Chasing Shadows Moonlight Mystery

I mentioned yesterday there were no expectations heading into last night’s game, and maybe that’s why I came away with good vibrations from the loss in Boston. Edmonton won the 5-on-5 high danger scoring chances 7-4 (Natural Stat Trick), Cam Talbot stopped 26 of 27 at 5-on-5, McDavid hammered the sliver of a chance given for a goal, plus the Oilers had some great looks. That last item is the problem, ladies and men. Edmonton needs goals like Mars needs women. We’re on to Manhattan.

THE ATHLETIC!

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: Panic storm on the horizon as Oilers remain a one-man show
  • New Lowetide: Joel Persson’s early season performance in the SHL.
  • Lowetide: Practice lines in Boston, anger in Edmonton and Kailer Yamamoto remains on the No. 2 line.
  • Jonathan Willis: At 34, is Kyle Brodziak just too old to help the Oilers?
  • Jonathan Willis: Why Todd McLellan’s name keeps showing up on those ‘first coach fired in 2018-19’ lists
  • 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.

DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT

  • Nurse-Benning were 5-4 Corsi for 5-on-5 in 9:39, 1-0 goals, 4-1 scoring chances. Nurse was also 2-1 in 3:10 with Evan Bouchard and 4-3 in 2:25 with Adam Larsson, as Benning was the incredible shrinking man in terms of ice time at 5-on-5. Pairing was 4-3 Corsi in 3:46 against Bergeron’s line (Marchand, Pastrnak). Matt Benning can’t go fishing like he did against Pastrnak, that kind of thing is going to get him a night in the pressbox. Seriously.
  • Klefbom-Larsson went 10-17 in 15:19, 0-1 goals and 4-10 shots. Larsson went 4-3 in 2:25 with Nurse, 5-4 in 4:04 with Kris Russell. Klefbom’s best moment was intercepting a pass from the corner to the slot that was a sure goal. Larsson played the Nordstrom goal strangely, thought there might be an interference penalty but it played out. Klefbom was 4-7 in 5:39 against the Bergeron trio, Larsson was 5-10 in 7:10 against the big unit. I’m not sure if that was luck, happenstance, or McLellan just telling Larsson to jump on whenever that group entered the game, but it’s an interesting wrinkle to answer.
  • Russell-Bouchard finished 4-8 in 8:04 together, 0-2 in high danger. Bouchard has a giant brain, it’s wonder he can carry that thing around all day. Honestly, he’s impressive. Great passing, improves positioning shift by shift. Very nice. I don’t think he plays past nine games but he’s the best rookie on the team. Went 0-2 in 57 seconds against Bergeron, another wrinkle in head to head matchups. Is someone matching the defense to forwards? Bouchard needed to shoot the puck at the end of the second period on the power play with just seconds left, instead he sent an errant pass and that’s all she wrote. I love his decision making though, he seems to know all available options as the puck arrives.
  • Cam Talbot stopped 26 of 27, .963, at 5-on-5.
  • NaturalStatTrick and NHL.com.

FORWARDS, LAST NIGHT

  • Lucic-Draisaitl-Yamamoto were 6-9 (Lucic) and 6-6 (Yamamoto) all three on the ice for the GA. Draisaitl and Lucic both had one high danger chance, for me Leon turned it on from the second period on and played closer to expectations. I’ll tell you there’s some concern in this corner of the Al Gore over Yamamoto, he doesn’t get to the puck much and that’s his game. Quick, tight passes, give and go. Not seeing it much. Line went 4-2 in 2:22 against Chara-McAvoy. 1-0 high danger. I would like to see Rieder on RW Saturday.
  • Nuge-McDavid-Rattie got the goal, nifty little pass from Rattie and the rest was 97. Were 11-12 in 14:18, 1-0GF, 1-1 high danger. Went 11-12 against Chara, that pairing marked McDavid 13:43, so all but three minutes. That was the matchup Boston pursued. McDavid made Chara look foolish a few times but the Bruins won the game. I wonder if we see a similar matchup back in Edmonton.
  • Rieder-Khaira-Kassian went 3-4 in 7:10, Khaira missed quite a bit of time serving a fighting major. Rieder got some time with Draisaitl (good chance with 29) and McDavid at different points, also got a clean breakaway. 0-1 high danger. Khaira took a penalty after getting hammered earlier, you could call it selfish but for me it was barely a penalty and could easily have been a non-call.
  • Caggiula-Strome-Puljujarvi were 4-10 in 8:28, 2-2 in high dangers. Caggiula did a lot to get noticed, he hit a lot of people and made some noise, including a high danger chance. There’s a 100 percent chance the organization liked Caggiula’s game over Pulju’s. Strome was quiet offensively, Puljujarvi took another penalty that led to a goal. I don’t think the coaching staff sees JP as a dynamic player. If I’m Carolina, I’d make an offer for the big Finn this morning. You never know.
  • High Danger Chances: Rattie (2), Lucic (2), McDavid (1), Caggiula (1), Yamamoto (1), Draisaitl (1), Nuge (1).

