great, you can’t be 100% sold becasue of games missed (fluke or not), and if he was past game 200 as a D, you could pencil him in fine. I don’t believe Klef has played a whole season without incident ever, looking up his GP stats

    – On a good team, maybe one of NGD is playing big minutes

    – Sans Sekera, only Fayne is a proper NHL D, and he can’t crack this lineup. Concerned for sure

  18. Ryan says:

    Bank Shot:
    Klefbom—Sekera
    Nurse—Vatanen
    Reinhart—Davidson
    Gryba

    That as the 2016-2017 Oilers starting defence makes my eyes bleed.

    The OIlers need to add two bonafide top four defencemen and one of those needs to be a legitimate top pairing guy.

    The biggest difference between this year and last year seems to be goaltending. If the Oilers had gotten .888% this year they’d be -50 right now same as last year.

    If the Oilers are to get any traction, they need serious upgrades on their blueline.Tuning the carburetor isn’t going to cut it. The engine needs a complete overhaul.

    I agree. That blue is still not good enough.

    Klefbomb – Sekera is a huge concern as a top pairing.

    Sekera could potentially play on an effective top pairing–if he’s on the left side and his partner is significantly better than him.

    I also don’t love having five left shot dmen either.

    Sekera, Davidson, Klefbomb, Nurse, Reinhart..

    I like all of these players, but that’s still five left shot dmen, four of whom are still very inexperienced and one who shouldn’t normally see the top pairing without significant help.

    I can’t see how this will fit together without moving at least one of those five.

  19. kinger_OIL says:

    frjohnk: Can Nurse make the jump into a top 4 D man by next year?

    Can Klefbom make the jump into a top pairing D man next year?

    If yes to both, then that D is not as bad as you think. Sekara and Vatanen are pretty good top 4 options.I think Reinhart and Davidson as the 3rd pairing would probably be the best 3rd pairing we have had in ages.

    If no to both, then I think a bold move is in order.

    – Yeah FR: that’s the problem: every year, our management “challenges” its D and “hopes” they will jump leaps and bounds. Act as if they won’t go supernova, build a team assuming so, and get the upside if they actually do improve, instead of being behind the 8-ball when they don’t.

    – No more hope and praying when getting roster ready for next year….

  20. Bruce McCurdy says:

    kinger_OIL:
    – I too am concerned: you now have Nurse Griff Davidson (NDG) that are “emerging”. You can’t go into next year with half your D that have played less than 82 games total.Same as it ever was.

    – On a good team, maybe one of NGD is playing big minutes

    i’m seeing only one of them listed in the top four. Not sure it’s the right one, that said all three players should be better next year than they are now.

    Your (unintentional?) NDG acronym made me laugh, but you have to admit that it’s a step up from NFG (Nikitin-Ference-Gryba).

    That said, I do have time for Gryba in a limited role. He’s a long way from Edmonton’s biggest issue on the blue.

  21. JOFA says:

    Lowetide,

    I respectfully disagree LT. I truly believe the player has “skating issues” and I believe there are people within the organization that would agree. Mr. Pelletier has his work cut out for him.

    Not sure I believe you’re from St. Albert, haven’t seen you dressed to the nines shopping at Superstore;)

    Love the blog. Keep’em coming:)

  22. Dave says:

    I don’t want to see nurse or griff in the top 4 next year. whether we are adding 1 -2 top 4 to me depends on our confidence in Davidson. Of course adding 2 puts us in the best place. I don’t know what to say about deployment. But I think it was hard for management to improve the D significantly this year with contracts in place and without gambling with our F core.

  23. JohnnyOilfan says:

    LT, you think that price to get Vatanen would be Eberle? Wouldn’t Eberle’s 6 mil cap hit be an issue with the ducks being a cap budget team? Dunno? I’m hoping with Teddy’s solid play this year, perhaps you can package him with a couple picks to get Vatanen. And save Eberle perhaps for another transaction like Hamonic in the summer if needed. Or use 2016 1st rounder to get Hamonic and keep Eberle. And for the record, I like Eberle as player, one of my fav oilers, but he’s one of the passengers last night. I think he’s really looking forward to getting a chance to play with Mcdavid

  24. flyfish1168 says:

    JMHO. I believe we really miss the Nuge last evening. People always says Yak needs to play with a good centerman. Well I truly believe Jordan does also. He doesn’t drive the play but he can compliment the play very well in the offensive zone with in tight plays, where Yak needs to find the quite zone to set up. Also please stop trying Yak on the portside, he sucks over there. JMHO

    I posted on Oilernation last evening that we missed the Nuge. I was quite surprised I barely got a 50% rating on this. Thought that was interesting.

  25. Магия 10 says:

    JOFA:
    Lowetide,

    I respectfully disagree LT. I truly believe the player has “skating issues” and I believe there are people within the organization that would agree. Mr. Pelletier has his work cut out for him.

    Not sure I believe you’re from St. Albert, haven’t seen you dressed to the nines shopping at Superstore;)

    Love the blog. Keep’em coming:)

    Every big developing player better have skating issues if we mean the reviews on skating are generally positive but they need to work hard on first steps. See 29 last year.

  26. blainer says:

    oilspillcali:
    Hey LT do you really think Vatanen is more available than Shattenkirk? I mean He (Vatanen) is in the same division, in direct conflict with us for points and also seems to be a little undersized, i dont think the ducks would trade him to us unless they fleece us in everyway. Shattenkirk on the other hand seems like a better choice to me especially since he should only cost an Eberle+ maybe Pick or prospect. Even if the Blues are going after Drouin i think Armstrong knows that Guranteed goals with Eberle is a lot smarter than potential goals with Drouin

    Here is the way I really hope the off season shakes out.

    We will need to move out RNH or Ebs who I absolutely adore. But we have to give to get. Would be very happy with an Ebs for Shattenkirk deal regardless of the contracts.

    Moves Ebs for Shattenkirk and sign Stamkos hopefully. Buyout Fayne for cap room. and dump Jultz. LTIR Ference.

    If a deal was there for Hamonic plus maybe strome for Nuge I would be ok with that if we signed another top player like Stamkos. But please whatever you do get it right for a change.

    Oh and draft Laine..I want him more than any player in this draft. BPA be damned..lol.

  27. GCW_69 says:

    If the Oilers were to trade Nuge and Eberle for defensemen, and then replace them with Lucic and Frans Neilsen via free agency, that would be a significant improvement over the next few years, no?

    You would only do it if you could sign those guys without having to give them NMCs, but if you could, you could buy a heck of a team.

