Deja Vu

by Lowetide

The Edmonton Oilers lost the possession battle in a landslide, Cam Talbot performed many miracles and Connor McDavid called on the Gods of thunder and lightning for the Oilers 4-1 win last night. Special teams shined and the team outpaced the mistakes. In other words, it was throwback Saturday, an oldie but goodie from 2016-17.

THE ATHLETIC!

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 MACHINE HEAD, YEAR OVER YEAR

  • March 2016: 3-2-0, goal differential 0 (6 points)
  • March 2017: 3-1-1, goal differential +7 (7 points)
  • March 2018: 3-2-0, goal differential +1 (6 points)

A nice run over the last few games is giving March a better feel, almost like one year ago. The club hasn’t put together a real winning streak all year and in a way it would be maddening to see it happen now. Still, this was a fun week.

AFTER 68, YEAR OVER YEAR

  • Oilers 15-16: 26-35-7, goal differential -42 (59 points)
  • Oilers 16-17: 36-23-9, goal differential +18 (81 points)
  • Oilers 17-18: 30-34-4, goal differential -31 (64 points)

Some traction now and the ghastly goal differential is correcting slightly. That’s an ugly number and this team, even with the extreme lack of depth, should be able to post a positive goal differential.

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM MARCH

  • At home to: Nashville, NY Rangers, Arizona, NY Islanders, Minnesota (Expected 2-3-0) (Actual 3-2-0)
  • On the road to: Calgary (Expected 0-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • At home to: San Jose (Expected 0-0-1) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • On the road to: Florida, Tampa Bay, Carolina, Ottawa (Expected 1-2-1) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • At home to: Los Angeles, Anaheim, Columbus (Expected 2-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • On the road to: Vancouver, Calgary (Expected 1-0-1) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • Overall expected result: 6-7-3, 15 points in 16 games
  • Current results: 3-2-0, 6 points in five games

 DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT

  • Sekera-Benning were 13-11 in 11:40, 5-5 shots. Were 8-5 against Cullen-Coyle-Ennis. I’d bet on both men for next season.
  • Russell-Bear went 15-17 in 13:34, 1-1 GF and 6-11 SF. The veteran made the biggest mistake for the pairing on the night, once again leaving his feet and becoming a stationary figure who could be avoided. Bear made some fine plays, including a nice breakup of a play that led directly to the Leon Draisaitl goal. Also drew a penalty. Needs work defensively and needs to get stronger, but he is an encouraging player for Oilers fans. Pairing went 4-10 against Zucker-Staal-Granlund, 7-5 (and 1-1 GF) against Cullen-Coyle-Ennis.
  • Nurse-Larsson went 8-18 in 17:28, the pairing played monster minutes and got caved several times. Were 0-0 GF, 0-5 HDSC, and as is always the trend the time with and without McDavid is jarring. Pairing was 6-6 with 97, 2-12 without. Were 0-10 against Parise-Koivu-Niederreiter, who did not score but were dangerous. It was a bend not break evening from the pairing, would like to see sharper passing but Nurse once again showed his impressive transporting ability.
  • Cam Talbot stopped 32 of 33, .970. The biggest difference between a win and a loss in the last two seasons is Talbot’s brilliance. I’d bet on him again next year but would also give him a strong backup. Strong backup.
  • Natural Stat Trick and NHL.com.

