The Man Who Knew Too Much

by Lowetide

In what was surely a pleasurable evening for all involved, Oilers’ fans, management, players and owner got a breath of fresh air in the person of Ken Hitchcock. Older than the hills and twice as dusty, the mind remains rapier sharp and that was on display last night. A few tweaks and mid-game corrections, plus a fantastic postgame avail, and hope returns to good old our town.

I have a confession to make: I miss Craig MacTavish as the Oilers coach. I try, honestly I do, but it’s like trying to find rhubarb pie that tastes like my mother-in-laws: Good luck! MacT coached 5-on-5 hockey like a man who knew what he was doing and there was a certain contentment in watching him match lines and trot out “The Suppression All-Stars” when all the other teams were trying to score. MacT treated his checking line like kings, and tried to turn skill players into Craig MacTavish the player. Complete madness of course, but it was comforting to know Edmonton would outscore opponents most nights in the big part of the game.

Pat Quinn was a shocking followup, kind of like when the Stones followed up the single “Let’s Spend the Night Together” with “We Love You”—a song you have never heard, and for good reason. Tom Renney was a good coach, he could have succeeded long term if the Oilers had been a more settled organization. Ralph Krueger never got a chance, Dallas Eakins is earning his next one with fine work in San Diego, Todd Nelson will get his chance someday.

Todd McLellan ended his Oilers coaching career with a winning percentage of .527, the highest since MacT. His seven career playoff wins as an Oilers coach rank him No. 6 (MacT is No. 3) among Edmonton’s 14 NHL coaches. Was it too long at the fair? Failure to adjust? I wrote yesterday at The Athletic about it, fairly certain he was caught between a rock and a hard place. We’re on to Hitchcock.

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: With not enough talent, and outside the playoffs, Todd McLellan’s Oilers career ends where it began.
  • New Jonathan Willis: The Edmonton Oilers get their 2018-19 quarter pole report cards.
  • Black Dog Pat: It’s going to be a long winter.
  • New Pierre Lebrun: The chance to coach his hometown Oilers was an offer Ken Hitchcock couldn’t refuse.
  • New Jonathan Willis: Hiring Ken Hitchcock is Peter Chiarelli’s final chance to make his Oilers vision work.
  • New Eric Duhatschek: Ken Hitchcock will be motivated by move to Oilers, now what can he get out of flawed roster?
  • 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.

OILERS AFTER 21

  • Oilers in 2015: 7-13-1, 15 points; goal differential -9
  • Oilers in 2016: 12-8-1, 25 points; goal differential +10
  • Oilers in 2017: 7-12-2, 16 points; goal differential -18
  • Oilers in 2018: 10-10-1, 21 points; goal differential -8

My ‘four year McLellan’ daily updates are now royally screwed, but we’ll keep going until I think of something else. Edmonton won in overtime last night in Ken Hitchcock’s debut. The team played a fairly complete game, although defensive miscues were evident throughout the piece. Oilers are in fourth place in the Pacific, one point behind Vancouver with two games in hand. A big win!

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: 4-6-0, eight points; goal differential -6

The gales of November are a thing in Oilers nation, however last night’s win gives the 2018 team the second best record in the McDavid Years (a-HA, it didn’t take me long at all). Important to turn this California road trip into whatever is the opposite of the Donner party.

WHAT TO EXPECT IN 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 1-0-0)
  • 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: 4-6-0, 8 points in 10 games

Edmonton could still post a point per game in November, it would involve a mammoth back end of the month. The California teams have struggled, so the Oilers should be able to get a result in a couple of those contests. Maybe Hitchcock will arrive at the Dallas pregame, talk a humble “we don’t belong on the same ice” verbal he used to use on Oilers fans, and then Edmonton will trounce the Stars in an epic example of poetic justice.

HITCHCOCK’S FIRST LINEUP

  • Caggiula—McDavid—Draisaitl
  • Spooner—Nuge—Chiasson
  • Lucic—Brodziak—Kassian
  • Khaira—Marody—Rattie
  • Klefbom—Larsson
  • Nurse—Russell
  • Gravel—Benning
  • Koskinen

A couple of subtle changes, veterans on the third line (for hard matching) and a kid No. 4 line; Russell to the second pair with Nurse, Benning moved down. They aren’t major moves, but the first Hitch tweaks. He also ran McDavid heavy on the No. 4 line and they had success. That’ll mean some goals in the next games. Hitchcock’s presser is here, simply golden.

