Game 21 2018-19: Oilers at Sharks

by Lowetide

There are a whole group of words and phrases I don’t want to bring out of the tickle trunk. Nadir, Donner party, gales of November (although I’ve already used that one), the draft, trade deadline selloffs and the like. I want to talk about the playoffs, Calder Trophy candidates emerging, wins by five or more goals. November, man. It sucks. Every year.

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. Best available offer is here!

  • New Lowetide: Oilers No. 2 Prospect winter 2018: Kailer Yamamoto.
  • Jonathan Willis: A list of which Oilers are likely to be traded.
  • Tyler Dellow: Ryan Strome for Ryan Spooner looks like a change for change sake
  • Lowetide: Oilers No. 1 Prospect winter 2018: Evan Bouchard.
  • Jonathan Willis: Tobias Rieder will miss a critical month, creating problems for Edmonton but opportunities for its players.
  • Tyler Dellow: If nothing changes, Oilers should buy out Milan Lucic next summer.
  • Lowetide: The past, present and future of the Andrej Sekera contract.
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Elmer Benning on his 47 years as a scout (excellent article).
  • Jonathan Willis: After several failed attempts to fix their issues on the wings, it’s time for the Oilers to explore the trade market.
  • Lowetide: Connor McDavid, a 50-goal season and chasing Phil Esposito’s magical 1970-71.

OILERS AFTER 21

  • Oilers in October 20157-13-1, 15 points; goal differential -9
  • Oilers in October 2016: 12-8-1, 25 points; goal differential +10
  • Oilers in October 2017: 7-12-2, 16 points; goal differential -18
  • Oilers in October 2018: 9-10-1, 19 points; goal differential -9

The 2018 Oilers could do themselves an enormous favor with a win tonight. Separation from the 2015 and 2017 teams is important, as these trajectories seem to have some kind of value as predictors for the full 82. By that I mean this: The current team is the second best McLellan team, which isn’t the same thing as saying they’ll make the playoffs, but there’s a light up above and maybe 20 men scramble from a would-be grave. It has to happen now, and honestly it’s a rare thing for a team to grab a winning streak right on time.

OILERS IN NOVEMBER

  • Oilers in November 2015: 3-6-1, seven points; goal differential -5
  • Oilers in November 2016: 3-6-1, seven points; goal differential -8
  • Oilers in November 2017: 4-5-1, nine points; goal differential 0
  • Oilers in November 2018: 3-6-0, six points; goal differential -7

It’s four snails heading to the finish line, good grief living through this has been kind of a drag. You could say (as I did above) a win tonight makes things better, but the Oilers have put themselves in a difficult position by losing so many in November. It seems a bit much to bitch about such a small sample size, but losing contact with the top of the Pacific this early spells doom.

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM NOVEMBER

  • At home to: Chicago (Expected 1-0-0) Actual (1-0-0)
  • On the road to: Detroit, Washington, Tampa Bay, Florida  (Expected 2-2-0) (Actual 1-3-0)
  • At home to: Colorado, Montreal (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 1-1-0)
  • On the road to: Calgary (Expected 0-1-0) (Actual 0-1-0)
  • At home to: Vegas (Expected 1-0-0) (Actual 0-1-0)
  • On the road to: San Jose, Anaheim, Los Angeles (Expected 2-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • At home to: Dallas, Los Angeles  (Expected 1-0-1) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • Overall expected result: 8-5-1, 17 points in 14 games 
  • Current results: 3-6-0, 6 points in 9 games

There are five games left, Edmonton needs to win three of them in my opinion. If the club arrives on November 30th with a 6-8-0 record in November it’ll be a body blow but not close to fatal. The team would be 12-12-0, 24 points in 24 games and on pace for just 82 points. The Pacific Division is a blessing so far this year, but two or three teams are going to get hot and two of them (San Jose and Calgary) may have already announced themselves. Arizona is also a team to watch.

THE HEAT IS ON!

We’ve heard various versions of this story since the team came back from Europe, depending on the recent won-loss record of the team. Still, Elliotte Friedman’s hit on Sportsnet 960 radio in Calgary yesterday seemed to give us a more current lay of the land.

  • Friedman: “I don’t think it’s just coach watch, I think everybody in that organization is on pins and needles right now. And I’ve said this before. Right from the start of this year, it was on edge in Edmonton. I just think that it has gone away at certain times. They lost their first two games – it was crazy intense for two games into the season. They kind of righted the ship. They’ve been very streaky, and every time they go on one of the bad streaks, people tell me the intensity of the heat just ramps up again.I don’t know too many people that feel that safe there right now.”

What should Daryl Katz do? I’m absolutely certain he isn’t going to call me on cell today, so there’s no reason to save my opinion. Here goes. I look at this organization as a train that decoupled many miles ago.

