NEW MOTHER NATURE

by Lowetide

The Edmonton Oilers won a road game—again—and put a poor weekend and Toronto behind them. The weekend ahead has its own challenges, but beating the Winnipeg Jets is no free bingo spot—and it was a slump buster for several players badly in need of success. HDSC: 8-9.

  • Todd McLellan on McDavid—Draisaitl: “Speed & finesse. The combination of both makes it hard for the opposing team.” 

NO SUGAR TONIGHT, YEAR OVER YEAR

  • Oilers in October 2015: 4-8-0, goal differential -7
  • Oilers in October 2016: 7-2-0, goal differential +10
  • Oilers in November 2015: 4-7-2, goal differential -6
  • Oilers in November 2016: 5-8-2 goal differential -3
  • Oilers in December 2015: 7-6-1, goal differential -9
  • Oilers in December 2016: 1-0-0, goal differential +3
  • Oilers after 25, 2015: 8-15-2, goal differential -16
  • Oilers after 25, 2016: 13-10-2, goal differential +10

Oilers back on pace for more than 90 points (92) now and who knows, maybe they spike at some point, add at the deadline, and push into the postseason for the first time since 2006. Plenty of wobble in that game in Winnipeg though, lots of cleaning up to do defensively. One good thing? The power play!

DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT

oilers-d-dec-1

  • Stats via NHL.com, HockeyStats.ca and NaturalStatTrick.
  • Nurse—Larsson went 10-5 in 10:19 together, as Nurse played with Benning for less than a minute last night. The pairing went 4-1 against the Scheifele line, 5-3 against Perreault and 6-3 against Lowry. I don’t know if McLellan changed things up because Klefbom was struggling, but this duo did okay together. Larsson picked up an assist.
  • Klefbom—Benning went 9-4 in 8:43 together, as the two Swedes played less than a minute (1-3) as a tandem. Went 6-1 in 2:04 against the Scheifele line, the rest was small samples (well, so is 2:04 but that number stands out among small samples).
  • Sekera—Russell went 10-15 in 11:19 together. Got caved (2-10) against the Scheifele line in 5:01.
  • In fact, let’s run Scheifele against all the blue and his line’s Corsi numbers: Larsson (3:28, 0-5), Sekera (5:01, 10-2), Nurse (3:49, 0-4), Russell (4:33, 9-2), Benning (2:54, 2-5), Klefbom (2:04, 1-6).
  • I wonder if Paul Maurice was trying to get that line out against Sekera—Russell more often? I would think, if you saw those numbers (compared to the other pairings), you would want to get that matchup for more than 90 seconds a period, no? Interested in your view on that point.

FORWARDS, LAST NIGHT

oilers-forwards-dec-1

  • The Pouliot—Nuge—Eberle line had a grand night, going 6-0 in 4:10 against the Scheifele line and owning the Morrissey—Byfuglien pairing 11-3. Nuge had an assist, Pouliot got a goal and six shots. Nuge just 27 percent in the dot, and of course 93 took an ill-timed penalty in the third period. I will count last night as a major victory for the trio. Keep it going, men!
  • Lucic—McDavid—Draisaitl had a Moonstruck evening to my eye, the points totaled (Lucic 0-2-2; McDavid 0-3-3 and Leon 2-1-3) eight for the trio by the time the whistle blew. The line went just 6-4 against the Little line, but the power play mowed all the lawns in Winnipeg last night.
  • Pitlick—Caggiula—Slepyshev had a good night in my opinion, the kid lines are dandy when they work. No points, but five shots for the line and I thought the trio did fine work. Slepyshev made one play that was exactly awesome, driving down the left side, stopping up at the end boards, and then with one hand quietly walked back out toward the faceoff dot. He did it while holding off a defender. Man strength. Speed. I like this player. Caggiula had a physical confrontation and looked promising off the rush, although nothing rhymed. I hope to see this group again.
  • Maroon—Letestu—Kassian had a dream night, just stupid good. First the points: Maroon (1-0-1), Letestu (2-1-3) and Kassian (0-1-1) had the best night a fourth line has seen since 1990 in terms of the boxcars (I think, correct me if I am wrong). Just 1-5 against the Andrew Copp line, but who the hell cares? A nice game. (And yes I know I am cheating because PP, but I do like this line despite the slow boots).

TYLER BENSON

A nice article by Steve Ewen of the Vancouver Sun about Nolan Patrick shines a little light on Tyler Benson’s injury history. In the article, Benson suggests that Patrick should be patient in recovery, making sure he is 100 percent ready before returning—and not to worry about his draft number.