    Hall – Leon – Purcell or other on a cheap deal

    Lucic – McDavid- Yak

    ?? – Neilsen – Kassian

    Hendricks – Letestu – Kharia

    Sekera – Hamonic

    Klefbom – Vatenen

    Davidson – Reinhart – Nurse

    They would have to flush Schultz and Fayne and Ference and Korpse to make the money work, but with about $23M going out, paying Lucic, Neilsen, Hamonic and Vatenen should be doable, no?

  28. Woodguy says:

    Oiler Dmen 5v5 TOI last 5 games.

    5v5 only as every D has their special teams assignments and the coach cannot control how many PP or PK they get.

    NSH
    Darnell Nurse 18:32
    Justin Schultz 17:38
    Griffin Reinhart 17:24
    Eric Gryba 16:45
    Andrej Sekera 15:38
    Mark Fayne 14:23

    At DAL
    Andrej Sekera 21:03
    Darnell Nurse 20:08
    Mark Fayne 17:24
    Eric Gryba 17:11
    Justin Schultz 17:11
    Brandon Davidson 08:37

    At TBY
    Brandon Davidson 17:38
    Justin Schultz 16:41
    Andrej Sekera 15:47
    Darnell Nurse 15:09
    Mark Fayne 14:05
    Eric Gryba 13:46

    At FLA
    Brandon Davidson 18:32
    Justin Schultz 17:52
    Darnell Nurse 17:51
    Andrej Sekera 17:03
    Mark Fayne 16:43
    Eric Gryba 16:27

    CAL
    Andrej Sekera 22:14
    Eric Gryba 17:58
    Brandon Davidson 17:54
    Mark Fayne 17:39
    Darnell Nurse 14:50
    Justin Schultz 13:21

    Last night’s game looks like an aberration in terms of Sekera’s TOI.

    Maybe he’s banged up?

    Poor McLellan doesn’t have an option past Sekera to anchor a pair with Klef and Davidson out.

  29. Магия 10 says:

    Psyche:
    Bakersfield has 3 games during the Oilers break. Good opportunity to send Nurse down. If Davidson or Klefbom return to the lineup before Feb 2nd then leave Nurse in the AHL for 2-3 more weeks of work.

    Bruce pointed out 25 could use a break. Would not play him in the A this Tuesday.

  30. Lowetide says:

    oilspillcali:
    Hey LT do you really think Vatanen is more available than Shattenkirk? I mean He (Vatanen) is in the same division, in direct conflict with us for points and also seems to be a little undersized, i dont think the ducks would trade him to us unless they fleece us in everyway. Shattenkirk on the other hand seems like a better choice to me especially since he should only cost an Eberle+ maybe Pick or prospect. Even if the Blues are going after Drouin i think Armstrong knows that Guranteed goals with Eberle is a lot smarter than potential goals with Drouin

    Shattenkirk is a year from UFA. I would not trade for him.

  31. JOFA says:

    Магия 10: Every big developing player better have skating issues if we mean the reviews on skating are generally positive but they need to work hard on first steps. See 29 last year.

    You mean like one of our other “big developing players”? See 25 this year.

  32. Oilspill says:

    If Gryba keeps playing well his contract price will go up and will be less likely to sign if the can’t unload some others. He’s in a good position. Getting decent 3rd pairing/good PK numbers. There will be interest. His best fit? A team with good offensive skill on the backend with a need for defence. Ferance Fayne Clayton Stoner Adam McQuaid I’d think are comparible UFA.

  33. frjohnk says:

    flyfish1168: Also please stop trying Yak on the portside, he sucks over there

    McLellan is not the first coach to put him there.

    Yak has always had trouble with zone exits on the RW. But offensively he is better on the RW where he can use his shot.

    In a perfect world, Id put him on the LW in the D zone and in the RW in the O zone.

    And on the PP, he would benefit ( so would the team) if he had a skilled RH center who could feed him one timers. We don’t have that type of player and that is why his one timer is basically useless on the PP. All of our best playmakers are left handed. Our PP is set up for a RH Yak not a LH Yak.

    If only a young Yak would have picked up a baseball bat……..

  34. Water Fire says:

    Interseting that McLellan mentions needing more skill. On the Oilers. Isn’t the knock too much skill not enough sandpaper?

    I think he might mean the crappy passing, puck placement and bobbling passes. The wunderkids can sure thread the needle within 20 feet of the net but can’t put a puck deep to the corner properly. It kills flow, hockey is all about flow, especially in the O zone.

    Need more long hair?

  35. Lowetide says:

    JOFA:
    Lowetide,

    I respectfully disagree LT. I truly believe the player has “skating issues” and I believe there are people within the organization that would agree. Mr. Pelletier has his work cut out for him.

    Not sure I believe you’re from St. Albert, haven’t seen you dressed to the nines shopping at Superstore;)

    Love the blog. Keep’em coming:)

    True story. We moved to St. Albert from Edmonton (Wellington) in 1998. One Sunday morning I zip to the Safeway for hot dogs (bbq) at about 10am. I am in sales at the time, lots of St. Albert residents are my clients, and I am in my scrubs and looking homeless. 🙂

    Now, I did NOT see my client, want to make it clear. About two weeks later, I go see her on a sales call, and she says I was going to say hello to you but was with a friend and didn’t want to introduce you.

    St. Albert, ladies and gentlemen!!!!

  36. Магия 10 says:

    JOFA: You mean like one of our other “big developing players”? See 25 this year.

    Exactly. 25 was not a terrible skater last year. Now he’s terrific. Griff was never a terrible skater. That was never based on real reviews. Griff still needs to work on first steps.

  37. JOFA says:

    Lowetide: True story. We moved to St. Albert from Edmonton (Wellington) in 1998. One Sunday morning I zip to the Safeway for hot dogs (bbq) at about 10am. I am in sales at the time, lots of St. Albert residents are my clients, and I am in my scrubs and looking homeless.

    Now, I did NOT see my client, want to make it clear. About two weeks later, I go see her on a sales call, and she says I was going to say hello to you but was with a friend and didn’t want to introduce you.

    St. Albert, ladies and gentlemen!!!!

    That sounds about right;)

  38. Lowetide says:

    Магия 10: Exactly. 25 was not a terrible skater last year. Now he’s terrific. Griff was never a terrible skater. That was never based on real reviews.