FORWARDS, LAST NIGHT

  • Puljujarvi-Strome-Slepyshev were 10-12 in 10:30, 3-4 in HDSC. Each man had a strong chance and I like the JP-Strome combination quite a lot, to the point where it’s an interesting idea for next season. Were 6-8 against the Coyle line (0-0) and had their share of good opportunities.
  • RNH-McDavid-Aberg were 16-23 (Nuge) and 16-17 (Aberg). Nuge-McDavid were 1-11 in HDSC (!!!) which is basically impossible but that’s what NST is telling me. Were 10-19 and 1-9 HDSC against the Staal line and we’ll have to see this pairing again (Aberg had a couple of chances but there was no magic). On the other hand, Nuge scored and 97 chimed twice so yeah. I’d run them together again (97-93) and would run Jesse Puljujarvi as the other winger post haste.
  • Lucic-Draisaitl-Cammalleri went 9-12 in 12:21, honestly the Draisaitl goal was a beauty and important. Edmonton badly needs its two best players to buy in to playing on separate lines, and the goal gave us a glimpse of what might be someday.
  • Caggiula-Khaira-Kassian were 5-8, 0-1, the goal against coming on a quick turnover at the blue line. Bear rapped the puck but it didn’t get out, there was some chaos and none of the forwards were able to impact the play. So much bad happens at the Edmonton blue line. I continue to see Khaira good.

If you’re picking fights with RCN on twitter and an Oilers fan, I’m thinking you have some bias. It’s good to follow and pay attention to intelligent people online who also offer credible opinions. He is correct on both points, although Andrew Mangiapane may end up being a terrific NHL player who rivals Yamamoto. A good line in the sand assessment of all involved.

Joey Laleggia will be unrestricted at the end of the season. It’s possible he re-signs with Edmonton but the young winger may want to check out other opportunities. I wonder if the Oilers bring him up before the end of the season for a look. Maybe he could help the team offensively and offer them some recall depth for next season. Or maybe player and team have already made the call.

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Jethro Tull

Interesting point from RCN, bit I would suggest to him that being any kind of defensive prospect for the Flames is not a good thing. Bear is, in fact, ahead of most of them as we have seen him drink his coffee at an NHL level.

Unless somebody implodes, or loses a leg, no prospect is cracking that CGY D corps.

Professor Q

I mean, I don’t know about 4th or 5th.

Maaaaybe Välimäki or Kylington could be said to be better prospects, but Bear is still outperforming them in the WHL and AHL, and, well, is in the NHL right now while they are not. *And* he’s a RHD…

But, I mean, by no means am I as intelligent as Lowetide or whoever this RCN person is. I just think claiming that they’re correct on both *extreme* points when data and performances suggest otherwise is foolish.

And all because he and Jones were drafted much lower than Calgary’s 1st and 2nd Round D Prospects…

Professor Q

Also, Nuge and McDavid are magic together. Reminds me of the World Cup, where he had a few chances at Wing, but Matthews/McKinnon with McDavid was also magic.

Make it and keep it so, Todd. And the next coach.

Shane

Professor Q,

Coach Todd does funny things. He FINALLY gives us Nuge-McDavid but he puts Aberg as the RW..?
Ugh..

Jethro Tull

Shane:
Professor Q,

Coach Todd does funny things. He FINALLY gives us Nuge-McDavid but he puts Aberg as the RW..?
Ugh..

Yep. Because even Todd wouldn’t run Nuge-McDavid-Draisaitl.

Stud Muffin

Professor Q:
I mean, I don’t know about 4th or 5th.

Maaaaybe Välimäki or Kylington could be said to be better prospects, but Bear is still outperforming them in the WHL and AHL, and, well, is in the NHL right now while they are not. *And* he’s a RHD
But, I mean, by no means am I as intelligent as Lowetide or whoever this RCN person is. I just think claiming that they’re correct on both *extreme* points when data and performances suggest otherwise is foolish.

And all because he and Jones were drafted much lower than Calgary’s 1st and 2nd Round D Prospects…

Kylington isn’t that good.

Fox and Valimaki are probably better than Bear possibly Andersson is better also.

Woogie63

When was the last time the Oiler’s defense was righty, lefty on each pairing?

godot10

//New Lowetide: Hard Target Search for power-play quarterback.//

The Oilers have McDavid, Draisaitl, and Nugent-Hopkins. Why would they be looking for a power play quarterback, when they already have three better than anyone they could find.