  • Benson: “I think we rushed back from the first injury, which caused the second injury. You just want to make sure you are 100 per cent when you’re ready to go so you can start playing and nothing else can occur.” Source

This is important stuff, as Patrick has a chance to go No. 1 overall and Vancouver is going to run him heavy a year from now. Heh. For Oiler purposes, this offers some insight into Benson’s struggles a year ago, and perhaps about how junior players get handled. Dangerous stuff here, these are teenagers and they do not make millions to stay in the lineup.

TAYLOR BECK

The AHL announced its Player of the Month Awards and Taylor Beck won the whole damn shooting match. The winger posted 9gp, 7-8-15 and would have to be considered the top recall option if the team is in need of a scoring forward. The Condors do not have a lot shaking offensively, Beck is  where it’s at in Bakersfield.

MARK LETESTU

Mark Letestu had 5×4 success a year ago, so his 4.65/60 number should not be a surprise to anyone. Milan Lucic has a number that should shock, but last season Letestu was 4.11/60. I have long argued he is a useful player, a rather unusual Swiss army knife, but am pleased he is getting a little sunshine today. Well earned.

LEON DRAISAITL

I mentioned yesterday that McDavid—Leon would probably have some chem, and eight points later (for the line) we no longer have a RW problem but the center depth chart is less fantastic than a night ago. I wonder if the club recalls Anton Lander? It gives coach McLellan all kinds of options, and with Matt Hendricks sitting another PK man would not go amiss.

Leon with McDavid means the coach can run hell out of the top two lines, and I expect he might. The Nuge line cashed last night late, so maybe better days ahead for the veteran trio.

DADDY RAN THE WHISKEY IN A BIG BLACK DODGE

Sometimes I think I think things, and they aren’t really true. It looked to me as though Oscar Klefbom was replaced by Darnell Nurse on the top pairing last night, and it worked. However, in sussing through the numbers, the top pairing last night appeared to be Sekera—Russell, if only because they faced the Scheifele line most often. The mind boggles. Here are some shift chart items of note:

  • Opening faceoff, Klefbom with Larsson. It was a 35-second shift, ended in a goal and of course it did. The Oilers first two minutes of each game have become a thing, and this is something that occurs with young players. Dave Hunter used to take a penalty just before the end of a period as a young player. Sather benched him, the problem went away.
  • Darnell Nurse jumps over the boards at 3:04, Adam Larsson at 3:22 and they spend until 4 minutes together. Both men have their next shift at 7:35.
  • Oscar Klefbom gets back on the ice at 3:58, a few seconds later Matt Benning jumps over the boards. By 10:14 of the first period, they are a pairing.
  • This kind of adjustment happens hundreds of times during a season, and it could be injury or confidence or the coach playing a hunch.
  • What I find interesting is this: Nurse played well with Larsson, and the puck was headed in a good direction. Klefbom and Benning also had success. Young men do not develop in a straight line, and this little adjustment is such a good sign in so many ways. Why? Up until this point, I felt the Oilers would have to run Klef no matter, because the options available were so much less attractive. That may still be true—this is a small sample size—but I have to say that the youngsters appear to be progressing a little, and not just Oscar this time. Thoughts?
  • Source

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

At 10 this morning, TSN 1260. Scheduled to appear:

  • Steve Lansky, Big Mouth Sports. Steve and I will talk TFC, the Oilers and Leafs, and NHL players going to the Olympics.
  • Guy Flaming, The Pipeline Show. Craig Button’s new list is out, any surprises for Guy?
  • Matt Iwanyk, TSN1260. Should the Oilers run Leon at RW? Seriously? What about that beautiful center depth?
  • Paul Almeida, SSE. We will chat about Edmonton’s line shuffling and if this is a playoff team.

10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!

 

 

 

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BONE207

Side: This season I feel like I’ve been noticing that if the Oilers are playing well in a particular game or the Oilers are crushing the opposing team, Drew Remenda seems VERRY quiet.It seems like when the Oilers are doing very well against someone, the only time you hear Drew say something is if he is providing his input on a missed or earned penalty, or is going “WOWWWWWW” at Connor McDavid being Connor McDavid.If the Oilers are doing poorly, you hear Remenda comment about what the player should do (“he should have passed!” or “he should have shot! you should always shoot from there!”), or he comments on the deficiencies in the team, or how they need to pull it together, etc. etc.

I could be wrong, but that’s how it feels to me.

But that’s using the Ear Test. Check the fancy stats on that for reliability

Walter Sobchak

I hardly ever post here; I am a daily reader though.
Thought I would put my two cents in.

