BROKEN ARROW

by Lowetide

The Edmonton Oilers rolled through March with workmanlike efficiency. You could argue this is playoff hockey, and March argues it’s working. The criticisms of this team are known and actual, but the formula (McDavid scores, Talbot stops pucks, run out the clock with the lead) is working—for now. This is not a Stanley Cup team, not yet, because the balance and depth have not arrived yet. Those things are for another day, this one should be set aside for enjoyment and reflection. This morning, we can talk about  a 100-point season. Hallelujah!

  • Connor McDavid on Cam Talbot: “It’s the same story every night. They still get their chances but you can always rely on him back there.”

 ROLL AWAY THE STONE, 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: 7-2-5, goal differential +3
  • Oilers in January 2016: 4-5-2, goal differential -5
  • Oilers in January 2017: 9-4-1, goal differential +8
  • Oilers in February 2016: 3-8-2, goal differential -18
  • Oilers in February 2017: 6-6-0, goal differential -2
  • Oilers in March 2016: 8-8-0, goal differential +5
  • Oilers in March 2017: 9-3-1, goal differential +15
  • Oilers after 77, 2015-16: 30-40-7, goal differential -39
  • Oilers after 77, 2016-17: 43-25-9, goal differential +31
Edmonton has posted nine wins in two different months, January and March. I remain convinced February, and not getting buried during the tough schedule there, was a key to what we are seeing today. There are things we can talk about, like depth and balance, but it’s also true we are seeing a young team mature before our eyes. That’s worth celebrating.

 WHAT TO EXPECT FROM MARCH

  • At home to: Detroit, NY Islanders, Pittsburgh, Montreal (Expected: 2-2-0) (Actual 1-2-1)
  • At home to: Dallas, Boston, Vancouver, Los Angeles (Expected: 3-1-0) (Actual 4-0-0)
  • On the road to: Anaheim, Colorado (Expected: 1-1-0) (Actual: 1-1-0)
  • At home to: Colorado, Los Angeles, San Jose (Expected 1-1-1) (Actual: 3-0-0)
  • Overall expected result: 7-5-1, 15 points in 13 games
  • Final results: 9-3-1, 19 points in 13 games
Once they got back from Montreal, these Oilers set their sights and worked efficiently to reach the goal. Now, we can talk about ridiculous possibilities, like 100 points and Pacific Heights. Crazy talk! And yet, we are here.

DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT

  • Sekera-Russell went 15-18 in 13:30, including 10-10 with McDavid (over 7 minutes). Both defenders made astute defensive plays, went 8-8 against Karlsson-Thornton-Pavelski. Went 7-6 against Hertl-Boedker-Hansen. This is one of their better nights as a pairing in my opinion.
  • Klefbom-Larsson went 14-17 in 13:28 together, this pairing got the Nuge line and went 4-9 with them. Klefbom was mobile and made some astute passes, including the one that led to his assist. He shot the puck a lot. Adam Larsson was effective and aggressive, borderline angry for much of the night. Got into a fight defending his goalie and leveled a Sharks forward behind the net with several effective cross checks. Pairing went 9-10 against Karlsson-Thornton-Pavelski, 4-5 against Hertl-Boedker-Hansen.
  • Nurse-Benning were a tale of two cities. Benning doesn’t look completely right, so races to the puck were noticeable because we aren’t seeing his normal boots. Went 10-18 in 11:15 together, Nurse jumped up successfully with Russell and Larsson at different times. Went 9-3 against Donski-Marleau-Ward, but got caved (Benning was 4-13) against Haley-Tierney-Meier. I like this pairing, but on this night Nurse was the one who really caught my eye. Great speed, driving to the net, picking his spots when jumping into the play. I wonder if we see Gryba on Saturday.
  • Cam Talbot was splendid again, stopping 38 of 40, .950.
  • Numbers via NaturalStatTrick, HockeyStats.ca and NHL.com.

MCDAVID LINE

  • This is the whole story right here. Edmonton’s games often come down to three or four 97 moments that score (and about 10 more that could score). That’s not enough to win Stanley, but clean air for McDavid and Talbot stops could win a series.
  • Leon Draisaitl made about six ridiculous passes in this game, and took a musket to the gutsket from Jumbo Joe. Showed nice speed on his breakaway too.
  • Patrick Maroon will be talking about this season until he’s 102. Who can blame him? Great moment came after his first goal when McDavid kept shaking his head. I bet they put that in the movie.
  • Line went 9-8 against Karlsson-Thornton-Pavelski, 4-7 against Hertl-Boedker-Hansen. The only strong matchup I could find involved 97’s defensive opponent, and he struggled against Vlasic (7-18) and Braun (5-15).
  • Todd McLellan left McDavid out against Vlasic for 56 percent of 97’s icetime, suspect that’s something the Oilers might want to trim for a home playoff game.

