G81 2015-16 CANUCKS AT OILERS

by Lowetide

I had never seen an NHL game. Most people who lived in Edmonton in 1979-80 had the same lack of experience, and the difference between the WHA and NHL was massive in my mind (although the upstart league was damned entertaining). They were so fast—faster now—and the passing and creativity was wizardry. We were all spoiled, of course, because those who saw their first NHL hockey at Northlands 1979-90 were seeing the perfect beast, the ultimate, the best of all time. Getting back there keeps us hanging on, year after year.

I have watched the Edmonton Oilers through good times and bad at Northlands/Rexall, and the good lord willing I will be able to find a way to the new arena. The Edmonton Oilers occupy a giant space in this city’s collective consciousness. It has been a very wild ride. I hope for better days, for all of us.

GOLDEN SLUMBERS, 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)

As we have been discussing all year, the Oilers have shown improvement. With better health, and fewer roster drags? It’s all over now, baby blue. G81 a year ago was a loss (3-1 to McLellan’s Sharks despite Brossoit standing on his head) on a night where Edmonton decided to give a rookie goalie no help at all. Le sigh.

OILERS BLUE, 2015-16

OILERS DEFENSE OVER SEASON

  • Brandon Davidson, Oscar Klefbom, Andrej Sekera and Mark Fayne are my keepers for next season. I believe in Corsi and CorsiRel, these men shine—shine—on an addled team. Now, that does not mean they are great defensemen, or even that they are playing in the part of the order that is optimum. It does mean that replacing one—like Fayne—means the Oilers are bringing in three men with possession numbers of better than 50 percent who can move the puck well. I cannot see it happening in one summer.
  • Darnell Nurse, Griffin Reinhart, Jordan Oesterle and Adam Clendening should begin the season in Bakersfield (Clendening may not return). If Edmonton is serious about winning hockey games in 2016-17, not one more shift can be devoted to development. These kids will play when injuries strike. Balance is the key watch word this summer.
  • I believe the biggest story of this year (defense) is Oscar Klefbom. He emerged and he was terrific—and then he was gone. Brandon Davidson was a similar story. Do we need to see more of them before crowning them legit top 4D options? Sure. However, if they are healthy, then putting Klefbom on one of the top pairings and using Davidson as the strong option on third pairing is an acceptable option for this team.
  • Sekera—Fayne is my second pairing next season. If the Oilers trade Fayne plus just to get rid of him, they are missing out and making the defensive rebuild more difficult. I cannot make sense of it, while also acknowledging it may happen just this way.
  • Andrew Ference may not be bought out, but could go on LTIR opening week. That may work out best, and the Oilers could send down several players in that paper transaction that allows the contract to remain on the roster until the season begins (and stay under the cap).
  • Adam Pardy and Eric Gryba are free agents, and either man could return as 7D. I think David Musil and Jordan Oesterle may also push for that job.
  • Klefbom—Jason Demers
  • Sekera—Fayne
  • Davidson—David Savard

FORWARDS (5X5/60)

FORWARDS 5X5

  • All the guys on the left? Keep them.
  • All the guys on the right? Thanks for coming. Save Yak but he is screwed and we all know it. How many games did he play on a legit scoring line? The fix for his new coach is going to be pretty damned easy.
  • That is simplistic, but in a way it makes sense. Sunil Agnihotri wrote a terrific piece this week and one of his conclusions was this: management should be looking to improve two particular areas that are relied upon to suppress shots in key situations. The first being defence, which badly needs experience, mobility and skill on the right side. And the second being the bottom six forwards, who McLellan relies on heavily to protect leads, but often gets destroyed when it comes to shot-share and goal-share. Source

TEARING DOWN THE BOTTOM SIX F

BOTTOM 6F 5X5

  • I am using scoring chances against per 60 at 5×5, this is one narrow view and we should keep it in mind. That said, it does give us some range on these characters and who we might want to see returning. Is Iiro Pakarinen the Finn you want coming back? I think he is.
  • Could you live with Mark Letestu as 4C/4R? Assuming Edmonton adds another guy who is righthanded and can be 3C?
  • Is Matt Hendricks close to the finish line? He has a year left, don’t see him leaving over the summer.
  • Do the Oilers bring back Zack Kassian? He has been poor for a time.

POSSIBLE FORWARD ROSTER, OPENING NIGHT 2016

  • Maroon—McDavid—Eberle
  • Hall—Nuge—Draisaitl
  • Pouliot—David Backes—Lee Stempniak
  • Hendricks—Letestu—Pakarinen

This assumes the Oilers trade the first-round pick for immediate defensive help, and flush men like Yakupov and Korpikoski. Miles to go, and of course no guarantee these useful free agents sign.