The train engine (NHL team) keeps stopping and starting despite fantastic riches, mostly because the depth is just awful after the top group (McDavid ON, McDavid OFF). The boxcars needed to fill in around in complementary roles are miles away, matriculating on the farm and working their way to Edmonton.

Getting those two things to couple is the goal. I am of the belief that the amateur scouting side is doing a fine job, and the team seems to have found a coach in Bakersfield more than willing to play the kids. That portion of the pipeline appears to be fixed at this time.

That brings us to the big club. My main concern with Todd McLellan is the transitioning of the kids, from Jesse Puljujarvi to Kailer Yamamoto and Ethan Bear on it goes. If he can capably incorporate these young players to the NHL in productive roles, then firing him is (in my opinion) short sighted. All of the players who I thought would push and win NHL jobs are in the minors. That’s a tell.

My main concern with Peter Chiarelli is his next big trade. I don’t think anyone can reasonably argue his major tweaks represent a net gain, and I’m fully aware of Adam Larsson’s value. Some big pieces have been sent away for nothing and you can’t have that in today’s NHL. The McDavid contract has a lot of track left, but there’s a chance another major deal could put this team in the same holding pattern we’re seeing now. I would recommend firing the general manager, replacing him with a capable hand (might be Keith Gretzky). If you can’t trust your GM to make a big trade, he isn’t your general manager any more.

I would bring in a new man who could/would make the decision on the coach. As unhappy as many of you would be with that outcome, it would, in my opinion, be the fairest route from here. I would hope the new general manager would find a way to convince the coach to play Jesse Puljujarvi and Kailer Yamamoto, bring up Ethan Bear and Caleb Jones for looks, and perhaps a cup of coffee for Tyler Benson at some point in time.

Note: I wrote about Yamamoto this morning at The Athletic, including reasons why I think he’ll be back with the Oilers in the next two weeks.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

A busy morning, TSN1260. We have much to discuss, including the Oilers and the Grey Cup. Scheduled to appear:

  • Jonathan Willis, The Athletic. Oilers at the quarter pole, and names that might he headed out of town.
  • Dan Rusanowsky, Play-by-play voice of the San Jose Sharks on KFOX 98.5 FM and the San Jose Sharks Radio Network. Sharks once again at the top of the division, the most consistent team in the Pacific.
  • Scott Cullen, The Athletic. Grey Cup, Oilers troubles, explaining Alex Chiasson.

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

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pts2pndr

GMB3:
Quick question for the people here smarter than I (read: everyone). What happens to Ole penis wrinkle head Drew Remenda now?

I understand he is in line for a redoo of Mr. magoo!

GMB3

Jaxon:
Just noticed that Vivieros coached in Austria and Germany, so he must be a nice compliment to have on the bench for Draisaitl and Rieder. They can speak in their own language if they wish.

Is he even on the bench?

giddy

Jaxon:
Just noticed that Vivieros coached in Austria and Germany, so he must be a nice compliment to have on the bench for Draisaitl and Rieder. They can speak in their own language if they wish.

Eh, I don’t think that’s really a huge deal. Maybe if they were brand new players to NA it would help them feel accustomed, but otherwise they all speak fluent English so no real need unless they were trying to make fun of McLellan behind his back.

giddy

itsaleaf:
They played hard(to be expected from the boost of having a new guy in charge) and won.

The problem’s still the same:. If McDavids doesn’t do it, they are toast

Yep. Not a bad game, and I like Hitch, but he deployed the players in a reasonable manner and they barely scraped into OT. And frankly, for a team with such unbelievable talent (Burns, Karlsson, Vlasic, Couture, Pavelski, Meier, Kane, Hertl, Lebanc, Thornton, any of whom would be in our top six/top two) they’re seriously under-performing and Martin Jones with his sub-.900 SV% is killing them.

I am looking forward to the rest of this Cali road trip. They don’t play again till Friday, and don’t have much travel in that time period so Hitch should get two full days of practice with them. Excited to see how they perform and what might have changed by the time they take the ice against the Ducks.

godot10

jake70:
Just watching hilites. That Couture goal top shelf….just like Domi last week…..Koskinen over way to far on short side.Needs to fix that (great shots by those players notwithstanding).

Nurse on goal 1 and Larsson on goal 3, yikes.

Nurse might have been supposed to switch off on goal 1. Russell went a-wandering to emply space, and didn’t pick him up.

Jaxon

Just noticed that Vivieros coached in Austria and Germany, so he must be a nice compliment to have on the bench for Draisaitl and Rieder. They can speak in their own language if they wish.

Jethro Tull

Reja:
SwedishPoster,

Even lidstrom got walked on the odd time.

We’re just used to watching McDavid doing it to the league’s best.