NUGE LINE

  • Line went 8-11 on the evening, with just two shots between the three forwards. It isn’t enough and a key to playoff success is this line scoring. The line has had some offensive success in the last 10 games (more later).
  • Lots of verbal about this line, but I think they are looking better in the last dozen or so games. Important not to overreact to one game, and to give the other man his due: San Jose is a substantial team.
  • Line got scored on very early, but recovered from there and battled on a night when they were facing a tough opponent every shift.
  • Went 6-5 against Karlsson-Thornton-Pavelski, 4-1 against Donski-Marleau-Ward.

DD LINE

  • This isn’t going to work in a series against the Sharks. David Desharnais seems to be spending his evenings in the defensive zone trying to occupy the exact area identified as ‘no-man’s land’ and it’s going to cost goals. He’s an NHL player, but he looks betwixt and between on defense, a lot.
  • I like this line but they got fed last night. Went 3-11 against Haley-Tierney-Meier, Edmonton’s personnel is superior (and yes, I know Meier is a highly-touted player). Went 2-8 against Hertl-Boedker-Hansen, that’s a better group but good grief.
  • If McLellan has to find another center for these wings, who is it? Lander?

LETESTU LINE

  • This line should have played more than the 3line, they were having a better evening and it showed.
  • Caggiula rang a shot off the post just before McDavid’s shorthanded goal, and he really does seem to be coming into his own.
  • I’d run this line Saturday for sure.
  • Line went 7-0 with Klefbom-Larsson.
  • Line went 5-2 against Donski-Marleau-Ward, 4-1 against Hertl-Boedker-Hansen, 4-4 against Karlsson-Thornton-Pavelski.

STANDINGS

  • It’s almost impossible to comprehend this season against the backdrop of this time one year ago. The Edmonton Oilers have the best goal differential in the division, the second best record and that could change for the better come Saturday night!

YEAR OVER YEAR

  • Record: 43-25-9 (30-40-7)
  • Points: 95 (67) +28 year over year
  • Goals For after 77 games: 224 (185)
  • Goals Against after 77 games: 193 (224)
  • Goal Differential after 77 games: +31 (-39)
  • Source

From time to time someone will ask me why my numbers don’t line up with NHL.com. I use hockey-reference because they take out shootout goals and give us the best available year over year comparisons. As you can see, these numbers represent amazing progress year over year.

SPENCER FOO

  • NHL scout: “He’s a diligent worker with a top-nine skill set. He’s strong on puck recovery and strong in traffic with quickness and an outstanding compete level.” Source

SCORING LEADERS

I believe Connor McDavid has earned the Hart Trophy this season. Only two Oilers have previously won (Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier) the coveted award, and only 99 won the Art Ross previous to this season. A complete look at Oilers player awards over the years is available here.

Caleb Jones had a massive night for the Portland Winterhawks and could be hanging around awhile in the WHL playoffs. Ethan Bear is putting together an impressive set of boxcars as well, and Ryan Mantha was productive before his club exited the postseason:

  • Ethan Bear: 3gp, 2-5-7
  • Caleb Jones: 4gp, 0-6-6
  • Ryan Mantha: 4gp, 2-2-4

What’s more, Dylan Wells has been lights out for Peterborough (4gp, 2.34 .937) as his Petes got past Mantha’s Niagara Ice Dogs.

ZIYAT PAIGIN

  • Patrick Conway:  Paigin’s contract expires on April 30th of this year, and it will be very interesting to find out whether he gives it a try with Ak Bars for another year, moves to a different KHL team where he will perhaps be a better fit, or tries his luck across the ocean with the Oilers.  We shall see. Source

Based on Bob hints (™) I think we are looking at four (!!!) defenders signed for Bakersfield next season. It sounds like a lot of rookies, but Paigin has pro experience in a good league and that counts for something. Also possible we see one of these fellows spend time in the ECHL, although that sounds like a stretch.

