Sometimes my kids will ask me about life in 1975. I’ll put Born to Run on the turntable, tell them about bell bottoms and banana bikes and working for some guy you don’t know because your Dad said so. Last night, Todd McLellan went 1975:
Took the liberty of transcribing Todd McLellan's rant. It's possibly more impressive in text form: pic.twitter.com/LHTJLF1ck0
— Mike Halford (@HalfordPHT) April 3, 2016
ATTITUDE AND BULLSHIT, 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 in February 2015: 5-6-1
- Oilers in February 2016: 4-8-2
- Oilers in March 2015: 5-6-3
- Oilers in March 2016: 7-8-0
- Oilers in April 2015: 1-3-1
- Oilers in April 2016: 0-1-0
- Oilers after 80 in 2014-15: 24-43-13, 61 points (-80 GD)
- Oilers after 80 in 2015-16: 30-43-7, 67 points (-45 GD)
Sometimes in life, you need a wakeup call, and sometimes you don’t hear it even when the alarm rings time after time after time. I am not going to run the usual morning numbers—Edmonton sawed off the 5×5 possession battle—because the real story runs deeper and frankly from what I have read online last night and this morning most people are just angry so one wonders if anyone will read this blog today. Instead, I would like to offer you a few words on each player from last night.
- Sekera—Fayne played well, both men did well in possession (Sekera 60 percent, Fayne 50). Sekera had four shots on goal, Fayne had six blocks. Plenty of bitching about Fayne online, suspect he is the next whipping boy.
- The rest of the defense looked like it should have been playing in Bakersfield last night.
- Cam Talbot did not have a good game. How much of that was the view in front of him? Doesn’t matter.
- Jordan Eberle must be wondering what hit him, poor guy. On a night when he has five shots, two takeaways and to my eye was the second most dangerous forward, online ripping approached ‘weasels ripped my flesh’ levels. Folks, if you were surprised he lost his man on the first goal, I cannot help you. We have seen this for six years. Did you not wonder why these young Oilers don’t get mentioned in the Selke conversation? Eberle is never going to be the guy who backchecks, you don’t have the light turn on six years in. Eberle is all lumber, and no leather. I thought we knew this?
- Taylor Hall led the team with four individual scoring chances, I thought he played well last night. Saw many people wanting to trade him and some very unkind personal shots. Six shots on goal, six individual scoring chances,
- Connor McDavid could not shake those Flames checkers, they did a helluva job on the young man. Edmonton gets a spark from this fellow near every game, credit to Calgary for taking away all of the oxygen on his sorties.
- Anton Lander had a good game, in perhaps the most disappointing game of the season. Dear Anton: Timing. It is a thing. You need to learn it, Sir.
FIRE THEM INTO THE SUN!
I absolutely know that many of you want me to post about the fires of hell, but I don’t see it. Last night, the Oilers rolled out Darnell Nurse, Griffin Reinhart, Adam Pardy and Jordan Oesterle as 67 percent of their blue. They also had exactly one pairing that looked NHL calibre, and that pairing was effective.
I suspect you want me to crap on the forwards, but you will find no comfort here. In fact, even though that was an absolute shiza show at Rexall last night, I would absolutely bring back McDavid, Nuge, Leon, Hall, Eberle, Maroon, Pouliot, Hendricks and even Pakarinen who didn’t play last night. That is nine players returning, including (possibly) four centers.
I would also bring back Sekera—Fayne as a pairing, plus Oscar Klefbom and Brandon Davidson. Peter Chiarelli badly needs to bring in Travis Hamonic and another RH blue, someone who can help the PP and help Davidson make that third pairing rattle and hum. Who is that guy? Don’t know. Jared Spurgeon maybe, that kind of player.
I fully expect the comments section to rain down blows upon me, suggesting the following:
- I have a man-crush on Mark Fayne.
- My love for the Nuge blinds me to the obvious
- Taylor Hall cut your Grandma off in traffic on the way home from the game
- Todd McLellan’s whiteboard now has all of the names on the ‘trade their ass’ side
- The Oilers aren’t tough enough
- The Oilers are too soft
- Jordan Eberle didn’t take responsibility, you saw his mistake, therefore you hate him.
I have a few responses to those thoughts, kind of a counterstrike before the original strike kind of thing:
- 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. Source
Look, I know you are angry this morning and I also know you understand that last night was exactly one (disappointing) game. Hell, I wish these kids cared more about beating Calgary, and they played better on Saturday night and that they understood winning to close out Rexall would be cool.
Folks, it does. not. matter. The season is lost, you are worrying over the wrong things. Give yourself a break, and let these losses go—they do not belong to you, and you did nothing wrong (except possibly reading twitter). Relax. You have a lot of things going for you—you look good at midnight AND at 9am—not everyone can say that about themselves.
Stop beating yourself up. Let Peter Chiarelli have his lash at improving the defense. And pray to the God who will listen that Chiarelli has the right people advising him. The draft will gift him with another enormous asset to select a fabulous player or trade the pick (or both). Heaven help us, he needs to get that decision right, and he needs to add defensemen who are quality and can execute the Sutter template:
- 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.”
If Jordan Eberle doesn’t fit that paragraph and needs to be traded, make it so. Just don’t try telling me he stopped backchecking—because that has never been part of his game. And that is why Todd McLellan probably didn’t sleep well last night. I will tell you this: Complete players, the kind who can score 25+ goals a year, and haul ass on the backcheck every time, are not plentiful. It is very important to value these players for what they bring, and to react, not overreact, to single games and episodes.
Peter Chiarelli is the man from town. We need to let him do his job. That is the summer. We wait.