Jethro Tull

Glovjuice: It’s very likely that hitch simply has a higher IQ than TMac. IQ talk is like talking politics or religion but it has massive impacts on an individuals performance ceiling. It really is just math of a different version that is not factored in nearly enough when evaluating someone’s peak performance in many disciplines.

Are you talking general IQ? Because subject matter knowledge is a little different and linked to aptitude. That’s why you can have a person who is a real rocket scientist struggle with the basics of learning a new language or a virtuoso musician who cannot change a tire.

Hitch does seem to be able to change and adapt his in game tactics on the fly though, which is something TMac struggled mightily with.

Reja

SwedishPoster,

Even lidstrom got walked on the odd time.

Halfwise

Yeti: Asgard?

That would mean he was wearing it backwards.

Glovjuice

Bulging Twine:
Man, Hitchcock is a wicked smart hockey mind.
Very aware of the team and individuals.

It’s very likely that hitch simply has a higher IQ than TMac. IQ talk is like talking politics or religion but it has massive impacts on an individuals performance ceiling. It really is just math of a different version that is not factored in nearly enough when evaluating someone’s peak performance in many disciplines.

Yeti

SwedishPoster:
I just found Larsson’s jockstrap on the parking lot outside work. Anyone now where I can send it so he gets it back?

Asgard?

SwedishPoster

I just found Larsson’s jockstrap on the parking lot outside work. Anyone now where I can send it so he gets it back?

itsaleaf

They played hard(to be expected from the boost of having a new guy in charge) and won.

The problem’s still the same:. If McDavids doesn’t do it, they are toast

jake70

Just watching hilites. That Couture goal top shelf….just like Domi last week…..Koskinen over way to far on short side. Needs to fix that (great shots by those players notwithstanding).

Nurse on goal 1 and Larsson on goal 3, yikes.

kgo

GMB3: Probably orchestrated his own firing by doing things like leaving Lucic on the PP, on the first line in the third period against CGY, by putting him out down a foal and with the goalie pulled.

I lost count of the times Lucic was on the ice, down a goal, for the last 2 minutes straight… I knew Lucic was the hill Chia was willing to die on….I guess Chia was the hill TMac chose to die on….so why isn’t Chia dead?

kgo

GMB3:
Quick question for the people here smarter than I (read: everyone). What happens to Ole penis wrinkle head Drew Remenda now?

Thank you!

Professor Q

flea:
It’s interesting to see Hitch still had McD with 25 min. By my eye, their shifts for all lines were way shorter than before. If you defend for more than 30 sec – change. One offensive sortie – change.

Thought he kept the team fresher this way.

It’s like the Tim Hortons drive-thru target frequency.

Bulging Twine

Man, Hitchcock is a wicked smart hockey mind.
Very aware of the team and individuals.

flea

It’s interesting to see Hitch still had McD with 25 min. By my eye, their shifts for all lines were way shorter than before. If you defend for more than 30 sec – change. One offensive sortie – change.

Thought he kept the team fresher this way.

--hudson--

Justin Mahe is the Oilers analytic guy since the day Keith Gretzky was hired. Believe Andre Brin is also still an employee.
https://www.nhl.com/oilers/news/oilers-announce-changes-to-hockey-operations/c-890460

Sean Draper was a longtime employee but left during the summer per Matty.
“Sean Draper, the Oilers’ long-time director of research, analysis and software development, has left the organization”
https://edmontonsun.com/sports/hockey/nhl/edmonton-oilers/oilers-sign-first-round-pick-evan-bouchard-to-entry-level-contract

You can see most of the Oilers employees in their media guide.
https://www.nhl.com/oilers/info/media-guide-18-19

Bulging Twine

Chiarelli must be thrilled with the way the heavy hockey worked so well in the third. He be like, that’s what I’m talking about!

Ryan

Pescador: Lets be perfectly honest
Hitchcock looked at Woodguy’s
97 On Goal share vs.
97 Off Goal share
And thought “Need more 97 on”
Crafty as Fuck if you ask me
You go ahead & quote me on that in your grades tomorrow McCurdy
I don’t mind

Woodguy has the goods as always:

https://mobile.twitter.com/Woodguy55/status/1065053650332995585

#cleanairforMcDavid

Ryan

GMB3: Hopefully they add in some of Kurt Leavins expert analysis as an addendum

Get up to speed here:

https://mobile.twitter.com/Woodguy55/status/1064961012242116608

Not a knock on the COH boys, but they literally are the Oilers stats department lol.

Pescador

Richard S.S.:
0-2
8-2-1
0-4
2-2
There will always be 2-4 game losing streaks.It’s what you do after that matters.There is no one running away in a wide open Pacific Division. The Oilers are one point out of third with a game in hand.

10-10-1
I ? Pacific

Pescador

Bank Shot: It was kind of the third line. They looked really good.

