I haven’t read twitter since before the game and haven’t read a word written about last night’s game, but am fairly sure my verbal today will have little in common with the prevailing wisdom. Here goes: I was impressed with the Oilers last night, battled back from what was (without going back and checking) one of the worst opening periods a home team ever committed on its own audience. They made a game of it, lost a point on a bad mistake. So, this morning, I’m going to write you an honest review, but if you’ve come looking for blood, you will be dissatisfied.
- Todd McLellan: “You feel for him. He had a great night. A not-so-good thing happened to a great player. Our team supports him 100%.”
- New Jonathan Willis: Oilers take a leap of faith with Khaira and Brossoit
- New Tyler Dellow: McLellan’s preference to load lines up makes sense
- New James Mirtle: How do you solve a problem like Connor McDavid?
- New Lowetide: Oilers No 11-20 Prospects Winter 2017
- Lowetide: Peter Chiarelli’s Media Conference
- Lowetide: Finding the Off Ramp
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 1 Prospect Winter 2017: Kailer Yamamoto
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 2 Prospect Winter 2017: Jesse Puljujarvi
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 3 Prospect Winter 2017: Ethan Bear
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 4 Prospect Winter 2017: Caleb Jones
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 5 Prospect Winter 2017: Tyler Benson
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 6 Prospect Winter 2017: Kirill Maksimov
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 7 Prospect Winter 2017: Ostap Safin
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 8 Prospect Winter 2017: Filip Berglund
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 9 Prospect Winter 2017: Jujhar Khaira
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 10 Prospect Winter 2017: Nick Ellis
- Lowetide: Fresh Farm Produce
- Lowetide: Analyzing the Mike Cammalleri trade.
NOVEMBER TO REMEMBER, YEAR OVER YEAR
- Oilers in November 2015: 4-7-2, goal differential -9 (10 points in 13 games)
- Oilers in November 2016: 5-9-1, goal differential -3 (11 points in 15 games)
- Oilers in November 2017: 7-8-1, goal differential -5
Fifteen points in 16 games means the Oilers still haven’t posted a month where their point total exceeds games played. That’s not going to cut it, not if this team expects to make the post season. The injury to Cam Talbot makes December even more dire, November wasn’t good enough.
AFTER 26, YEAR OVER YEAR
- Oilers 15-16: 9-15-2, goal differential -16
- Oilers 16-17: 14-10-2, goal differential +11
- Oilers 17-18: 10-14-2, goal differential -15
A disappointing first 30 percent of the schedule and it may have made the final 70 percent of the campaign moot. Holy hell what a ride. Injuries, bets that failed, unusual deployment and some shady goaltending all contributed to what you see here. Is it fatal? No, of course not. Do the Oilers resemble a team about to go on a 9-game winning streak? Hell no.
WHAT YOU GOT FROM NOVEMBER
- At home to:
Pittsburgh, New Jersey, Detroit (Expected: 2-1-0) (Actual 1-2-0)
- On the road to:
NYI, New Jersey, NYR, Washington(Expected: 1-2-1) (Actual: 2-1-1)
- At home to:
Vegas, St. Louis(Expected 1-1-0) (Actual: 1-1-0)
- On the road to:
Dallas, St. Louis, Detroit, Buffalo, Boston(Expected 2-2-1) (Actual 2-3-0)
- At home to: Arizona, Toronto (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 1-1-0)
- Overall expected result: 7-7-2, 16 points in 16 games
- Current results: 7-8-1, 15 points in 16 games
I know there were injuries but you have to be better than this to make the playoffs. Peter Chiarelli and Todd McLellan are in a battle for their jobs, along with much of this roster, and maybe that one thing will bring them together.
DEFENSE LAST NIGHT
- Auvitu-Gryba went 14-10 in 11:04, they were 1-2 in GF and 3-3 in HDSC’s. The strongest criticism I can muster is that TOI total, your coach needs to trust you more than McLellan did last night. Went 6-4 against JVR-Bozak-Marner, but were bested twice by the Martin-Moore-Nylander trio. I saw Gryba bad on the penalty, your mileage may vary.
- Nurse-Russell were 29-24 in 20:31 together and 3-0 GF. Were 20-14 against Brown-Matthews-Hyman. The two men scored four points between them and the post-game was going to be very positive, but for Russell a late mistake soured the evening.