CORSI FOR 5X5/DUETS

  • McDavid-Draisaitl: 53.1
  • McDavid-Maroon: 52.5
  • McDavid-Eberle: 53.6
  • McDavid-Lucic: 55.0
  • Nuge-Eberle: 50.0
  • Nuge-Lucic: 49.0
  • Nuge-Pouliot: 48.4
  • Nuge-Maroon: 54.3
  • Nuge-Kassian: 45.3
  • Draisaitl-Lucic: 52.2
  • Draisaitl-Pouliot: 49.1
  • Draisaitl-Puljujarvi: 52.1
  • Draisaitl-Kassian: 50.8

SCORING, LAST 10 GAMES (FORWARDS)

  1. Connor McDavid 10, 5-11-16
  2. Leon Draisaitl 10, 4-12-16
  3. Patrick Maroon 10, 6-3-9
  4. RNH 10, 3-4-7
  5. Drake Caggiula 8, 2-4-6
  6. Jordan Eberle 10, 2-4-6
  7. Milan Lucic 10, 4-2-6
  8. Zack Kassian 10, 1-3-4
  9. Benoit Pouliot 10, 3-1-4
  10. Mark Letestu 10, 2-1-3
  11. David Desharnais 10, 1-1-2
  12. Anton Slepyshev 6, 1-1-2

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

A busy and fun show as we wrap up a very successful week for the Oilers. At 10 this morning, TSN1260. Scheduled to appear:

  • Steve Lansky, BigMouth Sports. In the fall, Steve told me the Oilers would make the playoffs. What did he know?
  • Jared Book, Bluebird Banter. Year over year changes to the order and rotation, plus what about the bullpen?
  • Matt Iwanyk, TSN1260. Should the Oilers push for the division title, or rest Talbot and have another look at Jesse Puljujarvi?

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

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digger50

Woodguy v2.0: pm

Yes, this is a true statement about some fans and hard to understand. They just will not see Hall as an excellent player.

Woodguy v2.0

Bank Shot: The most important scoring metrics are boxcars.

You just can’t put Taylor Hall in the same bracket as a guy like Getzlaf when Getzlaf consistently outperforms him in points year after year after year.

One guy is clearly a class above.

I agree that boxcars are very important.

I’ve come to divide boxcars into “5v5” and “5v4”

The thought used to be that a player was either “good on the PP” or “not good on the PP”

With all the historical data we have now though, we can see that “good on the PP” is usually more “plays a key position on a good PP”

An excellent example of this Lucic.

Here’s Lucic’s 5v4 points per 60 up until this year:

Player Season P60
MILAN.LUCIC 20072008 2.05
MILAN.LUCIC 20082009 3.83
MILAN.LUCIC 20102011 3.86
MILAN.LUCIC 20112012 2.95
MILAN.LUCIC 20122013 1.33
MILAN.LUCIC 20132014 3.76
MILAN.LUCIC 20142015 3.05
MILAN.LUCIC 20152016 2.81

Everyone would look at this and think “Lucic is not a good 5v4 player”

Then look at this year:

MILAN.LUCIC 20162017 6.32

That’s double his career rate.

Has Lucic suddenly discovered his inner power play demon? Did he “wake up”

No, he’s playing in a key position on a very good power play.

Player is the same.

Also,

5v5 scoring is more predictive of playoff scoring due to lack of 5v4 in the playoffs compared to the regular season.

So overall box cars matter, but 5v5 matter more because they are less reliant on being in a good system than 5v4.

To this end, here are the 5v5 pts/60 leaders over the last 4 years (including this one, 2000min +)

CROSBY, SIDNEY 2.52
BENN, JAMIE 2.48
MALKIN, EVGENI 2.42
TARASENKO, VLADIMIR 2.41
KANE, PATRICK 2.39
GETZLAF, RYAN 2.38
SEGUIN, TYLER 2.36
PASTRNAK, DAVID 2.23
HALL, TAYLOR 2.23
PALAT, ONDREJ 2.21
PERRY, COREY 2.2
VANEK, THOMAS 2.18
HUDLER, JIRI 2.17
STAMKOS, STEVEN 2.14
PACIORETTY, MAX 2.14
TAVARES, JOHN 2.13
DUCHENE, MATT 2.12
MARCHAND, BRAD 2.12
WHEELER, BLAKE 2.11
GAUDREAU, JOHNNY 2.11

Not all are on the same level, but denying that any of these players don’t belong among the best in the NHL is simply sticking your head in the sand.

admiralmark

I know he’s a left shot. But if I were GM for a day i’d move mountains to get Athanasiou on McDavids wing for next season.