    The key for me, is how strong a person’s claim is. Folks, we don’t know what we don’t know. If a poster or tweet is making statements about Reinhart and speed as fact, you have to take it with a grain of salt unless they are an expert.Here is how I handled it

    Lowetide: If I’m reading the internet correctly these days, Griffin Reinhart is a slow boat who can barely tie his shoes—while also being an NHL-ready defenseman with size and mobility. It can’t be both, the scouts on draft day liked him plenty. I think he’s a solid young defenseman with size, foot speed, the ability to pass and make a pass, protect the puck, win battles and play with an edge. I think he’s close to NHL ready. I also think Darnell Nurse is a better prospect now and into the future. https://lowetide.ca/2015/07/12/a-real-live-griffin/


    The internet has created experts for every home. Make sure you are filtering this stuff.

  39. SwedishPoster says:

    frjohnk,

    I think Yak has gotten way better with his exits from RW this season. He’s made a couple of nice plays via the boards to his centerman. Like most/all players he ofc doesn’t have a 100% success rate and when he has dips in games he tends to ice the puck a little too often but overall I think his zone exits are fine nowadays and imo that’s partly what’s shown up in his corsi. He’s also gotten better at coming down deep and help his defenseman which relieves pressure, he’s much better than Ebs in this area tbh, it used to be the other way around but Ebs hasn’t really improved there the last few seasons, instead he gets stuck up by the blue line. Imo Yak got caugh doing a similar thing when on the LW last night.

    Yaks big issue in the own zone is that during the cycle he’s really bad at moving his head to see what’s going on around him, so if the guy he’s supposed to cover moves behind his back he loses position right away. Most players loses guys at times buy it’s a little to easy for a D to just move a few steps to change the angle and Yak doesn’t cover and have to start chasing. He’s not alone in this regard among the Oiler wingers, Hall and Ebs struggles with this as well. I think that’s part of the reason why a lot of offensive D seems to have a field day against the Oilers.

  40. Psyche says:

    Lowetide,

    I grew up in Morinville during the 80’s. St. Albert folks treated us like hillbilly trash. They were probably right in doing so.

  41. Woodguy says:

    In other news Dan Barnes is back in Sports for the Journal.

    This is excellent news as was the best MSM in Edmonton Sports and no one stepped up when he moved to other news.

    Dan Barnes ‏@jrnlbarnes 10h10 hours ago

    So, here we go again. Dan Barnes: No comeback in these Oilers kids against Predators http://edmontonjournal.com/opinion/columnists/dan-barnes-no-comeback-in-these-oilers-kids-against-predators/

    Woodguy ‏@Woodguy55 2h2 hours ago
    @jrnlbarnes Are you back in Sports full time?

    Dan Barnes
    ‏@jrnlbarnes
    @woodguy55 Yes. The proverbial bad penny.

  42. Магия 10 says:

    Lowetide: True story. We moved to St. Albert from Edmonton (Wellington) in 1998. One Sunday morning I zip to the Safeway for hot dogs (bbq) at about 10am. I am in sales at the time, lots of St. Albert residents are my clients, and I am in my scrubs and looking homeless.

    Now, I did NOT see my client, want to make it clear. About two weeks later, I go see her on a sales call, and she says I was going to say hello to you but was with a friend and didn’t want to introduce you.

    St. Albert, ladies and gentlemen!!!!

    Recall the episode where Herb dressed too well and almost loses his clients. Not shot in St. Albert.

  43. Bank Shot says:

    Water Fire:
    Interseting that McLellan mentions needing more skill. On the Oilers. Isn’t the knock too much skill not enough sandpaper?

    McLellan mentions skill and then immediately talks about getting a powerplay QB. While we have loads of toe drag skill up front (Lacking guys with boardskills and defensive skills IMO) we certainly don’t have the same skill on the blueline.

  44. godot10 says:

    Psyche:
    Bakersfield has 3 games during the Oilers break. Good opportunity to send Nurse down. If Davidson or Klefbom return to the lineup before Feb 2nd then leave Nurse in the AHL for 2-3 more weeks of work.

    Send Reinhart down to keep playing. Nurse has played a lot of hockey. And the Oilers schedule is heavy after the all-star break. I’d rather Nurse rest and reflect.

  45. Soup Fascist says:

    Grumpy this morning. My apologies in advance for the incoherent rants to follow.

    Watching Anton Lander, Benoit Pouliot and Matt Hendricks attempt to play center can we agree that trading RNH is moronic?

    Steven Stamkos is not coming here. Period.

    Our powerplay is beyond laughable. Can we try something different?

    Can the ref yesterday say with a straight face he did not lose sight of the puck that ended up somewhere in Talbots gear for like 5 seconds before plopping behind the goal line? Who was reffing – Denis f’ng Morel?

    Glen Frey dying last week sucks. It just does.

    Justin Schultz. Kick rocks. You are a talented skater who has absolutely no interest whatsoever in playing hockey.

    In deference to the Eagles (So Cal band, Not Philadelphia, LT) Manager Isaac Azoff …….. Kassian may be Satan, but he is OUR Satan.

    Did I mention the powerplay stinks.

    Perhaps spending the morning calculating the amount of money I have spent on season tickets since I last saw a playoff game was not a good idea.

  46. Lowetide says:

    Geek update: Barnes followed me the other day, I was pleased. He is a brilliant writer.

  47. OilClog says:

    All of Ebs men up the middle are probably wondering

    “hey 6million guy, wanna drive the bus for us?!? Something? Anything? Vrrroom vrrrroooom? No? Ok.. Cool, was just wondering?”

    Trade Pouliot, sign Purcell.

    Rhino was in beast mode out there, only one game but those coming into the slot late attempts… He’s making Schultz look awfully awful.

    Nurse needs to be parked, serviced, sent down to the A to win some battles.

    Do wonder though, with Nurse being such a roamer, and Griff playing a very structured throw back style..This tandem is going to be killers in the near future.

  48. Soup Fascist says:

    Lowetide:
    Geek update: Barnes followed me the other day, I was pleased. He is a brilliant writer.

    Yes. But does he live in St. Albert?

  49. Psyche says:

    Soup Fascist,

    Probably does. That’s where all the wealthy and influential folks live. 😉

  50. blainer says:

    Soup Fascist:
    Grumpy this morning.My apologies in advance for the incoherent rants to follow.

    Watching Anton Lander, Benoit Pouliot and Matt Hendricks attempt to play center can we agree that trading RNH is moronic?

    Steven Stamkos is not coming here. Period.

    Our powerplay is beyond laughable. Can we try something different?

    Can the ref yesterday say with a straight face he did not lose sight of the puck that ended up somewhere in Talbots gear for like 5 seconds before plopping behind the goal line?Who was reffing – Denis f’ng Morel?