- He makes $4 million, he has to make that play. You can see sides forming on this story, suspect msm and fans have troops lined up on the border with muskets and spit wads. Breaking news: It’s all bullshit. Your takeaway should be the following: A veteran NHL defender did not execute a play in a high danger area and it cost the Oilers one or two points. That’s harsh, so was the play. All the rest is window dressing. I am not anti-Russell, for me he had a helluva game last night that play aside and if you read this blog I am generally supportive of his play. He needed to perform better in that moment. Hell, he’ll tell you that. If you’re ripping Russell because the msm was unkind to Taylor Hall I’m not sure what you’re hoping to gain. Slagging Kris Russell over the treatment of another player suggests extreme pettiness.
- If you’re defending Kris Russell because he’s a nice guy, that’s fine but it has nothing to do with this situation. Russell didn’t make the play, he had to own it and he did own it. Perhaps it will be a rallying point, but what it shouldn’t be is a vehicle to grind your agenda.
- Klefbom-Benning were 15-24 together and 0-1 GF in 16:53. I think they were mostly good but forced to play too much, partially due to the coach not trusting his third pair (Leafs can be a runaway train with all that forward skill). Went 10-11 against Komarov-Kadri-Marleau, who were a wonderful line to watch last night.
- Laurent Brossoit stopped 31 of 36, .861. Impossible to defend the line but he made some 10-bell chances. Rebounds are an issue. We’ll see how this rolls out, there is pressure on management and coach which could mean a trade.
- Natural Stat Trick and NHL.com.
FORWARDS, LAST NIGHT
- Lucic-McDavid-Puljujarvi went 23-20 and 1-1 GF. McDavid took a physical beating from Kadri but scored a nice goal to get the team back in it. Jesse Puljujarvi, in his 37 NHL games, has delivered 64 shots and three goals. McDavid went 18-11 against the Matthews line, 1-1 GF.
- Caggiula-Draisaitl-Strome went 14-12 and there was no scoring with these men on the ice 5×5. This trio had no high-danger scoring chances among them and that’s a concern. Went 5-9 against JVR-Bozak-Marner, I wonder if LD needs a more dynamic winger (Maroon?) to make things go.
- Khaira-Letestu-Kassian went 14-13 together, 3-2GF and were on the ice for 10 minutes together. Went 8-10 against Martin-Moore-Nylander, I was so impressed with Khaira. He reminds me of Kyle Brodziak in the fall of 2007, when there was a bunch of young wingers looking to find NHL jobs that were secure.
- Maroon-Nuge-Slepyshev were 13-16 together, 0-0 GF and faced the Kadri line (6-8) primarily. The line had FIVE high-danger scoring chances, but didn’t win the Corsi battle and in watching (I taped it and there were long stretches of squiggly lines) it seemed to be Slepy was a step behind. Still, great results in HDSC’s.
NOTES FROM THIS MORNING
Dreger: Chiarelli "willing to discuss certain players: Players like Caggiula, Khaira, and Slepyshev. Again, dabbling a little bit in terms of what's available on the back end. Looking for perhaps a lateral move up front. But those are the names that are out there." #Oilers
— Chris Nichols (@NicholsOnHockey) November 30, 2017
You hear rumors over time and Khaira is a player who had some interest even before his recent surge. What often happens in these cases is that the trading team (Edmonton) decides they like the player enough to keep him, Khaira’s recent performances certainly justify pulling him back. Caggiula would be my choice to trade, that said PC brought him in (the other two gents were procured by MacT and Steve Tambellini) and that often means more security. Iiro Pakarinen, a favorite of the coach based on usage, was named by Elliotte Friedman as being in play. Honestly? I think we could see a deal for a goalie as early as today.
Some perspective on how bad Oiler PK is, especially at home. Last season Oilers gave up 18 PP goals against at home in 41 games. They've given up 16 already this season in 13 games . Home PK is a stunning 57.9%. (82.6% on road. ) . Next worst is Flames at 71% home PK
— Ryan Rishaug (@TSNRyanRishaug) December 1, 2017
Cap Friendly is beyond brilliant and they keep making better best. They have published ‘reserve’ lists, containing all players who are under control but unsigned. Roman Horak, Bogdan Yakimov and Daniil Zharkov are all there, Miroslav Svoboda is not, Ziyat Paigin is not. Brilliant.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
Today on the Lowdown, beginning at 10 on TSN1260:
- Steve Lansky, BigMouthSports. About last night, plus the Grey Cup!
- Corey Graham, Oil Kings PBP. Teddy Bear toss straight ahead!
- Matt Iwanyk, TSN1260. Tiger Woods! NCAA football and the Oilers season in peril.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!