They don’t show it much anymore on television, but one of the great TV movies of all time is called DUEL. It stars Dennis Weaver and a Peterbilt transport truck, which is the scariest vehicle I have ever seen. I’ve honestly never been able to look at prime movers the same way again, even if they are some of the most reliable transport vehicles out there. The truck (and a driver, who we never see) scare the daylights out of poor Dennis Weaver all over the most remote blacktop on planet earth. It was the first film directed by Steven Spielberg, and to this day, I can remember the feeling of excitement and dread during the first viewing. Lordy what a movie.
In the film, Dennis Weaver drove a Valiant. Not a confident vehicle. Valiant’s need a little help. That’s why they called it a Valiant for crying out loud. If you are brave enough, here is the trailer from the movie, one in which you’ll see that poor Valiant and one crazy ass frightened Dennis Weaver.
My Dad loved the Valiant. We had at least two of them during my childhood. It was not the kind of car people bragged about, but it got good gas mileage (Dad drove about three MPH slower than the limit, said you got better mileage that way) and it was functional. I could have told you when I was 12 there wasn’t a chance in hell I would ever own one, but when my Dad finally moved off the Valiant, he charged right into the Fury. Argh. Trust is a thing.
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- New Lowetide: Where does Darnell Nurse slot in for 2018-19?
- New Scott Wheeler: The complete Oilers prospect ranking
- New Lowetide: Peter Chiarelli needs some answers from this week’s meetings
- New Corey Pronman: Top 50 NHL prospects (Oilers alert)
- Lowetide: Procurement 2018: Oilers are going to need a bigger boat
- Lowetide: Hard target search 2018 deadline
- Lowetide: Oilers and the 2018 Entry Draft
THE COACH AND YOUNG PLAYERS
Back in the fall of 2007, Craig MacTavish gave his opinions on the young forwards who were pushing up from the AHL, college and junior hockey.
- Craig MacTavish on an opening for a young forward like Cogliano, Nilsson, Schremp: “We’re still going to be preaching responsibility. It’s all a game of what you create minus what you give up. If you’re creating a lot you’re going to get more latitude to try and create offense, but if you’re not productive then the balance is out of whack. We want to win hockey games. We need one of those guys to develop.”
Cogliano, Nilsson and Sam Gagner all made the big club and MacT did his best to instruct a fairly wayward crew. Schremp never did make it, Nilsson was bound for Europe and the other two embarked on NHL careers that now count 741 (Gagner) and 830 (Cogliano) NHL games.
The words of MacTavish above are interesting as they pertain to Todd McLellan (another respected, veteran coach) and his handling of Jesse Puljujarvi. I would wager JP is superior without the puck to a player like Sam Gagner and the rest of this group. There’s still a rapport that has to be built, a relationship established, some shared success from running up that hill.
- MacT on what he wants from the kids: “It’s got to be a clear and concise plan that you set forth for these players, and all you want to see is progress. As long as you’re seeing progress, then you’ve got an ally in me and the coaching staff. If you’re diligent and have a work ethic, then you’re going to have an ally.”
I think Puljujarvi has been that player, he’s a game rooster and TMac has talked about fewer language barriers this season (a good sign). My view of him is that he works like a bugger, that he is prone to loss of confidence and that he’s (like everyone else) miles better when playing with Connor McDavid.
THE COACH AND YOUNG PLAYERS
- Todd McLellan on Jesse Puljujarvi earning power-play time, December 17: “He’s steadily improved since he’s got here. He’s been able to take increments of his game up on a steady basis. We think he’s ready to go there. He’s earned the opportunity. What we’ve watched with him is making sure that he hasn’t given up anything in his game as he takes more on. He’s done a very good job of that.” Source
That’s a positive quote and marries well with the MacT verbal above. JP is a talented man who is young and lacks experience, but there are good arrows. Did JP get power-play chances in the games after December 17?