Bank Shot

Scungilli:
Put a few true snipers in the mix with these centres and good luck everyone else. Go JP! It won’t be possible to key on one aspect and shut them down.

I think Iginla would be amazing in the Letestu PP role. Hopefully he comes to Edmonton for a year, as Calgary clearly doesn’t want him back. Turn your back on them Iggy!

Bank Shot

Woodguy v2.0: it’s funny.

I can show a handful of the most important scoring metrics and how Hall is among the tip 10-15 in most of them and there’s a subset of Oilers fans who say”yeah but he doesn’t belong there”

If he didn’t belong there, he wouldn’t be there.

If Hall played for another team they’d take whatever Oiler who was high end, yet one they despised and say “he doesn’t belong in the same category as Hall”

The most important scoring metrics are boxcars.

You just can’t put Taylor Hall in the same bracket as a guy like Getzlaf when Getzlaf consistently outperforms him in points year after year after year.

One guy is clearly a class above.

Pouzar

BONE207:
HEY…WHERE DID EVERYBODY GO???

What day is it?

BONE207

HEY…WHERE DID EVERYBODY GO???

BONE207

Pescador: Scientists are always flip flopping, smoking used to be healthy, chocolate and wine are now good for you. Sure I’m getting fat drinking beer & eating hotdogs, but my stress level has never been
lower!

Hell, at this point in our lives, stress is a killer. Those hot dog eating contests have never killed anyone.

BONE207

Pouzar:
Ryan Holt‏ @CondorsHolty6m6 minutes ago
MoreGustavsson starts tonight. He’s appeared in 10 straight with tonight being his sixth straight start.

In March: 5-3-0 | 1.82 | .939

hmmmmm…this guy could be a good back up one day!

They have mirrored glass behind the net in Bakersfield don’t they?

BONE207

RexLibris: Picture Mark Fistric but with better lateral movement.

I think I can picture Jared Smithson more.

Bank Shot

Woodguy v2.0: Breakaways are about 25% SH iirc

Look at the shot map for the game.

SJs had more shots in the HD shooting area.

2 breakaways doesn’t negate that.

It would help negate it.

I found this link that says a breakaway is 25% like you stated and a different type of shot from the same location is 12%. Ditto for 2 on 1’s.

http://www.arcticicehockey.com/2011/3/21/2062995/2-on-1s-breakaways-and-shootouts

So it’s not really as simple as just counting up the shots based on location. If we want a completely accurate view of the game we’d have to add up the odds of every shot taken from the HD shooting areas taking into account breakaways, odd man rushes, defelctions, rebounds, etc.

Scungilli Slushy

It was mentioned hockey is more about dirty goals now, I don’t agree completely. Think a team has to be able to grind and get into the blue paint so that they can’t be simply boxed out. But with how tight some teams play I also think shooters are going to come back more.

Especially if they size the goalies down. The Oilers have been lacking pure shooters forever, and that is what that need with so many skilled passers.

Since we’re on football analogies it’s like being a able to run the ball; it keeps the defence honest , they can’t just hang back and focus on receivers.

It’s like Connor being able to finish better. At first he played the puck on the ice. The goalie had to keep up with a guy coming in faster than he had ever seen, stickhandling faster at top speed faster than he’d seen. It was awesome but the league learns. Last game that shorty backhand one foot out shelf sent a statement that now he is expanding his arsenal. Now what do they do? Nothing but hope.

Put a few true snipers in the mix with these centres and good luck everyone else. Go JP! It won’t be possible to key on one aspect and shut them down.

BONE207

Pouzar: Me neither. But then again I was drooling lots.

You sir, are well hydrated!!!

RexLibris

Woodguy v2.0: it’s funny.

I can show a handful of the most important scoring metrics and how Hall is among the tip 10-15 in most of them and there’s a subset of Oilers fans who say”yeah but he doesn’t belong there”

If he didn’t belong there, he wouldn’t be there.

If Hall played for another team they’d take whatever Oiler who was high end, yet one they despised and say “he doesn’t belong in the same category as Hall”

So what you’re saying is Hall’s goal song should be Sesame Street’s “One of These Things Is Not Like the Other…”?

Woodguy v2.0

Pescador: Do you have any numbers to back this up?

Joy/60 off the charts.

Beers/60 are up there too (on vacation)

Woodguy v2.0

Bank Shot: I can understand if you prefer Hall to Carter. I see them as being peers, and clearly under the top tier of NHL forwards. Hall isn’t in the Getzlaf, Crosby, Thornton(past), Pavelski class despite being in a group with them in some metrics.

it’s funny.