This Russell is a real interesting conversation on both sides of the spectrum, on one side you have the Eye’s and on the other the Analytics.

If you read Oilersnation, Matt Henderson is just getting hammered over there, I thought he had a decent article on Russell, except if you don’t hate Eberle and if you don’t like Russell it’s a place for hockey Neanderthals to spew nonsense at each other.

I like that people have a voice here, whether you think Russell is by “EYE” a good player or if he’s making the mistakes that analytics says he’s going to continue making, there is a true a sense of getting to the bottom of something that is appealing to me.

People here also seem to moderate themselves on a completely different level. This is also very appealing to me.

Thought I’d share that, Keep up the good debates, keep up the wonderful postings.

Oh, lastly, Steve Earl was wonderful at the Edmonton Folk Fest and seen him in the Agri during Copperhead Road days.
Justin Towne Earl, might be better than than the old man as well. have a listen to “Halfway to Jackson”

Bruce McCurdy

Woodguy: Aside from a couple posts I thought it was better than usual.

I’m not saying this to be a dick, I actually thought about 3/4 way through the thread that “nice to see people are having a conversation and not just grinding axe”

Other than a couple of posts trashing Allan & David & Kurt & my blog, yeah, it was great. 😐

As one who knows all of these gents personally, I found some of the personal comments in this thread to be bordering on hurtful. Certainly not why I come here.

CrazyCoach

square_wheels: Undeniable talent, easily one of the most brilliant songwriters of the country genre.

No argument from me!

N64

Woodguy: I’m writing a thing on all Oilers Dmen that should be done next week.

When I was writing that I had an “ah ha!” moment where I saw why sawhimgood and fancystats diverge and figured they were both right.

Will write that right after, should be done before Christmas.

Nobel peace prize, baby.

N64

Bruce McCurdy: It seems lonely in here.

It must get pretty lonely watching every other writer in town get attacked. You must be doing it wrong 😉

You’re right. Conversation is a thread that connects. Not a tug of war rope.

stevezie

Seems several of us were at the same Steve Earle concert a few years back. Life-changing gets thrown around so much it sounds fake, so I’ll just say that night sent my musical taste down a new path.

JimmyV1965

Offside: Math doesn’t lie. But interpreting the numbers when data is incomplete or diverse gets tricky. When one keeps this in mind they are less likely to accuse others of losing the plot.
As an aside, John Oliver cherry picks his stats too. Even his premise is flawed. 1 in 4 are not skeptical on climate change – they are just skeptical on how much is man -made and what the net effects will be. Also they tend to think the drastic solutions will not pay off in such a way as to compensate for the damage done through their implementation

Agreed. There’s a big difference between cimate change and catostrophic manmade global warming.

Woodguy

Bruce McCurdy: You’re always good, Ben. Most contriubotrs here are always or at least usually good.

I did specify “one person” and “several others” as opposed to the more universal “y’all”. But collectively enough to make the overall comments section very unenjoyable, indeed uncomfortable reading for this regular visitor/contributor to this fine blog.

Aside from a couple posts I thought it was better than usual.

I’m not saying this to be a dick, I actually thought about 3/4 way through the thread that “nice to see people are having a conversation and not just grinding axe”

Woodguy

Bruce McCurdy: Since even mentioning Russell is anathema to courteous commentary, I’m going to skip him and consider his partner, Andrej Sekera, who seems to have had a bad game last night according to what I have read above.

Some stats for Sekera:
24:59 TOI, 3:12 PP TOI (3 GF), 4:20 SH TOI (0 GA), 17:27 EV TOI (+1/-0),

2 shots, 6 blocked shots

Boxcars 0-2-2, +1

Most common opponents (EV): Byfuglien, Wheeler, Morrissey, Little, Enstrom, Ehlers, Trouba, Laine, Scheifele, Stafford, all 5:52 – 8:52 | all others < 2:40, in other words a steady diet of WPG’s Top 6 / Top 4 a.k.a. “the toughs”

EV Corsi +13/-20

EV shots +8/-9

All this with a weak partner who is playing on his wrong side. If this is a bad game by Sekera then I’m looking forward to when he starts playing better.

Imagine if he had Dave Manson’s kid as a partner?

Man.

Woodguy

meanashell11: Trust me, I married a girl from Chicoutimi. We live in Greenwich CT, just outside of NYC. It is consider the Gold Coast. We have lived here for 14 years. Every day my wife asks when are we moving to Montreal!

and that’s a CT suburb of NYC and not a 1000 places that are worse.

MInd you, Montreal is so bloody good you probably want to move back there from most everywhere else on earth.