OILERS IN OCTOBER

  • Oilers in October 20150-2-0, 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: 0-2-0, goal differential -6

This is the worst start of the McLellan/Chiarelli era, but it’s two games and we knew the start of the season was going to be difficult. Edmonton is finding out about its roster and what might be needed, and that has value. Talbot’s 5-on-5 performance, McDavid in flight, and I did think young Evan Bouchard showed another night of improving before our eyes.

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 0-1-0)
  • 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: 0-2-0, 0 points after two games

Edmonton lost twice to superior teams, the game last night on the road. I do these looks at the monthly schedule because it gives us a road map for expectations. You should expect the first win of the season on Saturday. If Edmonton can’t win there, I expect the whispers about Todd McLellan become audible murmurs. This schedule is basically the path chosen by the Donner party. Gordon Lightfoot’s a wreck. Holy hell boys I might have to use Van Morrison lyrics before Halloween.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

A fun Friday on the show, of course we’ll talk Oilers and Eskimos. At 10 this morning, scheduled to appear:

  • Steve Lansky, BigMouthSports. Oilers slow start, Matthews mania.
  • Andrew Peard, Oil Kings PBP. The team is still playing well but the results aren’t coming since the quick start.
  • Matt Iwanyk, TSN1260. Eskimos can still make the playoffs in the west, but the room for error is gone.

10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!

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230 Responses to "Chasing Shadows Moonlight Mystery"

« Older Comments
  1. Lowetide says:

    Hayden Hawkey with a shutout tonight. Boston College played, McPhee in the lineup but no Rasanen.

  2. LMHF#1 says:

    Scungilli Slushy,

    Go find the vid of him dusting Kane and Toews. Nothing wrong with his skating…just needs to utilize it better and not get stuck with junk on the wings.

  3. OriginalPouzar says:

    Lowetide:
    Hayden Hawkey with a shutout tonight. Boston College played, McPhee in the lineup but no Rasanen.

    The BC stats page wasn’t loading for me so I had to follow their twitter feed – they got shutout 3-0.

  4. OmJo says:

    Sad to think both the Oilers and Eskimos can end their seasons tomorrow with losses.

    (Yes I’m being overdramatic wrt the Oilers)

  5. hags9k says:

    I think there is enough talent on this team to win games.

    What I don’t see is an inspired group having fun, playing their hearts out for each other. That is what it will take to get the ball rolling. Dig deeper! I’m looking for extra effort on loose pucks, commitment to block shots. Obvious quick feet and wide-eyed attention to air tight checking up and down the roster.

    When we score and our bench erupts, when the post goal hugs and smiles are real, that’s when this coach and team will have my attention again. For too long this team has appeared emotionally attached to the fear to losing, instead of the thrill of winning.

    Roster shuffles and talk of tactics are all moot unless they start with playing hockey the right way, with some fire and emotion. Cmon Todd, turn em loose!

  6. Zelepukin says:

    OmJo:
    Sad to think both the Oilers and Eskimos can end their seasons tomorrow with losses.

    (Yes I’m being overdramatic wrt the Oilers)

    0-5 and we fire McL.

    2013-2014 Flyers, Lavs was fired after going 0-3. They went 3-8 in October and ended up finishing 3rd in Metro, making the playoffs and losing in game 7 to NYR in rnd 1.

    “I really wasn’t happy last year,” Flyers chairman Ed Snider said. “We blamed it on a lot of issues. I thought those issues were valid and felt Peter deserved an opportunity to (return). He’s a great coach, a great guy and works his butt off.

    I felt training camp, quite frankly, was one of the worst training camps I’ve ever seen. And I’m not talking about (preseason) wins and losses. There was nothing exciting. Nobody shot. Nobody looked good. I couldn’t point to one thing that I thought was a positive coming out of training camp, and personally I was worried. Unfortunately, my worries were realized in the first three games, scoring one goal in each game and looking disorganized. It wasn’t just the three losses, it’s the way they played in the three losses. They looked lost.”

  7. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Lots of hate for Caggiula on the sphere today, here & elsewhere, but he won’t get any from me. Not today. I’ve been waiting a good 10 years for some Oiler to stand up to that miserable mofo David Backes, who has been having his way with the Oil all that time. Caggs absolutely smoked him with a clean open ice hit and didn’t back down when Backes came back at him.

    Honestly, if you don’t like that you don’t like hockey.