I can show a handful of the most important scoring metrics and how Hall is among the tip 10-15 in most of them and there’s a subset of Oilers fans who say”yeah but he doesn’t belong there”

If he didn’t belong there, he wouldn’t be there.

If Hall played for another team they’d take whatever Oiler who was high end, yet one they despised and say “he doesn’t belong in the same category as Hall”

SwedishPoster

The big things for me last night was winning with only two lines going, McDavid looking like pure magic on a few plays, Talbot being solid and the second half of the first period where the team put the foot on the gas and just ran the show. They have spurts like that on occasion where the team is just jamming and the big positive is that those occasions are getting more frequent. And when this team is jamming they are looking really good.

I don’t have much hope for a deep playoff run, too many unknowns in regards to how the guys with zero playoff experience will react, it’s a different beast than the regular season and some guys may very well cave. There are also a few too many players bound to have occasional lapses in their decisionmaking, including our two young offensive stars, and those are the kind of plays that kills you in the playoffs. The big benefit of vets have on younger guys is decisionmaking, when to make the safe play and when to take risks, if you swing too much in either direction it will kill you in tightly checked playoff games.
The main reason I doubt this goes truly deep is that they still haven’t found an antidote to teams trapping / checking hard through the neutral zone. They still haven’t figured that one out and if the team comes into the playoffs swinging that’s what the big dogs will do, just suffocate the crap out of the neutral zone. Which so far has lead to bad dump ins and Connor, Drai, Ebs et al getting frustrated and trying to dangle through an ocean of sticks and bodies. McDavid sometimes successful as he’s a deity but for the team as a whole not a successful situation. If the team solves that tactical scheme, Cinderella warning. But I wouldn’t count on it at this point.

Having said that, if I was a Western conference team I wouldn’t wanna face the Oil. In a playoff round this is a team that can really run the show. It’s a team on the upswing big time, both collectively and individually. They’re a much stronger side now than during the first half of the season. Connor has gone from one of the top players in the league to probably the best offensive player in the NHL, imo he’s added an extra gear for the last 20 games or so which is scary considering how good he was to start. Drai is obviously breaking out like the plague in the last few weeks. Klefbom has found an extra level offensively. Nurse in the last 5-6 games are looking more and more confident with the puck. Slepyshev has started to try more difficult plays and sometimes with success. There are a lot of flickering light bulbs on the roster about to come on combined with some big, strong vets who also seems to be heating up one at the time. That’s not a team I’d look forward to face despite some holes and limitations. Especially if Talbot keeps playing like a vezina nominee. And we all know how that new barn will sound like after a ten year golf hiatus.

Either way. This will be fun.

PLAYOFFS!!! PLAYOFFS!!!

spoiler

Pouzar:
Ryan Holt‏ @CondorsHolty6m6 minutes ago
MoreGustavsson starts tonight. He’s appeared in 10 straight with tonight being his sixth straight start.

In March: 5-3-0 | 1.82 | .939

hmmmmm…this guy could be a good back up one day!

Somebody in the org. recognizes they might need him if there’s an unfortunate goaltending injury. This is hella smart IMO.

Woodguy v2.0

Bank Shot: Oilers had two breakaways. I don’t remember the Sharks having one. Did they?

Breakaways are the best scoring chance you can get in a hockey game. Probably 30-40% chance of a goal.

So you might both be right. SJS may have edged the OIlers in number of chances, but the Oilers chances were higher quality which helps negates the inferior numbers.

Breakaways are about 25% SH iirc

Look at the shot map for the game.

SJs had more shots in the HD shooting area.

2 breakaways doesn’t negate that.

who

Woodguy v2.0:
who,

McDavid certainly needs a shooter, but I don’t think it has to be a righty. That is what Maroon has excelled at this year. He drives hard to the net and he shoots the puck when he gets a chance.
My version of the lines would go something like this. Keep in mind I am only using the current roster and will start with the third line.

I like Maroon up there and would leave him there too.

I suggested “RHS” because of the LH and RH dynamic in terms of passing and shooting.

Maroon’s goals are usually around the goal mouth, whereas a true “shooter” would be a bit further away in the “soft” area of the ice between the dot and the net.

The LH-RH dynamic allows for shots to be quicker and easier for the passer to put into the shooting area.Its tougher when the players are same handed.

Also

I agree with your lines and the reasoning of them.

I think McLellan ran exactly those lines for a few games earlier this year.