Woodguy

stevezie:
CrazyCoach,

Steve Earle is one of the top four live shows I have ever seen. Blew my mind out the back of my skull. The band holds him back, he should just do all acoustic, all the time.

Woodguy,

Thank-you.

Chia and I are in the same boat. How much statistical slack do you cut Russell for playing on his off wing? Any? (Apologies if you have already answered this, I know I’ve seen LT ask)

I’m writing a thing on all Oilers Dmen that should be done next week.

When I was writing that I had an “ah ha!” moment where I saw why sawhimgood and fancystats diverge and figured they were both right.

Will write that right after, should be done before Christmas.

Woodguy

commonfan14:
Can anyone think of a recent example of a playoff team unloading a UFA before the deadline?

It’s hard to imagine them flipping Russell if they’re still in the running, even if Benning remains in the mix after Davidson comes back. Depth and all that.

If they’re out of the running, Russell will definitely be moved to clear the way for the Lowe jersey retirement event at the end of the year.

No more buildings to close after all, and Smytty isn’t retiring again.

Doug Wilson sold an old, done and slow Doug Murray to Shero in PIT for 2 seconds in the spring of 2013.

SJS was a playoff team.

Great trade for Wilson.

Robbery.

square_wheels

CrazyCoach,

Anytime he plays the mando, I’m taken back to a grandfather and a great-grandfather (who was a professional musician in pre-war Europe).

Undeniable talent, easily one of the most brilliant songwriters of the country genre.

CrazyCoach

Bruce McCurdy: I saw Steve Earle at the Jube just after “Townes” had been released (or maybe just before). He did an entire set of TVZ songs and in between tunes spoke effusively and emotionally of his friend and mentor. It was absolutely wonderful.

One of the best Steve Earle shows I saw was on a pier in Seattle as part of their Summer Nights on The Pier promotion. Well, my buddy, D, from Esterhazy embark South to see Steve Earle. D is a wonderful human being and had never seen SE, so I drug him along and brought him a ticket. Long story short, I hit the first gas station and pick up a six pack after crossing the 49th. I have about 4 during the 2.5 drive down, and then another 2 at dinner, while poor D has to limit himself. After hitting the show and getting yet another beer, D says to me, “You better slow down or you won’t make the show”, to which I reply, “D, I just need enough in me to feel the hurting when the first hurting tune comes on!”

Well, the warmup act goes on (Steve’s son, Dustin) and SE comes out and plays the latest from his “Transcendental Blues” album, followed by a couple standards, then he plays, “My Old Friend The Blues.” Well, D probably sees the small tears rolling down my cheek, and with timing like only a Sask. boy would have and asks, “Is the hurting coming through?”

I couldn’t lie to the boy, so I had to say, “Yes, but it’s a good hurting D.”

Suffice to say, it was an awesome show!

square_wheels

Bohologo,

That is one hell of a great point.

Cassandra

Bruce McCurdy: Brian Campbell says hi from 2010.

Interesting example. Brian Campbell is/was an excellent player. As good as you can expect from a free agent.

The Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in the spring of 2010, and then they traded away for peanuts a 24 year old Andrew Ladd, a 23 year old Kris Versteeg, and a 24 year old Dustinn Byfuglien. The following year they had to let Troy Brouwer go.

These events are more closely tied than signing Campbell is to winning the Stanley Cup. No team has made better free agent signings than Chicago (HOssa too), but no team has lost more talent because of free agent signings than Chicago.

treevojo

Bruce Wayne:
I do think it is fair to consider that Russell has been playing on his offside which will hurt his numbers (despite the rhetoric)f.Though it will also hurt his partner’s numbers, which goes to show how good Sekera is.

My rule of thumb when wondering what Chiarelli thinks about a player is to listen to how the more intelligent media who cover the Oilers are talking.Take Jason Gregor.He’s neither a dummy nor a troll, but he believes in the same myths all these guys believe, and this interferes in their ability to see.

Gregor likes Russell.Staples likes Russell.Everybody but us likes Russell.I feel confident Chiarelli and McClellan like Russell too.But sometimes in life there are pleasant surprises.Russell not being re-signed to a long term contract would be one of them.

The other side of this is McDavid is unbellevable.I thought he would be the best player in hockey almost right away and yet he is so, so, so, much better than I expected.He might be good enough to carry the Oilers to the Stanley Cup no matter what Chiarelli does.

You use the terms “US” and “WE” a lot.

I know of Bruce Wayne and Caramel Batman.

Is there more then just those two in there?