What the OIlers are looking for is a RD with passing ability and some facility at getting his shot off from the point. With the cap situation, it might just be best to wait for Bear. Bear is probably one year away from being a 3rd pairing D who can work the point on the PP.

Too bad the Oilers discarded Justin Schultz. He seems to be able to manage that role in Pittsburgh.

Bling

McDavid’s stamina is something else. Oil were getting killed last night and he once again went into God-mode.

I like having quick, shifty guys like Nuge and Aberg up with McDavid. Those two can win puck races and maintain possession for 97 to do his thing. Good on McLellan for sticking with those lines for the most part.

Aberg has a very good shot. He took a wrist shot low glove side that Dubnyk had trouble with.

The PK is so much better without Letestu. My goodness. If McLellan loses his job, it will have been because of his stubbornness in playing Lucic and Letestu high up in the order.

flyfish1168

I am warming up to the idea that Etan is here until the end of the season. Not sure if it is the correct thing to do but we are here now. Bye eye he is looking better and making some nice simple plays. For sure he needs to get stronger along the board and front of the net battles.

Woogie63

Is LB still in the Oiler’s plan? He is playing every game in Bakersfield, wouldn’t the Oilers be playing Starlett or Ellis on a last place team if they were moving on from LB?

flyfish1168

godot10:
//New Lowetide: Hard Target Search for power-play quarterback.//

The Oilers have McDavid, Draisaitl, and Nugent-Hopkins.Why would they be looking for a power play quarterback, when they already have three better than anyone they could find.

What the OIlers are looking for is a RD with passing ability and some facility at getting his shot off from the point.With the cap situation, it might just be best to wait for Bear.Bear is probably one year away from being a 3rd pairing D who can work the point on the PP.

Too bad the Oilers discarded Justin Schultz.He seems to be able to manage that role in Pittsburgh.

Many teams use a forward back there on the PP. We have Strome, Slepy and Jesse that are RH. They all have a good shot. It can be trouble if there is a turnover. I really like Jesse back there he has the best slapper and mobility.

VOR

Melvis and Munny,

I think the book that every Oiler fan should read is that tiny picaresque by Senor Cervantes. But the Divine Comedy and The Prince would be high on the list. Right up there with Heart of Darkness and One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest.

Professor Q

Lowetide: Fox, Andersson and Valimaaki are all more substantial prospects in my opinion. It doesn’t mean they’ll succeed at the NHL level on par with Bear, but they are quality. Bear is in the NHL but that reflects opportunity, talent and accomplishment. Fox can’t play in the NHL today, as an example.

I concede to you and your points, and admit that I was defensive and hasty.

I still have hope for Edmonton’s prospects, however. Even if I am too optimistic.

Professor Q

Lowetide: No worries. One thing we can say is that Bear is showing a lot of acumen at the NHL level. The things that dragged him down in the draft (I had him higher than anyone who publishes a list iirc) were skating, conditioning and coverage. Well, he’s showing well in conditioning and skating, so coverage remains but that’s true of all young blue.

Where a prospect ranks as a prospect is important because you want to know what’s in the pipeline. I never had Jeff Petry close to No. 1 in the system but he was better than all of the defenseman I ranked ahead of him, a list that included Alex Plante and Taylor Chorney at one time or another.

I still am upset over the Petry deal, but hey, McDavid!

Pescador

flyfish1168:
I am warming up to the idea that Etan is here until the end of the season. Not sure if it is the correct thing to do but we are here now. Bye eye he is looking better and making some nice simple plays. For sure he needs to get stronger along the board and front of the net battles.