    Glen Frey dying last week sucks. It just does.

    Justin Schultz. Kick rocks. You are a talented skater who has absolutely no interest whatsoever in playing hockey.

    In deference to the Eagles (So Cal band, Not Philadelphia, LT)Manager Isaac Azoff …….. Kassian may be Satan, but he is OUR Satan.

    Did I mention the powerplay stinks.

    Perhaps spending the morning calculating the amount of money I have spent on season tickets since I last saw a playoff game was not a good idea.

    I agree that in NO way can we even consider moving Nuge if we do not have a solid two way centerman who can post crooked numbers to replace him.

    It is highly unlikely Stamkos comes .. BUT.. if he makes it to free agency I would say we will defiantly be in the running as we know what he thinks of CMD.

    If by some miracle he does sign here somebody is getting moved to make room for his salary.

  51. flyfish1168 says:

    frjohnk: McLellan is not the first coach to put him there.

    Yak has always had trouble with zone exits on the RW.But offensively he is better on the RW where he can use his shot.

    In a perfect world, Id put him on the LW in the D zone and in the RW in the O zone.

    And on the PP, he would benefit ( so would the team) if he had a skilled RH center who could feed him one timers.We don’t have that type of player and that is why his one timer is basically useless on the PP.All of our best playmakers are left handed.Our PP is set up for a RH Yak not a LH Yak.

    If only a young Yak would have picked up a baseball bat……..

    I totally understand the concept with him being a left shot to be on the left side in the d-zone and rt side O-zone. But unfortunately his mind is wired to see the ice from the right side. That is why maybe Leon with a wonderful back hand pass would be a benefit.

    Its funny how people can only view from the one side. When i played I had no real preference. I am right handed so when I was on the right side i looked to pass and when I was in the left and did not like the back pass I used the boards more for exits.

  52. kinger_OIL says:

    Bruce McCurdy: i’m seeing only one of them listed in the top four. Not sure it’s the right one, that said all three players should be better next year than they are now.

    Your (unintentional?) NDG acronym made me laugh, but you have to admit that it’s a step up from NFG (Nikitin-Ference-Gryba).

    That said, I do have time for Gryba in a limited role. He’s a long way from Edmonton’s biggest issue on the blue.

    – Yeah they’ve gone from No F’ng Good to No Damn Good: that was the acronym I was going for!

    – You can’t be playoffs next year, when developing all 3 of NDG (less than 80 games in NHL), unless you have two bona-fide D better than Sekera added to the equation, and Gryba as your 7th

    – And there will be bumps in the road with development, there always is, they won’t be all “better”, at least you can’t lock that improvement in as a certainty and project.

    – Add 2 of Brent Burns /Shatner/Harmonic/Buff/Petry/Faulk/Vatenen, then your not “hoping”

    – I suspect thought they get only 1 of these, then hope that Klef emerges more, and hope for striaght line NDG development…

  53. Soup Fascist says:

    Lowetide: True story. We moved to St. Albert from Edmonton (Wellington) in 1998. One Sunday morning I zip to the Safeway for hot dogs (bbq) at about 10am. I am in sales at the time, lots of St. Albert residents are my clients, and I am in my scrubs and looking homeless.

    Now, I did NOT see my client, want to make it clear. About two weeks later, I go see her on a sales call, and she says I was going to say hello to you but was with a friend and didn’t want to introduce you.

    St. Albert, ladies and gentlemen!!!!

    The scrubs were probably OK. The “Who Farted?”
    T-shirt may have been the tipping point. ?

  54. who says:

    Lowetide,

    A month ago I would have agreed with not trading for Shattenkirk because of his impending UFA. But if St Louis is willing to do a straight up deal for Eberle I would do it just to get rid of his contract. The more I study the salary cap the more convinced I am of the importance of flexiblilty. I think we can all agree this team is going to have to set aside money in the next few years to pay MacDavid and Draisatl and Hopefully a stud right hand dman. Why not be proactive and start making salary cap room now. You get short term defense help now and it leaves us free to take on another dman (if you choose to do so) salary this summer through trade or free agency. You then have a year to decide if Shattenkirk is worth resigning long term and if not you let him walk so you can afford the dman you really want. At the end of the day you can only afford to pay 6-8 guys the big money contracts and I don’t see Eberle being one of these key guys. This really starts to make sense if we get a top 3 pick and can replace him with one of those Finn wingers.

  55. sliderule says:

    After the break they will have 32 games to figure out if this mix of players is at all close to forming a playoff caliber team.
    They should have all hands on deck with Connor ,Klefbom Davidson and probably Reinhart.
    If they don’t win 16-20 games you have to think that they would consider major revamping the roster including all players other than Connor.

  56. Lowetide says:

    Soup Fascist: The scrubs were probably OK. The “Who Farted?”
    T-shirt may have been the tipping point. ?

    Haha. Bottom line, I wear slacks and a clean shirt everywhere in St. Albert, even when I take my empties in. #conform.

  57. fifthcartel says:

    Hunt, Reinhart and Kassian to Bakersfield. Wonder who comes back up after the break.

  58. AsiaOil says:

    Reinhart showed he can be a defense rock and play with skill. The thought of him playing with Shattenkirk and the Hall/Drai combo is VERY appealing.

    Also wanted to add – probably the best game I’ve seen Fayne play. Way more physical and effective. Still no offense at all – but he was very good defensively.

  59. Water Fire says:

    SwedishPoster:
    frjohnk,

    I think Yak has gotten way better with his exits from RW this season. He’s made a couple of nice plays via the boards to his centerman. Like most/all players he ofc doesn’t have a 100% success rate and when he has dips in games he tends to ice the puck a little too often but overall I think his zone exits are fine nowadays and imo that’s partly what’s shown up in his corsi. He’s also gotten better at coming down deep and help his defenseman which relieves pressure, he’s much better than Ebs in this area tbh, it used to be the other way around but Ebs hasn’t really improved there the last few seasons, instead he gets stuck up by the blue line. Imo Yak got caugh doing a similar thing when on the LW last night.

    Yaks big issue in the own zone is that during the cycle he’s really bad at moving his head to see what’s going on around him, so if the guy he’s supposed to cover moves behind his back he loses position right away. Most players loses guys at times buy it’s a little to easy for a D to just move a few steps to change the angle and Yak doesn’t cover and have to start chasing. He’s not alone in this regard among the Oiler wingers, Hall and Ebs struggles with this as well. I think that’s part of the reason why a lot of offensive D seems to have a field day against the Oilers.