Bruce McCurdy

Bruce Wayne: Listening to “Townes” right now.

I saw Steve Earle at the Jube just after “Townes” had been released (or maybe just before). He did an entire set of TVZ songs and in between tunes spoke effusively and emotionally of his friend and mentor. It was absolutely wonderful.

Cassandra

stevezie:
CrazyCoach,

Steve Earle is one of the top four live shows I have ever seen. Blew my mind out the back of my skull. The band holds him back, he should just do all acoustic, all the time.

Woodguy,

Thank-you.

Chia and I are in the same boat. How much statistical slack do you cut Russell for playing on his off wing? Any? (Apologies if you have already answered this, I know I’ve seen LT ask)

Listening to “Townes” right now.

Bruce McCurdy

Bruce Wayne: you don’t need to overpay free agents in order to be successful. Indeed, it holds you back from being successful.

Brian Campbell says hi from 2010.

--hudson--

RE: Lucic contract – I forget who said it first, but one consideration is the CBA expiry in 2022. It’s still 5 years away but it is likely there will be compliance buyouts (there has been every time the CBA is renewed/renegotiated). Second consideration, probably the more important one, is in year 4 his contract dollars go from 7-8 million dollars to 6. After that his contract goes down to 4-5 million dollars. At that point he becomes more attractive to budget teams if we assume his health remains and his production doesn’t drop. If his production drops, the Oilers are in trouble. If his health declines, then LTIR becomes an option.

I do agree with the general point, the Oilers cannot have another contract with poor value, or the chance at poor value like this. Not with McD’s and Drai needing new contracts soon.

Bruce McCurdy

CrazyCoach: I’ve been good.

Just focusing on the PP and Steve Earle

You’re always good, Ben. Most contriubotrs here are always or at least usually good.

I did specify “one person” and “several others” as opposed to the more universal “y’all”. But collectively enough to make the overall comments section very unenjoyable, indeed uncomfortable reading for this regular visitor/contributor to this fine blog.

Bruce McCurdy

Bruce Wayne: Gregor likes Russell. Staples likes Russell. Everybody but us likes Russell.

Since even mentioning Russell is anathema to courteous commentary, I’m going to skip him and consider his partner, Andrej Sekera, who seems to have had a bad game last night according to what I have read above.

Some stats for Sekera:
24:59 TOI, 3:12 PP TOI (3 GF), 4:20 SH TOI (0 GA), 17:27 EV TOI (+1/-0),

2 shots, 6 blocked shots

Boxcars 0-2-2, +1

Most common opponents (EV): Byfuglien, Wheeler, Morrissey, Little, Enstrom, Ehlers, Trouba, Laine, Scheifele, Stafford, all 5:52 – 8:52 | all others < 2:40, in other words a steady diet of WPG's Top 6 / Top 4 a.k.a. "the toughs"

EV Corsi +13/-20

EV shots +8/-9

All this with a weak partner who is playing on his wrong side. If this is a bad game by Sekera then I'm looking forward to when he starts playing better.

GMB3

http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/quick-shifts-jesse-puljujarvi-connor-mcdavid-eberle-chad-johnson-maple-leafs/

Sorry for clogging up the feed today with multiple posts, but I found this article interesting.

JP talks about improving his release and how Slepy has the quickest release on the team (which is of no surprise to me)

I hope one day Slepy gets a shot on the PP and a run of games on McDavids wing. Love me some Russian snipers

meanashell11

Woodguy: Ah.

MTL offered a similar if not slightly better contract if hub-bub is to believed.

Also, we often talk about “wives who don’t want to live in Edmonton”

What doesn’t get talked about is Canadian wives who are much, much. much more comfortable in a place like Edmonton as opposed to a place like New Jesrey or Dallas.

From what I hear its a thing,

Trust me, I married a girl from Chicoutimi. We live in Greenwich CT, just outside of NYC. It is consider the Gold Coast. We have lived here for 14 years. Every day my wife asks when are we moving to Montreal!

Cassandra

Diablo,

The first point is that all of those contracts (Lucic, Erickson, Ladd) are bad contracts. The second point is that you don’t need to overpay free agents in order to be successful. Indeed, it holds you back from being successful.

Even in the best case scenario in which Lucic plays reasonably well for most of his contract, he is going to cost the Oilers either RNH or Eberle, whether it is sooner or later. That is a big problem, because RNH and Eberle are much better players than Lucic right now, let alone five years from now.

CrazyCoach

Bruce McCurdy: A couple of comments written hurling accusations at “one side” could be applied equally to the other side. What in the hell ever happened to the middle ground? It seems lonely in here.
This after a convincing win on the road. Beyond the pale.