We had an interesting chat during last night’s draft thread. One of the conclusions some of us are reaching is this:

  • If the Oilers win the draft, take Matthews or trade down to No. 2 for a significant piece.
  • If the Oilers draft No. 2 overall, take Patrik Laine.
  • No. 3—No. 5? Trade down or out as required.

Most of this probably comes from the fluidity of the draft after No. 3, but there is a reasonable argument to be made that the No. 7 pick might get you the best player on the board after the top two picks. For instance, who is the best defenseman in the draft? I think the 30 teams may split on the answer.

The Gretzky statue is going to get another tour of the downtown area over the summer, wonder if they add another statue in the years to come. I think we have the subject in our sights, all we have to do is enjoy the ride.

SAIL ON, NORTHLANDS

I will tell you the Stanley teams are special memories. Forced to choose, I would offer up the 1984, 1987 and 1990 clubs as my inner circle favorites. Further pushed on the matter, the 1987 team is probably the best one to my mind (Tikkanen was on the team, 99 and Coffey were still there, too). It is a ridiculous argument of course, they were all beautiful.

I loved that 2006 team, and for me, that is the team I will say goodbye to tonight. When the Oilers move over, the statue and the Stanleys and the future go, too. Memories of Stanley Cups live forever, but that 2006 team was the last great moment, the last time chills. In this beautiful game, you rarely get a chance to bond with a team as this city did in 2006, and that memory remains with me today. Thank you Chris, thank you Fernando, thank you Ryan, thank you Dwayne, thank you Jason, thank you Shawn, thank you Ales.

There was a time in this century when giants walked among us. When they turn off the lights tonight, that team may well be forgotten as time passes. Not for me. They shine like a diamond. Always.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

10 this morning, TSN1260. Memories from Bruce McCurdy, Nathan Dempsey and Steve Lansky, and we will open up the phone lines for your memories, too. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. What an incredible ride.

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Big Dan

Professor Q:
Big Dan,

Comrie, right?

Well he came back and made up. So I think all is well with him. Why does Torres hate Edmonton?

And it appears thecaptainethanmoreau wasn’t there. Is he jaded?

unca miltie

Professor Q,

Thanks, the two Kens and the two Bob’s falkenburg and Wall were guys I knew back in the day

season not played

Professor Q,

I think somebody was probably talking about a trade that might happen.

I’m guessing Florida views Ekblad much the same way Edmonton views McDavid in regard to trading them.

PunjabiOil

Dreger suggesting Klefbom wouldn’t be enough for Hanonic.

http://www.todaysslapshot.com/from-the-ice/dreger-chiarelli-must-bite-hard-land-hamonic/

Let’s hope he is as informed as he was when gushing Talbots acquisition cost.

No way is 7 years of team control Klefbom worth giving up for a player the Islanders have to move to one of three locations

Pajamah

Is it throat surgery for Nurse?

As if sounding like a 35 year old Dave Manson won’t make the guy any more terrifying.

I heard he once took a punch from Stan Weir and survived to tell the tale.

Professor Q

season not played:
Professor Q,

Hall for Ekblad?

Please.

Please? What do you mean please?

Someone asked for a trade where one might win if they were trading Hall. There will always be Doughty, Karlsson, etc., though.

Ekblad will be the next great D.

Professor Q

unca miltie,

B. J. MacDonald, “Rusty” Patenaude, Ron Chipperfield, and a goalie/coach from what I saw (and could have been a bit more).

http://globalnews.ca/news/2620841/over-150-oilers-players-alumni-staff-to-say-farewell-to-rexall-place/

season not played

Professor Q,

Hall for Ekblad?

Please.

Professor Q

Big Dan,

Comrie, right?

unca miltie

My pvr attempt may or may not have worked.Did they interview any of the originals? Ken Brown? Ken Baird? Bob Falkenburg?

Big Dan

Professor Q:
Torres, Souray, and Pronger would have had a blast.

Any others who left like them and ‘hated’ Edmonton after?

Moog held out for a year. Of course corson. Bj McDonald didn’t like the fire hydrant comment. I know there were some guys sather played hardball with and traded.

It was fun to get nostalgic. For the last 10 years, guys were relieved to leave Edmonton. The ones who stayed – Lowe, mact- didn’t get to laugh and reminisce about old times. The glare of oiler faithful was deafening.

Lloyd B.

bendelson,

Used that street for Oiler games for years as well. Odd it always remained so secret.