    Todd McLellan: “We have to get deeper in a lot of areas of our game. Tonight was a prime example. As soon as we got one line going and they target (Benoit) Pouliot and (Jordan) Eberle and Nail Yakupov immediately, they score early. Then we need to juggle our lines around again. We need to get deeper as an organization. We need to upgrade in a lot of different areas, whether it is strength, size, but also skill level, quarterback on the power play and things like that. We know that…”

    – – – – – – –

    I don’t see how Swedish’s observations and McLellan’s thoughts can be reconclied successfully with Oiler’s current wingers.

    Better players need to be supported by the weaker players. It doesn’t make logical sense the other way around. So, if a player is one dimensional and unrefined in play, they only bring a positive factor to the team if they post elite scoring numbers, as in top 15. To outscore what they give up takes crooked numbers.

    Only Hall meets that criteria, and by eye he is the only winger bringing a noticeable contribution game in and out, even when he’s off.

    The other wingers disappear and get smoked regularly. If they are off, they are awful. I don’t think that’s acceptable. The minumum should be if you have a lesser centre you don’t score, not you get anhilated in play. That is for bottom feeding teams. Holding ground is the minumum standard.

    It’s possible Yak is about to emerge as a positive factor, he pushes play and never quits, he’s plucky, if he can get his head together he could be another positive contributor.

    For the others, I see the crafty plays and offensive instincts, the odd highlighter, dangle and bar down beauty, but the selfish side of those things and all the weak plays are the things causing the offensive and defensive zone issues and the losses.

    A 25% loss of offense that nets a 40% gain in defense is a win. Not trying to force plays and executing basics like passing and shoot ins, and playing more strategically is the next step. I don’t see it with many players in this group.

    I also don’t see how if they need more skill they employ Gazzer and Gryba. The latter is a brute but not a very solid player in today’s game. Love the cycle busting, you still have to be able to move the puck and skate with the level of fore checking now.

  60. leadfarmer says:

    Reinhart is how you develop dmen. Give him a couple games, send him down and tell him what to work on, call him up half a season later as a reward for working hard, send him down with another list of what to work on and keep doing that until they are ready.

    Nurse is exactly how you should not develop dmen. The Detroit model for development sounds great but who wants to wait until Christmas to open their presents. Just throw him into the deep end and in 5 years we can talk again about having the same year of experience five times.

    What a genius move it was for Schultz and his agent to not sign with the ducks and make an incompetent GM pay him way more than he was worth. If he signed with the ducks he would have made a fraction of the money he has made so far

  61. dadoug12 says:

    sliderule:
    After the break they will have 32 games to figure out if this mix of players is at all close to forming a playoff caliber team.
    They should have all hands on deck with Connor ,Klefbom Davidson and probably Reinhart.
    If they don’t win 16-20 games you have to think that they would consider major revamping the roster including all players other than Connor.

    its always dangerous, to judge a team , when there is no more pressure on the team. This has been an annual ritual where the oilers have a decent stretch run after the playoffs are long gone, and it could cloud your judgement.

  62. Lowetide says:

    leadfarmer:
    Reinhart is how you develop dmen.Give him a couple games, send him down and tell him what to work on, call him up half a season later as a reward for working hard, send him down with another list of what to work on and keep doing that until they are ready.

    Nurse is exactly how you should not develop dmen.The Detroit model for development sounds great but who wants to wait until Christmas to open their presents.Just throw him into the deep end and in 5 years we can talk again about having the same year of experience five times.

    What a genius move it was for Schultz and his agent to not sign with the ducks and make an incompetent GM pay him way more than he was worth.If he signed with the ducks he would have made a fraction of the money he has made so far

    Klefbom was ideal imo. Nurse was recalled because the Oilers needed him due to not having six capable blue in front of him. Chiarelli robbing McLellan of Nurse would have been a firing offense.

  63. Woodguy says:

    I haven’t seen it mentioned yet, but in the post game avail McLellan was asked but Klef’s timeline and said:

    “He was supposed to start skating while we were on the road trip but he hasn’t yet so I don’t know”

    Man.

  64. speeds says:

    Lowetide: Klefbom was ideal imo. Nurse was recalled because the Oilers needed him due to not having six capable blue in front of him. Chiarelli robbing McLellan of Nurse would have been a firing offense.

    I don’t see it that way, not recalling Nurse wouldn’t have been Chia’s worst move so far, IMO.

  65. Lowetide says:

    Klefbom says hopefully after All-Star break he will be ready to go.

  66. Woodguy says:

    Lowetide:
    Klefbom says hopefully after All-Star break he will be ready to go.

    source?

    good news

  67. Lowetide says:

    Woodguy: source?

    good news

    You Tube broadcast of the skills competition. Gene asked him, that was Klef’s answer.

  68. Oilspill says:

    “A growing number of healthy people are developing staph infections, typically on their skin. Some staph bacteria, including MRSA(short for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), are resistant to antibiotics, making these infections difficult to cure”
    Some info.

  69. Lowetide says:

    Hall fastest skater. God he is fast.

  70. Oil2Oilers says:

    Not having McDavid skating in the fastest skater competition is a disservice to the Nation

  71. Lowetide says:

    Sekera backwards crazy good.

  72. Lowetide says:

    Nurse faster! Hayzeus

  73. Oil2Oilers says:

    Darnell backwards skating was incredible

  74. Centre of attention says:

    Young Bilal went bar down with a 75 mph slapper.

    Not bad at all

  75. G Money says:

    A natural evolution of the player dashboard: the defensive pairs dashboard.

    http://i.imgur.com/9WgZv0t.png

    Not sure if the data volume allows for this to be too useful, but it does indicate a few things, including the fact that the success of last years Klefbom-Schultz pairing is not necessarily a fluke.

    I felt they did well last year because Klefbom is the only guy with the size, skating, and defensive awareness to compensate for Mr. Chaos.

    Assuming Sekera-Fayne can continue to hold their own (as they did very well last night), Klef’s return pushes [Nurse,Reinhart,Gryba] to third pairing + AHL duty only. What a difference a single add on D makes. Or conversely, what a major hit it is if one of your higher level defenders is injured, or even not playing well.

    His and Davidson’s return pushes [Davidson,Nurse,Reinhart,Gryba] to 2 x 3rd pairing and 2 x AHL. Big upgrade on last night, and not even a new player in sight.

    Any word on Big D?

  76. Centre of attention says:

    103.4 slapper of Iiro

  77. Lowetide says:

    Pakarinen 103.4 mph.

  78. Oil2Oilers says:

    IIRO on the point on the Power Play?