On the Oilers? Yes
On the Preds or Lightning? probably not

Professor Q

OriginalPouzar:
Ethan Bear struggling big time yet again – that’s a second unforced error at the blue line, he’s fallen down a few times, etc.

Hopefully he turns his game around soon.

His version of Jones’ last season? Which hopefully means improvement next year, just like Jones.

Richard S.S.

0-2
8-2-1
0-4
2-2
There will always be 2-4 game losing streaks. It’s what you do after that matters. There is no one running away in a wide open Pacific Division. The Oilers are one point out of third with a game in hand.

Pescador

Ryan: Why do I feel like Hitch turned a bunch of guys who seemed previously useless into a speed bag forecheck cycleattack?

Yep

Pescador

Ryan: Hitch looked smart tonight.

Poor guy will ask for his stats pack from the game tonight and will get game grades from the COH.

Lets be perfectly honest
Hitchcock looked at Woodguy’s
97 On Goal share vs.
97 Off Goal share
And thought “Need more 97 on”
Crafty as Fuck if you ask me
You go ahead & quote me on that in your grades tomorrow McCurdy
I don’t mind

GMB3

Quick question for the people here smarter than I (read: everyone). What happens to Ole penis wrinkle head Drew Remenda now?

JimmyV1965

Does anyone know if Hitch will ever say anything about the reffing? Has he done it in the past? McDavid was groped all night long. He was hooked on the game winner and the he refs hand didn’t go up. Tmac’s unwillingness to ever say anything drove me nuts.

GMB3

JimmyV1965:
Talbot 8 losses. Koskinen 2. Tmac orchestrated his own firing simply by trusting Talbot too much.

Probably orchestrated his own firing by doing things like leaving Lucic on the PP, on the first line in the third period against CGY, by putting him out down a foal and with the goalie pulled.

GMB3

Ryan: Hitch looked smart tonight.

Poor guy will ask for his stats pack from the game tonight and will get game grades from the COH.

Hopefully they add in some of Kurt Leavins expert analysis as an addendum

Ryan

GMB3:
The Hitchcock profile pictures on twitter kill me. I haven’t seen my oilers timeline have so much fun since the playoff run of 2016

Hitch looked smart tonight.

Poor guy will ask for his stats pack from the game tonight and will get game grades from the COH.

GMB3

The Hitchcock profile pictures on twitter kill me. I haven’t seen my oilers timeline have so much fun since the playoff run of 2017

Ryan

Pescador: Especially Lucic on the B. forth line
Or was it the A fourth?

Why do I feel like Hitch turned a bunch of guys who seemed previously useless into a speed bag forecheck cycle attack?

Bank Shot

Pescador: Especially Lucic on the B. forth line
Or was it the A fourth?

It was kind of the third line. They looked really good.

Pescador

Jethro Tull: I’m British and have wooted lots, sir.

Woot, indeed.

jm363561:
And a second time. Woot. Woot.

Wankers! The pair of ya,
Woot!

JimmyV1965

Talbot 8 losses. Koskinen 2. Tmac orchestrated his own firing simply by trusting Talbot too much.

Bling

That was some crazy backhand Drai Special Sauce on the DC goal!

Unbelievable. So good, and Drai is still improving the recipe.

hunter1909

After tonight’s game, Draisaitl’s in the top ten in NHL scoring.

striatic

drglen,

Khaira was impressive early and Hitchcock rolled with it. I thought Khaira did very well with the rope provided.

Kassian and Lucic had a fair night as well, maintaining possession for long stretches and sawing off.

Pescador

drglen:
I liked the deployment. But some guys didnt get much time

Rattie seemed to get more looks.And kassian is driving the 4th line

Chiasson marody kind of lost

Hes trying to find a role for khaira.Gave him quite a bit of rope

Especially Lucic on the B. forth line
Or was it the A fourth?

Bank Shot

20:57 for Caggiula.

Highest ice time in a game in his career.

Suntory Hanzo

Jethro Tull: I’m British and have wooted lots, sir.

Woot, indeed.

Woot to the seed drill! 🙂

SwedishPoster

Kool. Konfident. Koskinen.

Also McDavid and Drai are two somewhat ok hockeyers.

Not a superb showing overall but they looked better as the game went. That’s a positive with a new coach.

Ryan

Caller Zen: True that for #2 – Hitch is much more tactical with his deployment than TMac and it was noticeable in this first game. Looking forward to seeing the coach in the home rink and McDavid devouring the prey.

Mclellan’s biggest flaw as an Oilers coach.

He was so happy running McDavid PVP that he didn’t bother to use him to feast on the low hanging fruit.

Caller Zen

drglen: kassian is driving the 4th line

Also saw Kassian driving the 4th line, but had some help from 28 and 27. Funny how the further down the lineup Lucic plays, the better he looks.

Pescador

treevojo:
Hahaha

Hahaha