I’ve been good.

Just focusing on the PP and Steve Earle

kinger_OIL

Diablo,

– I wouldn’t be too upset if Russel signed for 2x3mm. I’d be livid/not surprised if its 4x4mm

Bruce McCurdy

Lovely comments section, with one person tactlessly attacking our host and my friend LT, and several others attacking my boss and my other co-worker at CoH and even our comments section.

A couple of comments written hurling accusations at “one side” could be applied equally to the other side. What in the hell ever happened to the middle ground? It seems lonely in here.

This after a convincing win on the road. Beyond the pale.

Cassandra

I do think it is fair to consider that Russell has been playing on his offside which will hurt his numbers (despite the rhetoric)f. Though it will also hurt his partner’s numbers, which goes to show how good Sekera is.

My rule of thumb when wondering what Chiarelli thinks about a player is to listen to how the more intelligent media who cover the Oilers are talking. Take Jason Gregor. He’s neither a dummy nor a troll, but he believes in the same myths all these guys believe, and this interferes in their ability to see.

Gregor likes Russell. Staples likes Russell. Everybody but us likes Russell. I feel confident Chiarelli and McClellan like Russell too. But sometimes in life there are pleasant surprises. Russell not being re-signed to a long term contract would be one of them.

The other side of this is McDavid is unbellevable. I thought he would be the best player in hockey almost right away and yet he is so, so, so, much better than I expected. He might be good enough to carry the Oilers to the Stanley Cup no matter what Chiarelli does.

GMB3

Letestu was also a pretty prolific scorer in his first year of college and the AHL.

GMB3

CrazyCoach: Do you remember him being a hulking guy, average size, or a tiny player?

I remember Greg Gardner.I see he’s the new Education guy for the WHL.Poor guy played here under the old ownership.

Letestu sounds like the typical Canadian small town kid.Hockey in winter, ball in summer.

I’m pretty sure he wasn’t very big. For what it’s worth, when I met him in Elk Point and I was 17, I would of put him as smaller than 5’11 for sure.

Yeah the guy who was MC’ing the event said he threw a no hitter the first year that Elk Point fielded a rep travel team.

Diablo

Ignore Bruce Wayne – he’s trolling us on Lucic, like he does on pretty much every topic.
Lucic has his warts (no player is perfect, except McDavid), but all 29 GMs in the league would give their left testicle to have Lucic on their team. Everyone wants the next Lucic – we have the real deal.

If you want to get better you need to sign free agents at some point – Van and NYI would trade Eriksson and Ladd for Lucic straight up in a heat beat. Now those were bad deals. Lucic was market value. Stop comparing him to Hall, they’re completely different players, and both have extreme value in the NHL.

Russell has been a decent #4 d-man for 3 playoff teams. He’s mobile but small, and therefore has his limitations. He plays a smart game that, to the best of his ability, makes use of his strengths and minimizes his weaknesses. The best thing about him, is that Chia signed him BEFORE Davidson got hurt. Defensive depth is a nice thing to have. When Davey gets back, Russell will be a very good 3rd pairing D. And we only committed to him for one year.

Due to injuries, Klefbom hasn’t played a lot. He’s still improving but there are going to be rough patches – BUT he’s got the physical tools to be a #1 …. its the mental part of the game that needs more consistency. I like him fine. Same goes for Nurse – its way too early to say what he’s going to be.

Keep the PP humming. That’ll keep us in the playoff hunt until the trade deadline – if that happens, then I’ll judge Chia on what he does at the trade deadline. Until then, I’m going to reserve judgement, as he was dealt the most unbalanced roster in the league. It takes time to fix a mess like that. Aside from Reinhart, I’m fine with what he’s done so far – he’s given TMac a team that can be competitive against any team in the league. It’s up to the players and coaches to find consistency.

CrazyCoach

stevezie: CrazyCoach,
Steve Earle is one of the top four live shows I have ever seen. Blew my mind out the back of my skull. The band holds him back, he should just do all acoustic, all the time.

Saw him live here in 2012 with the acoustic set, and he rocked it as always, then he came back 2015 with the latest incarnation of the Dukes, who are the best Dukes ever, and I’ve seen him 11 times since 1987. Part of the new Dukes strength is the husband/wife partnership of Eleanor Whitmore and Chris Masterson, who also have their own materiel as The Mastersons.

Chachi

Bruce Wayne: Lucic’s contract isn’t worth a seventh round pick.I don’t even think there is a debate on this.Don’t believe me, ask yourself this:

If he didn’t have a NMC and the Oilers left him unprotected, would Las Vegas take him?