  79. RJ2016 says:

    Lowetide,

    I find this interesting. I’ve seen more than a few fans say that Chiarelli needs to bring in some top-4 help. The response has been that PC needs to evaluate the team. This is a development year and they were never expecting to make the playoffs.

    So if they were never expecting to make the playoffs how does bringing up Nurse make sense? Draft+1 in junior, Draft+2 in the AHL, draft+3 as a 5/6 D. Draft+4, top-4 would be the logical development plan. He would have been far better served playing 20-25 minutes in Bakersfield this season, with an opportunity to play next year. I thought PC was supposed to be smarter than that.

  80. G Money says:

    Anyone at the Skills comp in person, or watching the stream?

  81. Atc-Nate says:

    Call me an idiot, but doesn’t it become almost irrelevant what wing you play outside of the defensive zone and AFTER the breakout?

    Crossing over to your off wing is one of the best ways to cross up d men, you know, that little drop pass to hour buddy who’s crossing behind you? Just a thought in regards to Yak breaking out and then going to his off wing as mentioned by a poster above. I am only a beer leaguer though, so I can defer to those of you who understand sticks and pucks more than me.

  82. Lowetide says:

    RJ2016:
    Lowetide,

    I find this interesting. I’ve seen more than a few fans say that Chiarelli needs to bring in some top-4 help. The response has been that PC needs to evaluate the team. This is a development year and they were never expecting to make the playoffs.

    So if they were never expecting to make the playoffs how does bringing up Nurse make sense? Draft+1 in junior, Draft+2 in the AHL, draft+3 as a 5/6 D. Draft+4, top-4 would be the logical development plan. He would have been far better served playing 20-25 minutes in Bakersfield this season, with an opportunity to play next year. I thought PC was supposed to be smarter than that.

    Schultz went down, the Oilers had no one imo. They lost 19 and he was (and is) playing a lot.

    Gerry Fleming: “If I was recommending a guy, I’d have said Darnell. He has been our most complete player. He’s moving the puck more quickly (and making fewer long rushes with it). He’s making good reads.”

  83. geowal says:

    Well Klefbom looking human, so that’s good.

  84. geowal says:

    G Money,

    Stream.

  85. RJ2016 says:

    Lowetide,

    One of the points that Dellow used to stress on his blog was not rushing players to the NHL. Not just for development, but to delay their UFA status.

    So knowing that he’d be better served long-term with close to a full season in the AHL (like Klef), and that this team was a long-shot to make the playoffs, then keeping him in the AHL still seems the logical course long-term. Send up one of the other D, even if Nurse was the best. I’ve never understood any development plan where you just throw someone in the deep end.

  86. Lowetide says:

    RJ2016:
    Lowetide,

    One of the points that Dellow used to stress on his blog was not rushing players to the NHL. Not just for development, but to delay their UFA status.

    So knowing that he’d be better served long-term with close to a full season in the AHL (like Klef), and that this team was a long-shot to make the playoffs, then keeping him in the AHL still seems the logical course long-term. Send up one of the other D, even if Nurse was the best. I’ve never understood any development plan where you just throw someone in the deep end.

    Nurse’s free agent status wasn’t rushed, he is 20. He was going to play pro no matter. One of the things we sometimes do is see today’s situations as facts before and after. Darnell Nurse was in pro hockey and was one of the six best players available. You could have kept him down, but why?

    Now? Completely different situation. He should probably see the pressbox and if that doesn’t help, then AHL for sure. Doesn’t make the October callup a mistake UNLESS they fail to recognize that he is floundering.

  87. G Money says:

    This one has a more sensible limit setting on the y axis, and shows a little more.

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

    Things I find interesting:

    – Gryba/Davidson has had consistently good numbers in my post-game summaries, and it really shows here.

    – You can really see the point at which Fayne (paired with Klefbom) fell out of grace

    – Nurse is struggling, whether he’s with Schultz or with Sekera. His best results are with Davidson, likely facing more third pairing competition

    – The current Sekera/Fayne pairing has a noteable (and bothersome) gap between Corsi and Dangerous Fenwick, but they face the best of the best every game, so perhaps that’s to be expected

    Nonetheless, I think what these tables do show is that when Klefbom and Davidson return, the pairings actually should be:

    Sekera-Fayne
    Klefbom-Schultz
    Gryba-Davidson

    with BOTH Reinhart and Nurse in the AHL until they can win the third pairing role over Gryba (which Reinhart has done IF one were to use a single game sample size, which is … not smart)

  88. G Money says:

    Ha ha, Yak, what a goofball.

  89. Cameron says:

    Lowetide:
    Something on Patrik Laine
    http://oilersnation.com/2016/1/24/how-good-is-patrik-laine#comments

    Do you like Laine as a fit better than Puljujarvi?

  90. Lowetide says:

    Cameron: Do you like Laine as a fit better than Puljujarvi?

    For the Oilers? No, I personally prefer the other Finn. Haven’t decided if I like Tkachuk more than either or both, but that is probably the top four at this draft unless Chychrun catches fire.

  91. Klima's_Bucket says:

    Kassian, Reinhart and Hunt sent to the AHL.

  92. Zelepukin says:

    Oil2Oilers:
    Darnell backwards skating was incredible

    So Nurse was only a second slower than Hall but skating backwards? Insane.

  93. RJ2016 says:

    Lowetide,

    I guess I still have the “evaluation year” narrative stuck in my head. I think Nurse is one of the six best d-men in the organization and I also think he would have been better served long-term with a season in the AHL. As you’ve pointed out many times in relation to Klefbom, Davidson and Reinhart, there is no harm in learning their craft in the AHL.

    Thanks for replying LT.

  94. frjohnk says:

    Oil2Oilers:
    Darnell backwards skating was incredible

    Crazy fast.
    Sekara was 17.1 in his lap and looked fast
    Nurse had a 15.9 sec lap skating backwards.

    Hall had 14.1 sec lap skating forwards
    Yak was 14.2
    Draisaitl was 14.7.

    Wouldn’t mind seeing Nurse skate forwards.

    He may have took the title.

  95. Lowetide says:

    RJ2016:
    Lowetide,

    I guess I still have the “evaluation year” narrative stuck in my head. I think Nurse is one of the six best d-men in the organization and I also think he would have been better served long-term with a season in the AHL. As you’ve pointed out many times in relation to Klefbom, Davidson and Reinhart, there is no harm in learning their craft in the AHL.

    Thanks for replying LT.