Oddspell

Skeeziks:
Last night one of the announcers mentioned that the Oilers won 5 Stanley Cups in their first seven years. If they win the Draft Lottery on April 30, 2016 they will have drafted first overall 5 times in the last seven years at Rexall.

Please correct me if my calculations are wrong but I find that eerie. Sort of like bookends.

Well they entered the league in 1979 and won their 5th cup in 1990, so I’m going to say that’s not quite right.

1984-1990 is 7 seasons though.

Professor Q

GCW_69,

Dear Gord, man. You’re underselling Hall.

Ekblad >> Lindholm. By far.

Big Dan

Why the love in for bob cole? There should have been a looong sendoff for hot rod, who is as big a part of oilers history as any player, including Gretzky.

And why John Shannon? He’s such an asshole. They should’ve got Morley Scott or maybe someone from the current crew.

Other than that, it was a perfect send off.

I feel bad for Kevin Lowe. Yeah, he made mistakes and really fucked things up. But this guy is an oiler icon just like smytty. First pick, first goal, most games, most cups, coach, gm (was ok until the pronger deal and tambo hiring). 10 years ago he was a hero. Tragic how far things have come. The applause seemed cold.

I am glad they didn’t mention katz much. Worst owner in pro sports. What a fun night. Surprised Bernie Nicholls was there. I thought, like damphousse after the last 40 goal oiler season, he asked for a trade. It was edmonton’s last final 4 finish in 14 years.

GCW_69

Professor Q: Hall for Ekblad?

Hall for Lindholm.

wintoon

Last night one of the announcers mentioned that the Oilers won 5 Stanley Cups in their first seven years. If they win the Draft Lottery on April 30, 2016 they will have drafted first overall 5 times in the last seven years at Rexall.

Please correct me if my calculations are wrong but I find that eerie. Sort of like bookends.

BanffOil

I was over the moon at the recognition and adoration that the Banff boys got over the last few days(Barry and Ryan- Barry went to HS with my mom and I grew up next to his family home and my best man lives in the Smyth’s ex family home, also my old boss from my bartending days is Kev’s brother in in law). I hope that one day the oilers can forge a bond with a new generation of fan in Banff!

Most of all, thanks for your great site! It has kept me sane through the lean ages. I apologize for getting all emotional and adding little to the conversation!

Hooperdan

I recall reading a comment recently about a man who was aided in getting over the passing of his father by the time he spent with his mom during the 2006 cup run. Not sure if the comment was posted here or one of Bruce’s articles. Does anyone remember it? And if so can you post a link?

Walter Sobchak

I thought the night was done in great style.

Really strange Cujo & Arnott were not part of the festivities.

Would have loved to have heard the crowd if Dougy Wieght came out, it’s to bad for us that NYI are playoff bound but good for Doug.

Can’t wait for the new barn to get built, I finally might have a shot at season tickets finally, splitting tickets sucked the last 5 years., currently 900+ on the list.

Alpine

Stelio Kontos,

Downtown is full of random parking lots, so I don’t see it being too big an issue. A lot of people park in the neighbourhood by rexall as it is and walk a few blocks so I see the same sort of thing happening downtown. Yeah it will be congested but thats something every arena in the league probably deals with on game night to different extents.

Downtown is more walkable than the current location so I anticipate people parking and walking in all directions or getting dropped off/picked up on separate blocks.

Gayfish

Alpine: 104 ave is still a functioning road despite construction, so I doubt anything the city does will mess it up. PCL are the ones putting everything together mostly.

In honesty, my biggest fear it there will be almost no parking, and the LRT stop is kinda rinky dink. Not to mention parking around the LRT is tough to find. That will likely be the cities contribution.

It always amazes me how fast the last few months of construction go on any project.

kooler

Ok…we win the Austin sweeps and trade for Duclair and OEL. Write it down.

Grant Fuhr really was the greatest goalie ever.

Professor Q

Was Jochen Hecht there? I still remember the clomping skates.

Professor Q

Torres, Souray, and Pronger would have had a blast.

Any others who left like them and ‘hated’ Edmonton after?

Suntory Hanzo

G Money,

ah…was watching online feed and avery so often would buffer and miss someone. did so exactly when 97 was announced.

Professor Q

Ice Sage: Gelinas was present.Tikkanen, Arnott, Grier, Salo, Pouzar and Mikhnov would have made my night

They could have said Salong, Rexall!

G Money

Suntory Hanzo: Rent a Rexi

Pretty sure I saw Reijo.

Suntory Hanzo

Professor Q,

Gelinas was there. 1/3 of the kid line.

Ice Sage

Professor Q:
Alex Mogilny! Miro Satan! Jimmy Carson! Martin Gelinas!