It doesn’t appear to be hurting his confidence ala Jultz.
That is all that matters to me,
The kid can tape to tape like a Bear

Pescador

Lowetide,

Thank goodness for that, otherwise 83% of us would be banned for life!

who

It’s fun to watch Mcdavid singlehandedly win games for the Oilers but he sure is sewering our draft position.
The Oilers were pretty bad for large stretches of this game, especially the first half. It seems like everybody just stands around til Mcdavid does something special and then they decide to start playing.
Pontus Aberg does not look like a first line winger.
Didn’t see much magic between Mcdavid and Nuge. I would leave them together for the rest of the season. My thinking is that we’ll get a lot more offense from Drai at 2C than we will from Nuge at 2C.
Doesn’t make sense to play 2 left wingers on the second line and 2 right wingers on the third. Would love to hear Tmacs reasoning on this one.
For the summer
Hang on to Mcdavid, Drai, Nuge, JP, Larsson, Klefbom, Nurse, 2018 1st. That is your core moving forward.
People say the Oilers should trade the 1st round pick because they don’t develop them properly. That is hogwash. Other than Yak every Oiler 1st rounder since 2010 has turned into a significant NHL player.
After next year the Oilers can trade Sekera and/or Russell to create cap space.
Patience, Mr Chia. Patience.

Pescador

Stud Muffin: Kylington isn’t that good.

Fox and Valimaki are probably better than Bear possibly Andersson is better also.

5 years or 246 NHL games
We’re not there yet, but early arrows are looking up

flyfish1168

Professor Q: I still am upset over the Petry deal, but hey, McDavid!

Lowetide: That’s exactly how I feel. I am taught that forgiveness is necessary but have trouble with it sometimes.

LOL, now we have to get over the Hall deal, And that is a big deal

Dominoiler

I saw lucic good last night, first time i could say that maybe all season.. he still wasn’t great or worth 6M, but seemed to be contributing, a welcome sight..

I was a little ho hum on the Nuge / CmD pairing and still think CmD / Drai is deadly.. it’s tough to suss out, whom best to play 2C because the wingers have been so craptastic that it means the centre needs to create individual scoring chances.. i think, with more capable wingers, Nuge, and the oilers, would flourish with him at 2C.. with that said, I’m glad McL is at least taking a look for more than a couple periods..

I’d bet, if they keep playing Nuge on the wing till season’s end then he’ll be sent down the road, sail on post in waiting.. playing Nuge as a LW doesn’t maximise his abilities, imo..

Jethro Tull

VOR:
Melvis and Munny,

I think the book that every Oiler fan should read is that tiny picaresque by Senor Cervantes. But the Divine Comedy and The Prince would be high on the list. Right up there with Heart of Darkness and One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest.

One book was recommended by Rex. The Ghost Map, highlights the importance of interpretation of data, that numbers are meangingless without context and that it’s possible for different people using vastly different tecniques and investigative lines to reach the same conclusion.

flyfish1168

Lowetide: Haha. I got over the Hall deal long ago, the Messier deal not so much. I caused property damage in my own house that day, had the woman I love look at me with disdain and call me (rightly) an idiot. I’ve grown since then, thank God.

lol. To be totally honest with you, I still have a heavy heart from the Gretz trade. What could have been for the next 5 years with him?

Jethro Tull

Lowetide: Haha. I got over the Hall deal long ago, the Messier deal not so much. I caused property damage in my own house that day, had the woman I love look at me with disdain and call me (rightly) an idiot. I’ve grown since then, thank God.

Haha, i call BS. We stay the same. The only thing that changes is the lever. If they traded McDavid tomorrow, I know a good dry waller!

v4ance

Impressions from first visit to Rogers:

Lovely looking facility inside and out. I only catch a few games at the Saddledome from time to time and the difference is night and day. Rogers still looks and feels brand new.

Even from my seats 2nd row from the verrrry top, sightlines were amazing. I rarely glanced at the scoreboard all game, preferring to follow the action all over the ice.

I remember the complaints about the bathroom lineups from when the building first opened but for the guys, there was no problems at all getting in and out between periods.

****

I went into it hoping for a good game but expecting the usual 2 -0 or 5 – 2 loss at the hands of the defensively suffocating Wild. After the 1st period, I was sighing and thinking, oh well, another two boring periods, just one bad mistake into the back of our net and then lockdown til the inevitable empty net goal.