    Oh God yeah, agreed. If this team could afford to keep Nurse in the minors, that was the play. For Chiarelli to ignore the enormous pressure McLellan is under, that would be (imo) diabolical. Nurse was caught between a rock and a hard place, as was McLellan.

    They have to push past last year though, imo. That is why I doubt we see them do anything but push in the last 32 games.

  96. G Money says:

    frjohnk,

    I remember watching the Erie-Soo playoffs, and there was this one moment where Darnell went behind his net to retrieve the puck. The two Erie forecheckers both stayed a little wide, leaving a lane up the middle.

    Well, our man Darnell saw the gap as he turned the corner from behind the net, and took off like he was shot out of cannon. He was practically a blur. I thought to myself, “holy shit, if I ever had ANY doubt that Nurse already has NHL speed, it’s gone. He already has elite NHL speed.”

    In fact, in that entire series, there were two skaters head and shoulders above everybody else. Nurse, and some kid whose name I forget, but it starts with a C and ends with OnnorMcDavid.

    Hall is blazing fast, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see both Connor and Darnell put up numbers with a 13 in front.

  97. G Money says:

    Also, Yak’s speed doesn’t surprise me at all.

    Among the MANY criticisms leveled at Yak over the last three years, one of them has been ‘not fast enough’, which I found utterly bizarre. Elite NHL speed was one of the things his scouting report talked about pre-draft. And we saw it with regularity once he got here.

    He (and I suspect this is much the same with Reinhart) sometimes looks slower because his decision making is still not instinctive yet. No surprise given the shit this team has put this kid through.

    But when he goes, he GOES.

  98. Lowetide says:

    John Shannon ‏@JSportsnet 3m3 minutes ago

    Connor McDavid will spend NHL Allstar break practicing with AHL Bakersfield. Not going to play games.

  99. frjohnk says:

    G Money: Hall is blazing fast, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see both Connor and Darnell put up numbers with a 13 in front.

    Didn’t Hall have a 13 a few years ago?

    Definitely could see McDavid and Nurse get into the 13’s.

  100. speeds says:

    Lowetide: Oh God yeah, agreed. If this team could afford to keep Nurse in the minors, that was the play. For Chiarelli to ignore the enormous pressure McLellan is under, that would be (imo) diabolical. Nurse was caught between a rock and a hard place, as was McLellan.

    They have to push past last year though, imo. That is why I doubt we see them do anything but push in the last 32 games.

    I’m not sure about that, if Chiarelli traded as many guys away as possible and said ” We needed to clear cap room for the summer, it’s important to open up as much space as possible for next summer so we can push the team forward next season”, does that narrative not work, heading into a new building?

  101. frjohnk says:

    Lowetide:
    John Shannon ‏@JSportsnet 3m3 minutes ago

    Connor McDavid will spend NHL Allstar break practicing with AHL Bakersfield.Not going to play games.

    He will come out of all star break shot out of a cannon.

  102. Centre of attention says:

    Lowetide:
    John Shannon ‏@JSportsnet 3m3 minutes ago

    Connor McDavid will spend NHL Allstar break practicing with AHL Bakersfield.Not going to play games.

    Keep him active and his conditioning level high for his imminent return vs Columbus. I like it.

  103. geowal says:

    Lowetide:
    John Shannon ‏@JSportsnet 3m3 minutes ago

    Connor McDavid will spend NHL Allstar break practicing with AHL Bakersfield.Not going to play games.

    Seems reasonable. Don’t think he’d be allowed to play anyways (can junior eligible players have conditioning stints? Has that been done?)

  104. frjohnk says:

    geowal: Seems reasonable. Don’t think he’d be allowed to play anyways (can junior eligible players have conditioning stints? Has that been done?)

    Yes it can be done.

    I know that Braden Schenn did it in his 19 yearold season with Manchester.

    EDIT: as a conditioning stint.

  105. G Money says:

    When it comes hockey, should the metaphor for accelerating powerfully and traveling at a high speed be

    – “shot out of a cannon”, or

    – “getting away from John Shannon”?

    “Hallsy was pretty fast at this years Skills, eh?”

    “Oh hell yeah, it was amazing, he looked like he was getting away from John Shannon.”

  106. Lowetide says:

    speeds: I’m not sure about that, if Chiarelli traded as many guys away as possible and said ” We needed to clear cap room for the summer, it’s important to open up as much space as possible for next summer so we can push the team forward next season”, does that narrative not work, heading into a new building?

    I think it would have been difficult to sell.

  107. Магия 10 says:

    geowal: Seems reasonable. Don’t think he’d be allowed to play anyways (can junior eligible players have conditioning stints? Has that been done?)

    Yeah. He can’t play in the A at all this year. But practice is a good idea.

    Also like Reinhart not getting the break and Nurse getting all or part of it.

  108. frjohnk says:

    G Money: When it comes hockey, should the metaphor for accelerating powerfully and traveling at a high speed be
    – “shot out of a cannon”, or
    – “getting away from John Shannon”?

    Option B is not bad.

  109. Centre of attention says:

    Edmonton Oilers ‏@EdmontonOilers 21m21 minutes ago
    “It’ll be good to skate with those guys and have some high-intensity practices.” @cmcdavid97, says he’s been cleared for full contact

    And there it is.

  110. JDï™ says:

    I don’t recall ever seeing them do the skating drill backwards, but wow did Nurse destroy that event!

    I was hoping to see how fast he could do it forwards, but that was amazing.

  111. Магия 10 says:

    Lowetide: Nurse’s free agent status wasn’t rushed, he is 20. He was going to play pro no matter. One of the things we sometimes do is see today’s situations as facts before and after. Darnell Nurse was in pro hockey and was one of the six best players available. You could have kept him down, but why?

    Now? Completely different situation. He should probably see the pressbox and if that doesn’t help, then AHL for sure. Doesn’t make the October callup a mistake UNLESS they fail to recognize that he is floundering.

    This. All day. There was a hole. He filled the hole nicely for a while.

    Drai’s first half last year likely contributed to going nova this year. But so did calling it quits and a little R & R in the W (rest and rebuilding).

  112. JDï™ says:

    Centre of attention: Connor speaks

    His awshucks/60 is still off the charts.

  113. Frank the dog says:

    Bank Shot:
    Klefbom—Sekera
    Nurse—Vatanen
    Reinhart—Davidson
    Gryba

    That as the 2016-2017 Oilers starting defence makes my eyes bleed.

    The OIlers need to add two bonafide top four defencemen and one of those needs to be a legitimate top pairing guy.

    The biggest difference between this year and last year seems to be goaltending. If the Oilers had gotten .888% this year they’d be -50 right now same as last year.