DEFENSE LAST NIGHT

  • Gravel-Benning were 11-5 Corsi for 5-on-5 in 10:40, 4-4 shots, 0-1 goals, 1-2 HDSC. Gravel looks calm and under control, really liking his game and hoping the Oilers keep him in the lineup. Benning fell on a two-on-one (that became a breakaway), got the stick knocked out of his hands by rat fink Thornton so Benning was out of the play on the pass to Sorensen for the goal. I like him but the new coach has no track record, needs to be better. Pairing went 5-3 in 5:07 against Sorensen-Rat Fink-Lebanc.
  • Nurse-Russell were 11-17 in 17:42, 5-9 shots, 1-1 goals, 3-5 HDSC. I honestly don’t know what either man was doing off the faceoff on the Donskoi goal, if there’s a guess allowed it would be they both thought it was man to man coverage the new coach wanted but who the hell knows. Didn’t look good. Nurse was on for the Couture goal but he got the minus Klefbom earned. Went 7-9 in 10:24 against Kane-Pavelski-Donskoi, that’s one tough line baby.
  • Klefbom-Larsson were 8-13 in 17:24, 3-5 shots, no goals (together) and 1-1 HDSC. The play everyone will use against Larsson came because Oscar didn’t get the puck deep on his change. Complete breakdown and Larsson got caught badly by Couture. I didn’t like the goalie on that play, either, but Klef needs to be more careful. Went 5-4 in 8:40 against Meier-Couture-Hertl, who are also a helluva line. Larsson made a nifty pass at the blue line on the McDavid goal.
  • Mikko Koskinen is the starter for Edmonton until further notice. Stopped 22 of 25, .880, but several were of the 10-bell variety.
  • NaturalStatTrick and NHL.com.

FORWARDS, LAST NIGHT

  • Caggiula-McDavid-Draisaitl posted seven points, were 19-13 in 19:13, 10-8 shots, 2-1 goals, 4-3 HDSC. Holy hell Hitchcock ran these guys heavy, 24 minutes for 97. Went 13-10 in 16:53 against Vlasic-Braun, good lord that’s a hard match (in every possible way). Caggiula is on pace to score 32 goals, appears to be winning that LW job. How long can he keep it? Career high is 13 goals.
  • Spooner-Nuge-Chiasson were 9-10 in 11:31, 3-4 shots, 0-1 goals and 0-2 HDSC. I liked the line, although they were quiet offensively (the Nuge goal aside). Were 4-5 in 9:01 against Dillon-Karlsson. Spooner is starting to show the skill that Edmonton badly needs from the second line, suspect he’ll cash in California.
  • Lucic-Brodziak-Kassian was an interesting wrinkle by Hitch, a veteran checking line. Went 6-7 in 11:22, 5-4 shots, 1-0 goals and 3-2 HDSC. Impressive showing in their first time out. Went 3-5 in 8:25 against Dillon-Karlsson. Lucic played a strong game on the forecheck, Hitchcock praised him while also saying there was too much talk about goals. Reminded me of Buck Rodgers talking about Otis Nixon’s inability to hit the ball on the ground to take advantage of his speed (Otis hit lazy flies all the live-long day).
  • Khaira-Marody-Rattie were 5-4 in 7:40 (McDavid stole four of Marody’s minutes), 2-2 shots, no goals and 1-1 HDSC. Went 2-3 against Karlsson-Burns. Hitchcock mentioned not remembering one player’s name during the game, and that player missing shifts. Had to be Marody, took me back to my own hockey career although the coach damned well knew my name!
  • Khaira-McDavid-Rattie were 4-0 in 2:12, 3-0 shots, 1-0 goals and 1-1 HDSC. It’s an interesting little addition to the batting order, Hitch in an everything old is new again mode.

WHAT’S NEXT?