Thankfully we have McDavid.

Dubnyk seemed to be having trouble with blocker side shots letting in McDavid’s 2nd and Drai’s 3rd period goals there.

The Wild’s breakout seemed to be: when under pressure, defence gets it in corners and makes a touch pass to a teammate in the middle near the faceoff dot who moved it quickly to a forward waiting at the blueline. If the D wasn’t under pressure, they would execute the Oilers breakout and go D to man waiting at blueline.

The defensive structure was a collapsing zone towards the net. In the first period, they executed it beautifully, smothering all forays before they became dangerous. In the second, McDavid came off the rush and scored before they could establish a good perimeter and same for Drai’s goal on the pp.

I’m envious and wish our coaches could install something like the WIld’s structure both on defence and during the breakouts.

Professor Q

Lowetide: Maybe it was me worried about what ELSE they might be doing, or maybe it was telegraphed, but the Hall trade didn’t stay with me like Messier’s (or the Gretzky sale). I choose to believe in maturation, you can’t take that away from me!

You say there’s hope for us youngsters yet?

Melvis

VOR,

They’re all on the bottom shelf collecting dust, along with Sheila Watson’s The Double Hook. The latter is certainly worthy of another read these days.

“Watson has said the “double hook” of her title refers to the idea “that when you fish for the glory you catch the darkness too. That if you hook twice the glory you hook twice the fear.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheila_Watson_(writer)

CrazyCoach

Bear will get stronger that’s for sure. I know the last time I saw him in junior, he had no problem taking on bigger opponents due to his balance and skating.

At the pro level, he needs to add some strength training to his regimen.

So far, so good.

flyfish1168

Lowetide: Maybe it was me worried about what ELSE they might be doing, or maybe it was telegraphed, but the Hall trade didn’t stay with me like Messier’s (or the Gretzky sale). I choose to believe in maturation, you can’t take that away from me!

+1

I understand the business side of it more and have more emotional control. lol

Bryan

I like Larsson but the Hall trade still bothers me. Of course I am also still pissed that the Oilers got shafted in their entry draft and that they traded Adam Graves for smoke and mirrors. Gretzky and Messier and all the other sell offs too obviously. I grew up cheering for the Leafs during the Harold Ballard regime so a lot of scars.

godot10

flyfish1168: lol. To be totally honest with you, I still have a heavy heart from the Gretz trade. What could have been for the next 5 years with him?

The OIlers didn’t have five more years with Gretzky. There were only four years left on his contract. He and his agent shrewdly had used Pocklington’s increasingly dire financial situation to progressively shorten the time till he became an unrestricted free agent.

Jethro Tull

Professor Q: You say there’s hope for us youngsters yet?

Only if we get off LT’s lawn!

Doug McLachlan

Professor Q: I still am upset over the Petry/Reinhart/Hall/Eberle deal, but hey, McDavid!

Fixed that for you.

Kinger_Oil.redux

Lowetide: Maybe it was me worried about what ELSE they might be doing, or maybe it was telegraphed, but the Hall trade didn’t stay with me like Messier’s (or the Gretzky sale). I choose to believe in maturation, you can’t take that away from me!

– The dream of the Boys in the Bus, there was a quote in Gzowski’s Game of our Lives where Gretz says they wanted to win 10 Cups

– Now we know that was naive to believe that as they got older they wouldn’t all want to get paid (which they did, elsewhere), but you wonder if a rich owner, who had the dream as well, in a non-cap era: how many Cups they could have won… And the battles vs the Lemieux and Jagr, vs the vet Oilers stayed intact against that formidable team.

– It’s fun to dream about this: I still do from time to time: how the mature not-quite-in prime-but-still-awesome-boys-in-the-bus: how many seasons could they have been Cup contenders?

Bruce McCurdy

Woogie63:
When was the last time the Oiler’s defense was righty, lefty on each pairing?

When Gryba was on the team.