67-93-44 have 106 minutes together this year.50.8% CF and 66.7% GF (4-2)
27-29-42 have 40 minutes together this year41.3% CF and 50% GF (1-1)
19-97-14 have 138 minutes together this year 55.8% CF and 64.3% GF (9-5)

I know that the 93 line was against the toughs so the 50.8% is quite good.

All 3 of 27-29-42 are better today than when that line was tried at the beginning of the year so I’d expect better from them.

19-97-14 is the most successful Oilers line this year in terms of GoalsFor/60.

Well Shit. I don’t know how to respond to you when you agree with me.

Pescador

BONE207: Could you imaging Connor having a smoke or two the way Lafleur used to between periods. Chubby is Kessel now. But if you have the lungs to make the body work, good on ya. Besides, for a while they were saying that some guys are too cut and don’t have enough fat for padding thus involved in more injuries. Look at me…No injuries for a couple years now.I think it works!!!

Scientists are always flip flopping, smoking used to be healthy, chocolate and wine are now good for you. Sure I’m getting fat drinking beer & eating hotdogs, but my stress level has never been
lower!

RexLibris

spoiler: Hey! I can spot your subtle attempt at #propaganda from a mile away.You’re trying to influence the RE Band choice (and the Tory Leadership race), aren’t you?Probably a Washington Post reporter and CNN guest expert, I’m guessing.

No more sneakiness, I’m watching you, Rex.The Ozark Mountain Daredevils will not be denied this summer!

That’s me, spreading #FakeAnalogies. 🙂

Pescador

Justthestatsman: I remember a botched 2 on 0 by SJ.Probably shouldn’t count on them to miss those every time!

Followed immediately by a 4 on 1.

Pouzar

Ryan Holt‏ @CondorsHolty 6m6 minutes ago
More
Gustavsson starts tonight. He’s appeared in 10 straight with tonight being his sixth straight start.

In March: 5-3-0 | 1.82 | .939

hmmmmm…this guy could be a good back up one day!

spoiler

Scungilli: This is my issue with Russell. He is a step up from a lot of guys they have used, but the Pavelski goal was a really poor play for a so called defensive veteran.

You’re entitled to your opinion of course, but I can’t agree.

I’m no Right-side Russell fan, but in no way do I blame him for that goal. That’s about as highlight-reel-worthy as a deflection gets.

Pescador

Woodguy v2.0:

I’M HAVING FUN GODDAMMNN IT!!

Do you have any numbers to back this up?

RexLibris

BONE207: What the hell is a parking meter???

Picture Mark Fistric but with better lateral movement.

spoiler

RexLibris: They’re shackling him to a parking meter and telling him to learn to fly.

Hey! I can spot your subtle attempt at #propaganda from a mile away. You’re trying to influence the RE Band choice (and the Tory Leadership race), aren’t you? Probably a Washington Post reporter and CNN guest expert, I’m guessing.

No more sneakiness, I’m watching you, Rex. The Ozark Mountain Daredevils will not be denied this summer!

BONE207

StixMalone: I’ll never forget the look on his face when we won the lottery. When interviewed he sounded completely like a man who lost his best friend, and not impressed he let his team tank. Not sure if he even wanted Eichel! Kind of a cheap consolation prize was what I got out of it….

2 years out…he might be right. Eichel is having a great year and is plenty talented but…

TheRage

WE are 4-1 in our last five, and lost three points of ground on Anahiem during that time. Insane.

Bank Shot

Justthestatsman: I remember a botched 2 on 0 by SJ.Probably shouldn’t count on them to miss those every time!

I forgot about that one. Did they have any others of that quality?

BONE207

Woodguy v2.0:
The Hockey News has their prediction on which Canadian teams have the best chance of winning the Cup.

1. MTL
2. TOR
3. EDM
4. CGY
5. OTT

That’s probably not that far off, but TOR ahead of EDM & CGY makes me raise a Spockian eyebrow

Its based on some metrics by Dom Luszczyszyn.He’s a decent fancy stat analyst, but I don’t completely buy what he’s selling.

http://www.thehockeynews.com/news/article/which-canadian-team-has-the-best-odds-of-taking-home-the-stanley-cup

Next time on LT’s show, you have to pronounce his name in a tongue twister fashion.

Bank Shot

Woodguy v2.0:
So yes, I agree he’ll never be a high end point producer like Dionne, although he’s better than Carter imo and I like Carter a lot.