  8. €√¥£€^$ says:

    RNH-CMD-Rattie
    Yamamoto-Drai-Jesse
    Lucic-Strome-Rieder
    Khaira-Brodziak-Cagguila*/Chaisson

    *Cagguila earned the next game, Kassian doesn’t look like an NHL player – including pre-season

  9. Glovjuice says:

    Bruce McCurdy:
    Lots of hate for Caggiula on the sphere today, here & elsewhere, but he won’t get any from me. Not today.I’ve been waiting a good 10 years for some Oiler to stand up to that miserable mofo David Backes, who has been having his way with the Oil all that time.Caggs absolutely smoked him with a clean open ice hit and didn’t back down when Backes came back at him.

    Honestly, if you don’t like that you don’t like hockey.

    But he is bad at hockey.

  10. GMB3 says:

    Bruce McCurdy:
    Lots of hate for Caggiula on the sphere today, here & elsewhere, but he won’t get any from me. Not today.I’ve been waiting a good 10 years for some Oiler to stand up to that miserable mofo David Backes, who has been having his way with the Oil all that time.Caggs absolutely smoked him with a clean open ice hit and didn’t back down when Backes came back at him.

    Honestly, if you don’t like that you don’t like hockey.

    I actually though Caggiula was far from the problem last night, so I agree with you there.

  11. GMB3 says:

    €√¥£€^$:
    RNH-CMD-Rattie
    Yamamoto-Drai-Jesse
    Lucic-Strome-Rieder
    Khaira-Brodziak-Cagguila*/Chaisson

    *Cagguila earned the next game, Kassian doesn’t look like an NHL player – including pre-season

    Kassian looks so disengaged. Wonder what’s going on there. I hope he is personally doing okay

  12. hags9k says:

    Bruce McCurdy,

    I loved it Bruce.

    Put that fire into the rest of the squad and we are cooking.

  13. BONE207 says:

    Jethro Tull:
    We’re back to exactly where we were in the decade of darkness.Players who aren’t good enough are actually under-performing, the ones who are are desperately outnumbered and over-played.The team is balls to the wall to the cap, nobody wants to trade for said under-performing players and we hold on to prospects until the newer, faster, better, cheaper models are out there eating their lunch. The soundbites are eerily similar, tossed around with careless abandon.“It’s a process”, “…we’re still growing as a team…”, “learning what it takes to win…”

    I’m sure there’ll be be some perfectly reasonable comments here today, rightly extolling the virtue of patience.Patience is not a virtue, it is a luxury.The luxury of those already in a good place.

    I look at the coach, but then look at the roster.Plenty will say the coach has to get the most out of them.Pretty sure Micheal Shumacher in his prime couldn’t have won Monaco in a ’97 Neon with a dodgy clutch, no matter how much he ‘motor-vated’.

    We’re at the point where these things take on a morbid symbiosis – one wrong thing compounds another, which in turn compounds the other again.

    Well, we brought in Reider to help Drai drive a line. He’s fine, I guess.My views on him are well known; perfectly servicable bottom 6 NHL forward.Brodziak to shore up the bottom 6.One game in, the coach is unhappy with the bottom 6 and scratches Brodziak.

    A defense that is actually worse than two years ago.Actually worse than last year, despite having time and resources to fix it.

    Huge question marks about goal-tending, the answer was to add more question marks at a premium price.

    Either the GM is heavily shackled, or he’s insane.I don’t joke about this – the baffling decisions are once again swinging round to being based on things other than winning.

    Which segways nicely into the opening of the decade of darkness at the start:If not now, when, if no these guys, who?

    With the best player in the world playing for us, patience is a luxury that we cannot afford.

    This is a well written & thought out post.
    I approve & agree…patience my ass…let’s kill something.

  14. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Glovjuice: But he is bad at hockey.

    I read a couple of bloggers on Twitter call him the worst player in the NHL today. Oilers fans, supposedly.

    He was the third worst player on his own line last night. Save that stuff for some other day, please & thank you.

  15. JimmyV1965 says:

    If the Oil lose tomorrow I would fire the coach. Will it solve our problems and will the team suddenly start winning? Probably not. But the coach is wound way too tight and the unrelenting pressure he is feeling right now has to be filtering down to the players. The team has to somehow make the game fun for the players again and I just don’t think it will happen with this coach. Unfortunately, I’m not sure Gully is the guy to turn it around.

  16. Wilde says:

    knighttown: Really impressed with the Grzelek kid

    Nice posts today, and I was wondering if anyone was going to bring up Grzelcyk, he’s been tremendous.

    He’s one of those guys whose metrics are so sublime (from last season) that you’d think he’s one of the more sheltered Dmen in the league and you’d be right, but I’m convinced he’s going to take it with him when he goes higher in the lineup. Great brain and can skate. He made a number of plays on the upper-end of our forward lineup last night that made me double-take.

    His is the type of story we’re going to need to have before there’s depth on this team. I think they’re there on the selections, but not what they do with them afterwards.