Haha I actually have no idea but this is fun.

Gelinas was present. Tikkanen, Arnott, Grier, Salo, Pouzar and Mikhnov would have made my night

Suntory Hanzo

Was happy to see Lineman (one of my faves back in the day) and Klima (my first jersey)

Would have been cool to see Ken Nilsson or Rent a Rexi.

Ice Sage

Alpine:
I am so bitter and it’s probably because i’m a new age fan and the Oilers have missed the playoffs for almost half my life, but I found myself unable to get too sentimental. I liked the player entrances, gretzky’s especially, then joey getting to carry out the banner made me almost tear up. Objectively, a pretty nice sendoff but some of it just felt so hollow, having to send off the old barn with a 29th place finish.

I wanted someone to grab the mic from Shannon and publicly rip Oilers management the last ten years for robbing the fans of their money and Hall et al of playoff appearances.

I was at the game and ceremony.

2 thoughts:

1. Like you, I would have liked to see someone pass the torch and look to the future (even if it’s wishful thinking), something like “we’ve done some amazing things here, a foundation for even greater things with these amazing young players, etc. etc. blah blah” Hall came close to this sentiment. IMO there is too much rearview mirror gazing with the Oilers.

2. Ryan Smyth will never have to pay for a meal in this town.

Professor Q

Adam Oates! Miro Satan! Jimmy Carson! Martin Gelinas!

Haha I actually have no idea but this is fun.

Alpine

Stelio Kontos:
With the city involved, I half expect the first few games to be back at rexall. Traffic lights don’t work or something stupid.

104 ave is still a functioning road despite construction, so I doubt anything the city does will mess it up. PCL are the ones putting everything together mostly.

G Money

Haven’t heard anything about Nurse other than the one tweet about surgery.

At the time of the injury they were saying throat, but that certainly isn’t definitive.

geowal

…and of course it ran so long my PVR quit before it was over (even though I set it to record an extra hour, should have known). Youtube hunting here I go.

geowal

DenverOilFan: How could I forget Tikkanen.
Graves
Cleary
Rolosson
MA Bergeron
Omark

Jeff Beaukeboom, Vincent Damphousse, much of the 90s.

Alpine

I am so bitter and it’s probably because i’m a new age fan and the Oilers have missed the playoffs for almost half my life, but I found myself unable to get too sentimental. I liked the player entrances, gretzky’s especially, then joey getting to carry out the banner made me almost tear up. Objectively, a pretty nice sendoff but some of it just felt so hollow, having to send off the old barn with a 29th place finish.

I wanted someone to grab the mic from Shannon and publicly rip Oilers management the last ten years for robbing the fans of their money and Hall et al of playoff appearances.

Centre of attention

G Money:

Not good. Not good at all.

Centre of attention

http://www.generalfanager.com/players/2285

Caleb Jones signed to an ELC today apparently?

You have to think Bear is close, too.

Professor Q

Clay: Awesome.

I hope it isn’t his eye.It looked like his throat, but hard to tell.

Definitely hope not. Never good to spend time in the voice box.

Soup Fascist

G Money:

Has it been determined if it was a jaw, throat or collar bone issue? It looked like the puck hit his throat but then he seemed to be reaching up to his collarbone.

frjohnk

G Money:
Ugh, heard it’s surgery for Nurse tonight.

That’s terrible.

Clay

G Money:

Awesome.

I hope it isn’t his eye. It looked like his throat, but hard to tell.

G Money

.@EdmontonOilers D Darnell Nurse is having surgery due to the block shot tonight. Expect an update from the team tomorrow. #Oilers— Joshua Boscorelli (@Boscorelli93) 7 April 2016

Soup Fascist

stephen sheps:
Edit: I know the once an Oiler always an Oiler thing is something the players all seem to hold dear, but I was really shocked to see Corson included.

I really didn’t like it when he complained to the officials that he deserved an assist on presenting the new banner to Roger’s Place instead of that “goldbricking Joey Moss”.

Professor Q

stephen sheps,

I have missed A LOT of Oilers controversy, being in my 20s, so I’m not up to snuff with it all. Apparently there’s a lot.

G Money

Ugh, heard it’s surgery for Nurse tonight.

Professor Q

stephen sheps: Jussi was there – the rest on your list were notably not present.

Really surprised Tik wasn’t involved. Not so much MacT though – he probably wants to avoid the public eye. The wounds of his demotion are likely too fresh.

Isn’t Buchburger in management in Bakersfield? That might explain his absence.

I missed a bit, so that could be so!

Yes I think he’s Manager of Player Personnel for the Oilers.