I can understand if you prefer Hall to Carter. I see them as being peers, and clearly under the top tier of NHL forwards. Hall isn’t in the Getzlaf, Crosby, Thornton(past), Pavelski class despite being in a group with them in some metrics.

BONE207

Scungilli:

This is my issue with Russell. He is a step up from a lot of guys they have used, but the Pavelski goal was a really poor play for a so called defensive veteran. And that heated things up a lot in giving them hope to end the game.

That Pavelski goal was off a shot that was about a metre wide of the net and about a metre off the ice. Great deflection that one hopped its way through Talbot but he gets that 90% of the time. Can’t blame Russell for that. His shin pads are only so wide.

Rocknrolla

Bank Shot:oilers had 2 breakaways

Marleau had a 2 man breakaway and missed.

BONE207

RexLibris: Buffalo’s regrets should probably begin with hiring Tim Murray and progress from there. Interesting that both Reinhart AND Bennett have had poor seasons and, while I don’t know as much detail about Reinhart’s I can say in Bennett’s case, this is largely due to depth, support and deployment by the coach.

Bennett was supposed to be getting shelter from Monahan but he didn’t progress well earlier this year and it forced Gulutzan into pushing Bennett around the roster. Right now I think he’s got Brouwer on one wing and maybe Bouma on the other. They’re shackling him to a parking meter and telling him to learn to fly.

What the hell is a parking meter???

Justthestatsman

Bank Shot: Oilers had two breakaways. I don’t remember the Sharks having one. Did they?

Breakaways are the best scoring chance you can get in a hockey game. Probably 30-40% chance of a goal.

So you might both be right. SJS may have edged the OIlers in number of chances, but the Oilers chances were higher quality which helps negates the inferior numbers.

I remember a botched 2 on 0 by SJ. Probably shouldn’t count on them to miss those every time!

RexLibris

Woodguy v2.0: I’M HAVING FUN GODDAMMNN IT!!

Yes. Exhibit A right there.

Yelling, throbbing neck veins, bulging eyes.

Time of his life. You bet.

BONE207

Chachi: I remember Dionne as a fairly chubby guy, even by 1980s athletic standards. Maybe he was more like the Buddha.

Could you imaging Connor having a smoke or two the way Lafleur used to between periods. Chubby is Kessel now. But if you have the lungs to make the body work, good on ya. Besides, for a while they were saying that some guys are too cut and don’t have enough fat for padding thus involved in more injuries. Look at me…No injuries for a couple years now. I think it works!!!

RexLibris

BONE207,

Thanks. Glad it was of interest. 🙂

RexLibris

Woodguy v2.0: I want Peter to grab one of Pysyk, Petrovic or Demers from FLA (in that order) via McPhee.At minimum 2 of them will be exposed.

If he were able to snag two of those three, I think our summer motto would be “START THE CAR!”

OF17

BornInAGretzkyJersey:
OF17,

As per Matty in today’s Sun, Pitlick is back skating “but only lightly. He won’t be back this season.”

Good to know. Thanks.

BONE207

RexLibris:
I had posted my SJS/EDM officiating review from Dec yesterday before the game.

http://www.theoilersrig.com/2017/02/officiating-recap-san-jose-sharks-dec-23/

In that game Braun was one to watch as he was tasked with handling McDavid and approached it by trying to take a physical angle. He committed 7 infractions and was penalized twice (a hook and a hold), so you can debate the effectiveness of that strategy.

Vlasic/Braun is the most likely defensive pair McDavid’s line sees if they meet in the playoffs and Braun is entirely willing to be a dirty no-good sonofagun.

That said, it does not appear that McDavid is particularly unnerved by that approach, so in my opinion what it may come down to is the latitude given and priorities made by the officials.

They could hold to a standard rate of call, which is to say that they’ll ding a team for about every 5th infraction and then try to even up the calls accordingly (which seems to be the common approach now) or they could call a game on a more distinctively relative basis, where they call a team on every 5th infraction but don’t try to even them up, so if a team wants to push the envelope they will be punished accordingly, regardless of what the other team does.

That is my preferred approach, but one that I’ve witnessed rarely.

Happened to LAK last year in their series with SJS.

The refs began by giving LA the benefit of the doubt on nearly every call, letting them cross-check Pavelski three or four times on a single zone-possession without penalty.

SJS fought through it, took a 2-1 series lead, and then it was like a switch went off and the refs started calling penalties against the Kings the way they did here the other night (for instance, McNabb’s roughing call – on Pouliot, no less – that, in previous seasons, would have often gone without notice).