Bobcaygeon

@ Lowetide

Would you consider moving Sekera & JP or the 1st for a signed OEL & Domi?

Then having a better option to trade Klefbom, Nurse or Russell..

IMO bringing the cap inline and areal need to rid themsleves of as many NMC as possible prior to expansion

Bruce McCurdy

Woogie63:
Is LB still in the Oiler’s plan?He is playing every game in Bakersfield, wouldn’t the Oilers be playing Starlett or Ellis on a last place team if they were moving on from LB?

It’s an odd thing. As I understand it LB will be a Group VI free agent unless he plays 28 games (defined for goalies as 30 minutes or more). He’s currently stuck on 27, but 5 of those are under 30 minutes so there is no way he gets there. Clearly McLellan lost faith in him during the Talbot injury; from the day Cam came off IR to now LB has not played a single minute in the Oilers crease.

Yet they play the shit out of him in the AHL as if he were their Talbot down there, while the other alternatives you mention wither on the vine. Nice of them to develop LB for his next organization, what? Makes no sense to me, which puts it on a par with a bunch of other things this org is doing.

oilersfan

Do any of you advanced stats smart people know
What the oilers PK record is with Letestu and without? It seems to
Be much better since he was traded. That alone is a fireable offence for McLellan.

VOR

Melvis:
VOR,

They’re all on the bottom shelf collecting dust, along with Sheila Watson’s The Double Hook. The latter is certainly worthy of another read these days.

“Watson has said the “double hook” of her title refers to the idea “that when you fish for the glory you catch the darkness too. That if you hook twice the glory you hook twice the fear.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheila_Watson_(writer)

I will have to find a copy of Double Hook and check it out. I know I read it in Canadian Literature at the UofA but can’t remember a single word. I remember details of her bio as if it were yesterday.

The works I remember from that class are The Studhorse Man, Fifth Business, the short stories of Alice Munro, and the poems of Leonard Cohen. It is funny what sticks in memory and what fades away.

I am taking part in this challenge, a group of local people decided to challenge themselves to read the 10 most important novels in English literature based on a list from the New Yorker. Right now I am wading through Moby Dick. I was forced to read it in school. I hated it and remembered not a word. I am enjoying it immensely. It is often intentionally laugh out loud funny, the dialogue amazing and the descriptive passages evocative but 20 times too long. They bog down a great yarn.

As a pallet cleanser I just reread Harry Kellermans brilliantly quirky Friday the Rabbi Slept Late. Couldn’t remember it either. Red Harvest I can recite entire passages even though I haven’t read it in 40 years.

So which books still reside in your brain? Which books helped make you who you are?

who

Bobcaygeon:
@ Lowetide

Would you consider moving Sekera & JP or the 1st for a signed OEL & Domi?

Then havinga better option to trade Klefbom, Nurse or Russell..

IMO bringing the cap inline and areal need to rid themsleves of as many NMC as possible prior to expansion

I don’t think thats a realistic trade from the Coyotes point of view. Why would they want Sekera?
They are a young rebuilding team. At least 2 or 3 years from contending.
A more realistic scenario would be Klefbom instead of Sekera. Young dman on bargain contract for 5 more years.
If the Oilers want OEL the best thing to happen would be for the Coyotes to win the lottery. If they have Dahlen they may be willing to trade OEL

Woogie63

We all agree the NHL has got faster.

But has the NHL referees got faster as the players got faster?

NHL referees by age;

12/34 are in their 30’s
14/34 are in their 40’s
8/34 are in their 50’s

Freaks of nature reffing this fast league?

JimmyV1965

I think the best thing for Bear’s development is to send him down after a couple games. It will be good to see how much slower the game is at the AHL level and I’m sure he’ll rip it up there, boosting his confidence even more.

Woogie63

Let’s have a look at Gamberdella.

RNH-McDavid-Aberg
Lucic-Driasaitl-Puljujarvi
Khaira-Strome-Slepyshev
Pakarinen-Gamberdella- Kassian