I’m looking forward to tonight’s game, the Edmonton Oilers have played well enough in recent games to give fans some hope for a competitive 60 minutes. It’ll be a difficult test against Columbus, and a loss means another disappointing road trip, but there are some things to anticipate as we go about our work today.
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- New Lowetide: Fresh story coming!
- New Lowetide: Mike Hoffman a perfect fit!
- New Jonathan Willis: Darnell Nurse will (eventually) push someone out the door!
- New Corey Pronman: World Juniors snubs (Oilers angle)
- New Aaron Portzline: Cam Atkinson back, some pre-game notes
Some snappy stuff in the last 24 hours and a big day today!
LONG DECEMBER, YEAR OVER YEAR
- December 2015: 4-0-0, goal differential +4
- December 2016: 2-0-2, goal differential +2
- December 2017: 2-2-0, goal differential +3
This is the least successful December of Todd McLellan’s Edmonton tenure but there are some good signs in the first half of the month. G5 in 2015-16 was a 7-5 win over NYR and a year later it was 6-5 Philadelphia as Edmonton gave up three unanswered in the third period.
GAME 31, YEAR OVER YEAR
- Oilers 15-16: 13-15-2, goal differential -10
- Oilers 16-17: 14-11-5, goal differential +8
- Oilers 17-18: 12-16-2, goal differential -12
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM DECEMBER
- On the road to: Calgary (Expected: 0-0-1) (Actual: 1-0-0)
- At home to: Philadelphia (Expected 1-0-0) (Actual: 0-1-0)
- On the road to: Montreal, Toronto, Columbus (Expected 1-2-0) (Actual 1-1-0)
- At home to: Nashville (Expected 0-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- On the road to: Minnesota (Expected 1-0-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- At home to: San Jose, St. Louis, Montreal (Expected 1-1-1) (Actual 0-0-0)
- On the road to: Winnipeg (Expected 0-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- At home to: Chicago, Winnipeg (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- Overall expected result: 5-6-2, 12 points in 13 games
- Current results: 2-2-0, four points in four games
One of the difficult things about the current Oilers is we haven’t seen them good very often. Based on the first 30 games, I wouldn’t have them as the favorite in many games now through the end of the month. Edmonton needs to change their reality, and have some good arrows (McDavid being No. 1 arrow).
"He's been skating. He's symptom free. We will get him in some contact practices this week. We hope he's ready for this weekend." Gerry Fleming with an update on Ethan Bear who has been dealing with a concussion.
— OilersNow (@OilersNow) December 11, 2017
This is a terrific bit of news, Bear is an important prospect (I have him No. 3 in the system currently) for Edmonton. A righty blue who adjusted quickly to the AHL before injury (8gp, 2-3-5) needs to play a lot in his rookie year in pro hockey.
OILERS FORWARDS AFTER 30 GAMES
- Connor McDavid was under the weather for some time during these games but the numbers shine like a diamond. Reports have him losing 10-15 pounds over this period and he still delivered a fantastic performance.
- Jujhar Khaira is one of the best stories about this season. We may be looking at his career peak but he doesn’t look out of place in any area. In fact, he was driving the results on the Letestu line before moving up the depth chart. Third-round pick cashes? That’s a rare headline in Edmonton.
- Leon Draisaitl hasn’t looked the same since returning from injury, hope he finds the range soon. The big man has real chem with McDavid, not so much with new linemates. Early days.
- Mike Cammalleri was a subtle but effective addition to the group. He is typical of a Chiarelli mid-season hire, a veteran who looks like he’s nearing the end acquired for little. He’ll probably play out the decade in Edmonton.
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is on pace for 30 goals and 57 points this season, he is delivering quality play across the columns. I’m thrilled he is still an Oiler.
- Milan Lucic is back to his traditional role, a solid to excellent 5×5 offensive performer who plays the enforcer role on a skill line. He’s also back to making those astute short passes that have big impact.
- Patrick Maroon continues to deliver extreme value for money spent. I don’t know if he’s going to be here come spring, but the big man has delivered in each season he’s been an Oiler.
- Jesse Puljujarvi, man. He could save Peter Chiarelli’s job, Todd McLellan’s too.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A busy show as we tee up the CBJ game, all starts at 10 on TSN1260. Scheduled to appear:
- Jonathan Willis, The Athletic. Jon’s excellent article on Nurse and should we start talking draft?
- Jody Shelley, Fox Sports Ohio. The Blue Jackets are a real contender this season.
- Scott Cullen, TSN. TFC wins it all, Oilers, Leafs, MLB.
- Scott Miller, Bleacher Report. An historic winter meetings for baseball already.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!