I’d almost welcome an EDM/CGY series if only to hear a hue and cry from Flames fans about every call that went against them because of their imagined Wideman Curse. This might be the 1st round series I review, if I decide to do it again.

Great work Rex…interesting stuff and that’s one of the things that make this blog (hockey poetry?) the place of choice on a daily basis for so many of us. I swear to Gord…I surf porn so much less now.

Chachi

Lowetide: Clearly you’re lying.

Something something doth protesting too much.

fifthcartel

Woodguy v2.0: Peter is paying attention to the holes in the org.

Grabbing lots of RHD too.

I don’t agree with everything he’s done, but he’s best GM here since Sather.

Lowe was close until he starting “chasing it” in 07, but he also damn near kept the 06 team out of the playoffs for want of a goalie.

This is basically how I feel re: Chiarelli.

The Oilers should have a good rep with college players. They’ve given a lot of them playing time, including Arcobello, Benning, Caggiula, Oesterle.

Woodguy v2.0

Bank Shot: There is some evidence that Hall’s two big seasons are outliers/lucky.

He was running a crazy high individual points percentage in both seasons. 94 and 98%. That’s at least ten points higher than even superstar level players can be expected to maintain or a regular basis.

McDavid has an 82% this season and he’s on another level as a river pusher compared to Hall.

Hall’s career is looking very Jeff Carter without the defensive play outside of his outlier seasons.

That’s fair in terms of his points.

I’ve never compared Hall on even terms to McDavid. I don’t think anyone has.

In terms of driving play Hall’s very consistent. (yes Kinger you can tell who drives play)

Here’s the list of the top 1st Assist/60 producers over the last 4 years (including this one) which is a good stat for figuring out who is driving the goals:

GETZLAF, RYAN 1.03
KUZNETSOV, EVGENY 1.00
CROSBY, SIDNEY 0.99
HALL, TAYLOR 0.98
WHEELER, BLAKE 0.95
THORNTON, JOE 0.94

Then in terms of driving goal share, here’s the list of top “Relative Goal Share (GF%)” over the same time period: (Team goal share on compared to team goal share off)

JOE.PAVELSKI 14.29
JAROMIR.JAGR 13.79
TYLER.TOFFOLI 12.29
TAYLOR.HALL 12.1
NIKITA.KUCHEROV 11.25

For a guy who always gets knocked for his lack of defensive play, he’s been outscored in one season out of his career since his rookie year while playing on perennial bottom feeders.

Here’s his GF% compared to his team over his career:

Player GF% OGF%
TAYLOR.HALL 45.6 45.5
TAYLOR.HALL 52.5 41.6
TAYLOR.HALL 54.6 42.3
TAYLOR.HALL 48.2 39.0
TAYLOR.HALL 51.4 34.7
TAYLOR.HALL 52.7 40.8
TAYLOR.HALL 54.4 42.3

That’s crazy.

His one year he got outscored by 1.8% the rest of his team got outscored by 11%. Lordy.

If he was a Leaf there would already be a statue of him next to Horton in front of their rink.

So yes, I agree he’ll never be a high end point producer like Dionne, although he’s better than Carter imo and I like Carter a lot.

Spengler

Woodguy v2.0: You could tell that Chiarelli had mentally already taken Laine in the draft in his interviews after the lottery.

Wasn’t “Tim Murray not getting McDavid” level of disappointed, but he could tell he wasn’t happy to be out of the top 3.

Then JP fell and it all came together.

That kid’s a player.

Not Laine level of shooting, but he’ll be a key cog in the top 6 for 10+ years imo.

Miles to go with JP, to borrow a phrase. But the thing I was most impressed with in his time with the senior squad is he didn’t get caved in defensively. Some issues with coverage, and the game did move a bit – to a lot – quickly for him when attacking but he certainly wasn’t out of his depth. We’ve seen plenty of 18 year olds come into the team and running 5.8 and 6.2 cf%rel and ff%rel is beyond impressive.

He’ll have a career. Whether that’s a star role or a stellar mid line player depends on the offensive skills catching up.

Pouzar

Scungilli: I didn’t see the Sharks as that dangerous last night.

Me neither. But then again I was drooling lots.

Admiral Ackbar

Has the age of darkness (the last 10 years) produced a highly analytical, evidence-based fan-base? I don’t hear this type of critical analysis from other fan-bases (maybe I’m in an echo chamber).

Maybe we needed to properly understand ‘why’ our team has stunk for so long……? I’m seriously amazed by Oiler fans.