If the Oilers tried to trade him in-season, could they trade him without retaining salary, or taking a bad contract back?

If the Oilers tried to trade him in the off-season, could they trade him without retaining salary, or taking a bad contract back?

Or, if you prefer, what do you think would be “fair value” for Lucic?

Yes, Las Vegas would take him. No doubt about it.

Yes, they could trade him without retaining salary and without taking a bad contract back.

Fair value for Lucic would be much much more than a 7th round draft pick.

CrazyCoach

GMB3: IIRC, he was pretty dominant playing lower level bantam and not many of those guys get as much attention. For example Greg Gardiner is a similar age, played for Team Pacific, drafted by PG. Had a decent career and played for the U of A and now is playing pro in the ECHL I believe (or was last time I checked). I don’t think Letestu was viewed to be as much of a prospect as him growing up, especially when they were younger, yet he ended up being a dominant Jr A player and making the NHL.
Letestu and his wife got married in Elk Point I believe, and he threw out the opening pitch for the Midget baseball team when they hosted AA provincials a few years back. Was quite the ball player when he was younger I’ve been told

Do you remember him being a hulking guy, average size, or a tiny player?

I remember Greg Gardner. I see he’s the new Education guy for the WHL. Poor guy played here under the old ownership.

Letestu sounds like the typical Canadian small town kid. Hockey in winter, ball in summer.

stevezie

CrazyCoach,

Steve Earle is one of the top four live shows I have ever seen. Blew my mind out the back of my skull. The band holds him back, he should just do all acoustic, all the time.

Woodguy,

Thank-you.

Chia and I are in the same boat. How much statistical slack do you cut Russell for playing on his off wing? Any? (Apologies if you have already answered this, I know I’ve seen LT ask)

commonfan29

GMB3: McDavid needs to find himself a nice small town Albertan girl who wants to stay close to her family.

Stupid Smytty not having a daughter when he was 21…

GMB3

CrazyCoach: I really wish I could go back to the week after August 9, 1988 and find some of the articles I read about the Gretzky trade.One of them simply compared Janet Jones to Yoko Ono, and the eery similarities about breaking up something great. The writer then went on to say that at least Wayne wasn’t like John, and that was about the only good thing.I remember laughing reading it then, and it still brings a chuckle out of me.

Another random story of mine… Last year I wrote a paper on Wayne Gretzky for a “modern” (post 52′) history class. I went and examined news articles leading up to the trade and after. That was a theme that was repeated by more than one news outlet.

GMB3

CrazyCoach: I know Lestestu is listed at 5’11”, but I’m wondering what his height/weight were when he was playing junior?I know he played in the AJHL, but he seems to have decent speed, so I’m wondering if he was deemed too small to play in the WHL?

The reason I ask that, is that Letestu, to my eye, is a player who grew up playing as a smaller player.He does have good read and react, but obviously lacks the top end skating and stick handling skills.Maybe a late bloomer?If my theory is correct, he had to rely on his read & react more than a bigger player would, so hence the ability to find and hit a seam on a PP, plus I know from watching tons of Junior A over the years, that the gameis more about speed and skill than the power and brute strength of major junior.

And yes, I have the Steve Earle Album, “Townes”, just like every other album he put out.

I grew up an hour away from Elk Point. He’s the same age as my older sister and played with several of her friends growing up, and I remember watching him play for the Bonnyville Pontiacs when I was a kid.

IIRC, he was pretty dominant playing lower level bantam and not many of those guys get as much attention. For example Greg Gardiner is a similar age, played for Team Pacific, drafted by PG. Had a decent career and played for the U of A and now is playing pro in the ECHL I believe (or was last time I checked). I don’t think Letestu was viewed to be as much of a prospect as him growing up, especially when they were younger, yet he ended up being a dominant Jr A player and making the NHL.

Letestu and his wife got married in Elk Point I believe, and he threw out the opening pitch for the Midget baseball team when they hosted AA provincials a few years back. Was quite the ball player when he was younger I’ve been told

Edit:I threw Gardiner in as an example of a guy who played “off the beaten path” a bit but did get attention from major junior scouts.

commonfan29

Can anyone think of a recent example of a playoff team unloading a UFA before the deadline?

It’s hard to imagine them flipping Russell if they’re still in the running, even if Benning remains in the mix after Davidson comes back. Depth and all that.

If they’re out of the running, Russell will definitely be moved to clear the way for the Lowe jersey retirement event at the end of the year.

No more buildings to close after all, and Smytty isn’t retiring again.

