Todd McLellan shuffled his lines at practice in Boston, sending Jesse Puljujarvi to the fourth line (or bizarro third line, it’s honestly hard to tell these days). McLellan is going to do this his way, but success will need to follow. If you are unorthodox you need to win. If you’re Whitey Herzog and it’s 1982 you are a genius. Come 1990? Time for the off ramp. Still, it’s one thing to try an idea in practice, quite another to use it for an entire game. McLellan is clearly searching.
Seen some hard times
Drawn some bad lines
No time for shoeshines
Hard nose the highway
-Van Morrison, Hard Nose the Highway
The Athletic Edmonton is going to bring it all season long. Proud to be part of a lineup that is ready to cover the coming year. Outstanding coverage from a large group, including Daniel Nugent-Bowman and Jonathan Willis, Lowetide, Minnia Feng and Pat McLean. If you haven’t subscribed yet, now’s your chance. Special offer is here, less than $3 a month!
- New Lowetide: Joel Persson’s early season performance in the SHL.
- New Lowetide: Practice lines in Boston, anger in Edmonton and Kailer Yamamoto remains on the No. 2 line.
- New Jonathan Willis: At 34, is Kyle Brodziak just too old to help the Oilers?
- New Jonathan Willis: Why Todd McLellan’s name keeps showing up on those ‘first coach fired in 2018-19’ lists
- New James Mirtle: Sizing up the NHL 2018-19 by age, height and age (Oilers content)
- Black Dog: Edmonton’s future is bright, but there are all kinds of questions in the present.
- Lowetide: Evan Bouchard survives first game.
- Lowetide: Ryan McLeod takes demotion in stride, while a Condo of Condors impress on opening weekend.
- Jonathan Willis: On AHL opening night, Caleb Jones and friends make it clear they want NHL jobs.
- Lowetide: Orange, white and blue October: In 1979, the Oilers rocked the NHL.
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: After the death of his father, Sweden trip holds special significance for Adam Larsson, and one of his opponents.
- Scott Wheeler: How the eye test fails to properly evaluate Evan Bouchard.
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Why the Nuge-McDavid-Rattie line has been so successful.
- Lowetide: The 2018-19 Oilers are in a period of transition.
- Jonathan Willis: How worried should the Oilers be about the preseason struggles of Milan Lucic and Leon Draisaitl?
HOW BAD WAS IT?
I have archives for this blog going back to late spring 2007 and believe me there are passages from all of us that reflect searing pain and acid rain. I think it’s important to look at things logically and that paints an interesting picture.
The five lefties on the power play plan has people up in arms, but they cashed in Game 1 of the season and are rolling at 25 percent. If the current group goes a few games without scoring, I’m sure we’ll see a tweak.
It’s the same with the third and fourth lines. McLellan is looking for some kind of solution and we know shuffling lines is one of his favourite tools. In the projected lineup below, that third line is just about the most experienced trio he can cobble, and the fourth line is a group of kids trying to find their way.
TODAY’S PROJECTED LINEUP
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins—Connor McDavid—Ty Rattie
- Milan Lucic—Leon Draisaitl—Kailer Yamamoto
- Tobias Rieder—Ryan Strome—Zack Kassian
- Drake Caggiula—Jujhar Khaira—Jesse Puljujarvi
- Oscar Klefbom—Adam Larsson
- Darnell Nurse—Matt Benning
- Kris Russell—Evan Bouchard
- Cam Talbot (Mikko Koskinen)
I’ll change the lineup if there are last minute changes (Nuge did practice yesterday), not sure about anything beyond the No. 1 line and the top two pairings (plus Talbot). I will tell you I have absolutely no expectations entering this game. The preseason is gone, we have one game as a reference point, and tonight could be 7-0 Boston or a close one. I can’t see Edmonton blowing out the Bruins, though. That No. 1 line featuring Bergeron with Marchand and Pastrnak is just too good to shut down.
OILERS IN OCTOBER
- Oilers in October 2015:0-2-0, goal differential -4
- Oilers in October 2016: 2-0-0, goal differential +5
- Oilers in October 2017:1-1-0, goal differential +2
- Oilers in October 2018: 0-1-0, goal differential -3
Edmonton’s first game has been discussed to death so it’s good to get this party started. The first ‘must win’ game for October goes on Saturday, grabbing a point tonight would be a great result for the Oilers. The goal differential is also important and the penalty kill could use a strong game.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM OCTOBER
- On the road to: Sweden to play NJD (Expected: 0-0-1) (Actual: 0-1-0)
- On the road to: Boston, NYR, Winnipeg (Expected 1-2-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- At home to: Boston, Nashville, Pittsburgh, Washington (Expected 1-3-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- On the road to: Nashville, Chicago (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- At home to: Minnesota (Expected 0-0-1) (Actual 0-0-0)
- Overall expected result: 3-6-2, 8 points in 11 games
- Current results: 0-1-0, 0 points after one game
The Oilers play Boston tonight, at MSG Saturday morning and then Tuesday against the Jets to round out the road trip. Is it possible to come home 2-2-0? I think that’s too much to ask, but we’ll see. A strong rebound game today would bring a lot of cheer to Oilers fans.
Condors win 3-2 in a SO.
Loved the compete level and attention to detail defensively tonight.
The top four on defence (Lowe-Bear, Gravel-Jones) looks to be a force at this level.
— Matt Mosewich (@EDMFutureWatch) October 11, 2018
The team is 2-1-0 so far and that puts them near the top of the Pacific Division, rare air for the Condors in the AHL. Eight individual forwards have scored in the three games, that’s a nice reflection of improved depth. Tyler Benson and Cooper Marody are the class of the signed group up front.
- Condors start 2015-16: 1-1-1 (-4GD)
- Condors start 2016-17: 1-2-0 (+1GD)
- Condors start 2017-18: 1-2-0 (-6GD)
- Condors start 2018-19: 2-1-0 (+3GD)
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, TSN1260. It’s going to be a helluva day for Oilers fans, feels like opening night all over again. Scheduled to appear:
- Alex Thomas, The Oilers Rig, The Hockey Writers and Murphy’s Hockey Law. We get the Oilers and Bruins updated from Bostonian Thomas, who is an excellent writer and observer of all things orange, white and blue.
- Daniel Gallen from Penn Live. Eagles have struggled all year, but the NFC East has been awful in the first quarter so there’s still time. Big one against Eli tonight.
- Frank Seravalli, TSN. Oilers have played only one game but the Todd McLellan drum is getting louder.
- Andrew Peard, Oil Kings PBP. The team is still playing well but the results aren’t coming since the quick start.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Two hours of radio straight ahead!