  17. Wilde says:

    As I have been, I’ll be a bit of a worldburn-watcher (but not in a sadistic way) this season, I think the best chance the team has of being elite is for some poor performance result in a coaching turnover and a shot at a difference-maker we should already have.

    There’s a number of high-end forwards in this draft class, so, even if they end up around 8-15 the shot is pretty good.

  18. Chelios is a Dinosaur says:

    Whether or not bringing in chia and Todd was the right move or not, the decision to not completely rid the organization of the architects of the DOD, I suspect, remains a central issue. There are cultural leaders In every organization: those who determine, even by virtue of their seniority and presence and command within the cultural memory of the organization, the mood and expectations.

    Getting rid of Mac t and chia might help in the short term, but the stink will linger.

    The boys on the bus need to turn the keys over.

    Turn them over to team McDavid and Orr, step off.

    I don’t know if there is precedent,or even what it would look like technically, but the most important person in the organization since Gretzky is 97, and he should command all he needs. Let him know that for the remaining 7 years, the team is his. I don’t see a wilting flower here, not a kid that will buckle, I see a man who at age 7 told his mom to step off, and has become the best in the world at what he does. To surround him in mediocrity, tainted by the stank of red wine thinking, will be the downfall of this club for another 20 or 30 years.

    Problem is. Now they are living their best lives ala George W Bush, how ya like me now, they wheeze. Let’s not forget how we got here.

  19. hags9k says:

    JimmyV1965:
    The team has to somehow make the game fun for the players again…

    I agree.

  20. Chelios is a Dinosaur says:

    Fans who have called for the oilers to pull the shute when the playoffs are out of reach lo these many years play into the pathology of losing that has so overtaken the organization. Now that continual rebuild has run its course, the team can’t turn 180 and be expected to win games. If this season turns into a stinker, it’s further evidence that the rot is deep and the pathology heavy, the DNA of which can take us back pre-Taylor Hall.

  21. 106 and 106 says:

    The October schedule is not a surprise to people; losing to Boston, a really strong team, in their own barn, is no shame. They played well and the Oilers didn’t have the hordes.

    Wash, NSH and Pit await.

    2 to 3 win October was always the goal and the team can still get there.

  22. OriginalPouzar says:

    Bruce McCurdy:
    Lots of hate for Caggiula on the sphere today, here & elsewhere, but he won’t get any from me. Not today.I’ve been waiting a good 10 years for some Oiler to stand up to that miserable mofo David Backes, who has been having his way with the Oil all that time.Caggs absolutely smoked him with a clean open ice hit and didn’t back down when Backes came back at him.

    Honestly, if you don’t like that you don’t like hockey.

    Yes, that part of his game was good as well as his ability to get in there and “muck it up” – that is the part of his game that can keep him in the league. At the same time, he is awful on the PK and the coach keeps throwing him out there for the PK and, aside from “mucking it up, he and his line got killed at even strength.

    Unfortunately, the game he has to play to keep him in the league, the crash and bang game, is not a game his smallish stature can take game in and game out – injuries have (and will) pile up I think.

  23. gn68 says:

    hags9k: Reply)

    Disagree
    If we look at forwards we have
    1 superstar
    2 top 6
    4 bottom 6
    8 borderline Nhlers

    I include Yamo and JP in last line they have the potential to improve but aren’t thereyet

  24. godot10 says:

    Bruce McCurdy: I read a couple of bloggers on Twitter call him the worst player in the NHL today. Oilers fans, supposedly.

    He was the third worst player on his own line last night. Save that stuff for some other day, please & thank you.

    That is what Caggiula is good at. Making his teammates appear as bad at hockey as he actually is.

  25. Bling says:

    I’m at the game!

    Go Oilers!

  26. D says:

    Bling:
    I’m at the game!

    Go Oilers!

    Rangers really flying in the game. Looks to be another Oiler loss. I’m writing this when the score is 1-0 Rangers.

  27. Jaxon says:

    The announcers didn’t recognize Taylor Kitsch sitting with Gretzky.

  28. Professor Q says:

    Jaxon:
    The announcers didn’t recognize Taylor Kitsch sitting with Gretzky.

    Tim Riggins!

  29. Younger Oil says:

    To me, Nurse plays like he thinks he’s a 50+ point player. Not sure if it’s a good or a bad thing.

    Lucic is dragging his line down big time.

  30. workaroundaccount says:

    Wilde:
    As I have been, I’ll be a bit of a worldburn-watcher (but not in a sadistic way) this season, I think the best chance the team has of being elite is for some poor performance result in a coaching turnover and a shot at a difference-maker we should already have.

    There’s a number of high-end forwards in this draft class, so, even if they end up around 8-15 the shot is pretty good.

    Problem with the draft is that other teams are getting good players too, and we have witnessed over a dozen rebuilds happen during our Megabuild.

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