    If the Oilers are to get any traction, they need serious upgrades on their blueline.Tuning the carburetor isn’t going to cut it. The engine needs a complete overhaul.

    Yup, let’s add players like Davidson and Klefbom on the blue, and then take some pressure off the blue with players like CMD and the Nuge.

  114. JDï™ says:


    John Shannon Verified account
    ‏@JSportsnet

    Milan Lucic. 1 Game.

    RUN!!!!!!

  115. Centre of attention says:

    JDï™: His awshucks/60 is still off the charts.

    Can you imagine what his post-stanley interview will be like?

  116. "Steve Smith" says:

    Centre of attention,

    “This is exactly what I was hoping for when I signed here during the off-season. I’m just so glad that I was able to be a part of this, and to hopefully contribute to the Dallas Stars winning a Stanley Cup.”

  117. JDï™ says:

    “Steve Smith”:
    Centre of attention,

    “This is exactly what I was hoping for when I signed here during the off-season. I’m just so glad that I was able to be a part of this, and to hopefully contribute to the Dallas Stars winning a Stanley Cup.”

    LT – motion to strike from the record.

  118. Frank the dog says:

    JOFA: That sounds about right;)

    My take of St. Albert, as an outsider, is a tight knit community that is a great place to raise kids and that fields competitive, well coached basketball teams at every level. Same outcomes as Sherwood Park, but two completely different communities.

  119. AsiaOil says:

    Nurse has gotten a nice paycheck but has shown he’s not yet fully up to the task. I’d send him down to the AHL from now until the end of the year so he can come into TC next year like Drai did this year. He’s crazy talented but the game is going way too fast for him right now. He’ll be fine but we don’t want a first year’s experience several times model (like Shultz). If Davidson or Klef can go after the AS break then you recall GR, send Nurse down. I’d prefer Nurse in the AHL the rest of the year frankly. He has more raw talent but Reinhart is a better player right now if last nights results hold (admitted small sample).

  120. JDï™ says:

    https://streamable.com/nlwk

    Darnell’s cousin Sarah with a beauty goal.

  121. jm363561 says:

    let’s add players like Davidson and Klefbom on the blue, and then take some pressure off the blue with players like CMD and the Nuge.
    =========
    Agree with the general eyeball rolling about the D TOI, but when you are missing McD, RNH, Klef, Davidson + then Mama Kass exits stage left, Sutter’s defensive strategy is well nigh impossible. Whether injuries are an “excuse” or a “reason” you cannot ignore the effect on the team.

    Those of us who were always ok with the Griff trade are breathing a bit easier now. Moving forward play him wherever he will best develop.

    Preseason there was a big debate whether Nurse should play in the Big League or develop in the AHL. Tough call – fans deserve a winning team; Nurse clearly one of the best six defenders but lacks experience; finally there is a growing recognition he is being Gagnerized. Moving forward …… refer Griff above.

  122. leadfarmer says:

    Oil2Oilers:
    IIRO on the point on the Power Play?

    No, we must keep playing Schultz there until it works.

  123. Oil2Oilers says:

    leadfarmer: No, we must keep playing Schultz there until it works.

    Lol. It will work one day, won’t it? It just has to work…

  124. Soup Fascist says:

    Oil2Oilers:
    IIRO on the point on the Power Play?

    The thing is he would be more adept playing defensively that Schultz – so win / win.

  125. Drew says:

    SwedishPoster:
    frjohnk,

    I think Yak has gotten way better with his exits from RW this season. He’s made a couple of nice plays via the boards to his centerman. Like most/all players he ofc doesn’t have a 100% success rate and when he has dips in games he tends to ice the puck a little too often but overall I think his zone exits are fine nowadays and imo that’s partly what’s shown up in his corsi. He’s also gotten better at coming down deep and help his defenseman which relieves pressure, he’s much better than Ebs in this area tbh, it used to be the other way around but Ebs hasn’t really improved there the last few seasons, instead he gets stuck up by the blue line. Imo Yak got caugh doing a similar thing when on the LW last night.

    Yaks big issue in the own zone is that during the cycle he’s really bad at moving his head to see what’s going on around him, so if the guy he’s supposed to cover moves behind his back he loses position right away. Most players loses guys at times buy it’s a little to easy for a D to just move a few steps to change the angle and Yak doesn’t cover and have to start chasing. He’s not alone in this regard among the Oiler wingers, Hall and Ebs struggles with this as well. I think that’s part of the reason why a lot of offensive D seems to have a field day against the Oilers.

    I like this evaluation…

    Yak is getting better at “pushing the river” against easier opposition. He can skate (as the skills contest suggests). there seems to be a player there, the question is, is anyone on the Oilers listening to this. i feel he will be a “really useful engine” for someone else.

  126. Zelepukin says:

    Drew: I like this evaluation…

    Yak is getting better at “pushing the river” againsteasier opposition. He can skate (as the skills contest suggests). there seems to be a player there, the question is, is anyone on the Oilers listening to this. i feel he will be a “really useful engine” for someone else.

    There was always a player there. We just knew it was going to take time for the game to slow down for him, both mentally and physically.

    Yak and Ebs are both very similar in that confidence from putting up points dramatically changes their approach to pushing the river. Ebs will play entire games from the perimeter, never really driving the play to the net. He’ll then score and it will become very obvious that he’ll challenge D on a rush or apply pressure as a first decision with the puck in the offensive zone, rather than doing the usual, let’s see how many times Nuge and I can cycle the puck down low before some idiot tries to compare us to the Sedin twins.

  127. Bank Shot says:

    Frank the dog: Yup, let’s add players like Davidson and Klefbom on the blue, and then take some pressure off the blue with players like CMD and the Nuge.

    We watched that movie already.

    2-4 with all 4 in the lineup.

    5-8 before McDavid was lost.

    Not good enough.

  128. hags9k says:

    I’m not completely sure Nurse needs to go down to the AHL, but I am sure they have to get him a different partner.

    Schultz needs a second opinion.

  129. spoiler says:

    Bank Shot: We watched that movie already.

    2-4 with all 4 in the lineup.

    5-8 before McDavid was lost.

    Not good enough.

    But no Eberle… first days for McDavid, nor had Talbot or Sekera adjusted yet either, and all during a tough chunk of the schedule. I’m willing to see a larger sample size.

  130. Aitch says:

    Really late to the show on this one… LT, I always thought I was one of the most optimistic oiler fans around, but thinking that January is still salvageable when there are no games left to play, puts you as the captain of the cheer squad. 🙂

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