CrazyCoach

GMB3: I honestly have never considered that….
McDavid needs to find himself a nice small town Albertan girl who wants to stay close to her family.

I really wish I could go back to the week after August 9, 1988 and find some of the articles I read about the Gretzky trade. One of them simply compared Janet Jones to Yoko Ono, and the eery similarities about breaking up something great. The writer then went on to say that at least Wayne wasn’t like John, and that was about the only good thing. I remember laughing reading it then, and it still brings a chuckle out of me.

CrazyCoach

All this talk about Russel, and all I can hear is Russel Peters imitating his dad.

Wonder if that’s how TMac chews him out in practice?

“Somebody gonna get hurt!”

GMB3

Woodguy: Ah.

MTL offered a similar if not slightly better contract if hub-bub is to believed.

Also, we often talk about “wives who don’t want to live in Edmonton”

What doesn’t get talked about is Canadian wives who are much, much. much more comfortable in a place like Edmonton as opposed to a place like New Jesrey or Dallas.

From what I hear its a thing,

I honestly have never considered that….

McDavid needs to find himself a nice small town Albertan girl who wants to stay close to her family.

Woodguy

Just heard on Gregor’s show that Davidson is expected back week of December 11.

I *know* that Benning will be coming out, but it should be Russell.

CrazyCoach

stevezie: Last year I thought that Letestu was lucky to be one of the only right hand shots on the team, so the pp was almost obliged to use him. This year he is again posting a good pp number, so I am happy to admit I may have undervalued him.
That said, how much do you think he is benefiting from just being the right hand at the right place at the right time?
CrazyCoach,
Have you heard Steve’s Van Zandt tribute record, “Townes”? Best of his career, for my money. Couldn’t recommend highly enough.

I know Lestestu is listed at 5’11”, but I’m wondering what his height/weight were when he was playing junior? I know he played in the AJHL, but he seems to have decent speed, so I’m wondering if he was deemed too small to play in the WHL?

The reason I ask that, is that Letestu, to my eye, is a player who grew up playing as a smaller player. He does have good read and react, but obviously lacks the top end skating and stick handling skills. Maybe a late bloomer? If my theory is correct, he had to rely on his read & react more than a bigger player would, so hence the ability to find and hit a seam on a PP, plus I know from watching tons of Junior A over the years, that the game is more about speed and skill than the power and brute strength of major junior.

And yes, I have the Steve Earle Album, “Townes”, just like every other album he put out.

GMB3

It’s crazy we’ve had this much success without the guy who I thought was one of our best defencemen all season last year. I was expecting another step forward from Davidson and him being a rock solid #3 or #4. Part of the Russell signing was for depth with injury concerns about both Davy and Klef, and it’s been a move that has paid off for Chia IMO. He may not post great fancy stats, but I think his skill set helps us more than having Benning and Gryba both in the lineup.

Woodguy

treevojo: No

It’s just commonly stated around here that edmonton offering the most was the reason Lucic signed here

Ah.

MTL offered a similar if not slightly better contract if hub-bub is to believed.

Also, we often talk about “wives who don’t want to live in Edmonton”

What doesn’t get talked about is Canadian wives who are much, much. much more comfortable in a place like Edmonton as opposed to a place like New Jesrey or Dallas.

From what I hear its a thing,

Woodguy

stevezie:
Bruce Wayne,

Yes, it is bad news if they read it the wrong way.

If the Oilers are dumb enough to think Kris Russel is a long term solution, that’s bad.

If the Oilers are smart enough to see that he is a passable stop-gap (despite his flaws he is better than nothing- especially with Davidson out), but that it would be savy to arrange for a right handed solution to the second pair- preferably one with some skill on the powerplay, then Russell’s value being higher now than it was in the summer is a good thing.

Honestly? I see it as even odds- maybe even slightly leaning towards the light. Chia hasn’t been great as Oilers GM, but he has spoken of the importance of righty-left pairings, had the sense to at least know Russell wasn’t worth the term OR dollars he was asking for, and only an absolute fool could look at the Oilers D and not see that a team with a top three of Sekera, Klefbom, and Larsson, with Davidson and Nurse coming up, and Gryba always available, needs a puck-moving right hander A LOT more than they need a lefty whose primary claim to fame is shot blocking.

We have own zone specialists a-plenty.

Even Russell fans can see this.

Chia’s no genius, but I don’t think he is dropped-on-his-head levels of stupid.

Excellent post.

If Chia really liked Russell then he wouldn’t have been a late summer 1 year signing.

Agreed that Chia is a convert to the Woodguy Church of Lefty-Righty.