- On the night of December 18, JP got 40 seconds of power-play time (team leader had 3:16) and the big Finn played well on the McDavid line (no goals, lots of chances).
- December 21, he got punted from the McDavid line (Puljujarvi was struggling) and had 1:58 on the man advantage.
- December 23, no power-play time, back on the 97 line, the trio is not good but McDavid wins the day.
- December 27, JP has a goal, seven shots, gets 54 power-play seconds. The 97 line is dominant but lose to Winnipeg.
- December 29, Puljujarvi has a goal and an assist, 1:54 on the power play, 10 shot attempts.
- December 31 was the poor game against the Jets, JP got 1:40 on the power play and less than five minutes on the McDavid line.
- January 2, Oilers lost 5-0, Maroon moved up to the 97-98 line (replacing Milan Lucic) and Puljujarvi had four HDSC’s, 8 shot attempts and 3:31 on the power play. Early January, he’s getting 5×5 time with McDavid and some big minutes with the 5×4. Those 5-0 losses may have hurt his feature time with 97 but he played well in this game.
- January 4 it’s McDavid as his center, 13:39 and 2:21 on the power play for JP, Oilers win and the line looks good. I noted Puljujarvi was a bull in a china shop (Lucic was back on the big line).
- January 6 more time on the 97 line, McDavid the best player and Puljujarvi second best by my eye. 15:42 at evens, 1:11 on the power play.
- January 7, 12:29, no power-play time, he’s on the Nuge line and the sparks are gone.
JESSE PULJUJARVI 2016-17
- 5×5 points per 60: 1.45 (7th among all forwards)
- 5×4 points per 60: 2.66 (one goal in 22 minutes)
- Corsi for 5×5 %: 53.2
- Corsi Rel 5×5 %: 2.1
- DFF Elite 5×5 %: 32.8
- DFF Elite Rel 5×5 %: -7.5 (30 percent of TOI v. elites)
- Shots on goal/percentage: 41 shots/2.4%
- Boxcars: 28gp, 1-7-8
- (All numbers via Puck IQ, Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com and hockey-reference)
JESSE PULJUJARVI 2017-18
- 5×5 points per 60: 1.42 (8th among all forwards)
- 5×4 points per 60: 2.96 (one goal in 20 minutes)
- Corsi for 5×5 %: 53.49
- Corsi Rel 5×5 %: 3.15
- DFF Elite 5×5 %: 50.2
- DFF Elite Rel 5×5 %: — (26 percent of TOI v. elites)
- Shots on goal/percentage: 74 shots/10.8%
- Boxcars: 29gp, 8-3-11
- (All numbers via Puck IQ and NaturalStatTrick)
G and WG kindly passed along some information from the Puck IQ numbers this year, our man JP is doing well via DFF this season. His offense is about where it was last season and of course his numbers with McDavid (JP is 5-2-7 in 203 minutes with McDavid, 2.07 5×5 points per 60) shine. Without McDavid, he is 2-0-2 in 178 minutes, 0.67 5×5 points per 60. By the way, Leon Draisaitl is 2.23/60 at 5×5 with McDavid, telling us JP is in the range.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
In 200 minutes together, Jesse Puljujarvi is scoring well enough with Connor McDavid to warrant more playing time. It would allow the club to run Leon Draisaitl on another scoring line. Coach Todd McLellan moved Leon to 97’s wing when things we on a downbeat and we should expect that duo to hang together until the next losing streak. I think it would be better to run Puljujarvi with Draisaitl, and I also think Todd McLellan would have liked the Valiant.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, TSN1260. A fun morning, scheduled to appear:
- Darcy McLeod, Because Oilers. Where to slot Nurse, can Peter Chiarelli salvage his job, Jesse Puljujarvi and where he slots.
- Corey Pronman, The Athletic. Kailer Yamamoto’s season and the 2018 draft.
- Pete Jensen, NHL.com’s main fantasy writer. Fantasy tips, send your questions!
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!