Nugent-Bowman has a terrific tweet thread, click and read a substantial update on the Condors game last night. As for recalls, Hitchcock talked about grinding and loves the forecheck, so names like Jesse Puljujarvi and (in my opinion) Joe Gambardella are going to be in the mix of possible recalls. Gambardella was a demon on the forecheck in college, that’s Hitchcock’s kind of player. Daniel’s report suggests Yamamoto had a tough game, perhaps he stays longer in Bakersfield.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

At 10 this morning, TSN1260. It’s a firehose week in terms of stories to cover so hang in there as we bring it all to you. Scheduled to appear:

  • Bruce McCurdy, Cult of Hockey at the Edmonton Journal. Our friend was writing the game review deep into the night, until there was just him, some chickens and the coyotes. We’ll get him going at 10:20 this morning.
  • Sean Shapiro, The Athletic. Sean has written some fabulous articles on Hitchcock and his use of analytics, we’ll get some inside stuff this morning.
  • Jon Campbell, Oddshark. Grey Cup odds, Rams/Chiefs Super Bowl, Oilers under Hitchcock a better bet?

10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!

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ArmchairGM

leadfarmer:
The key to being a great coach is attaching yourself to a great player.

Didn’t seem to work for McLellan.

OriginalPouzar

ArmchairGM: If I’m not mistaken, London is 6-0-0 with Bouchard in the lineup. Hopefully McLeod can at least get a few points in the loss.

Ya, I think London has won 10 or 11 in a row now.

leadfarmer

Side: If Pit got Dallas Eakins as a coach, they would not win a cup.

Why.
They played his chase pressure system when they won.

Side

leadfarmer: Pit actually proves my point.Didn’t matter who coached just needed a shakeup to give players a reset and then can the coach for another shakeup.If a coach can win a cup he’s obviously mostly competent.Pitt May lose their coach again.Is it coaching?No.Is it cause Murray can’t stop a beach ball.Yes
It’s not the coaches.It’s the players.
It’s easy to say you bought into the system when you are winning

If Pit got Dallas Eakins as a coach, they would not win a cup.

Halfwise

If the coach doesn’t matter, why have one at all? Seems like a waste of several million dollars a year.

leadfarmer

The key to being a great coach is attaching yourself to a great player.
I want to see Belichek without Tom Brady. Make him coach the Browns

leadfarmer

Woodguy v2.0: I disagree.

We’ve seen it time and again where a different coach makes all the difference in the world to a roster.

PIT winning The Cup twice after in-season coaching changes are the poster boys for this.

BUF players have talked about how they are more committed to Housely’s way of playing this year as well.

I agree that rosters matter more than coaches, but coaches can add more than just margins around the edges.

BUF having McCabe and Bogosian healthy and adding Dahlen has made a massive difference as well….not to mention getting reasonable goalering.

Dcorps and goalies and coaching oh my!

Pit actually proves my point. Didn’t matter who coached just needed a shakeup to give players a reset and then can the coach for another shakeup. If a coach can win a cup he’s obviously mostly competent. Pitt May lose their coach again. Is it coaching? No. Is it cause Murray can’t stop a beach ball. Yes
It’s not the coaches. It’s the players.
It’s easy to say you bought into the system when you are winning

hunter1909

ArmchairGM: The definition of coaching, according to Wikipedia:

“Coaching is a form of development in which a person called a coach supports a learner or client in achieving a specific personal or professional goal by providing training and guidance.[1] The learner is sometimes called a coachee. Occasionally, coaching may mean an informal relationship between two people, of whom one has more experience and expertise than the other and offers advice and guidance as the latter learns; but coaching differs from mentoring in focusing on specific tasks or objectives, as opposed to more general goals or overall development.”

Seems to be about 90% communication, something Todd isn’t good at.

JP: “Coach, we’ve got to talk. I’m having problems”

TMac: “I’m not that kind of coach. Now. Fuck off I’ve got work to do”.

ArmchairGM

OriginalPouzar:
Missisauga (McLeod) vs. London (Bouchard) on SN at 5 mountain today.

If I’m not mistaken, London is 6-0-0 with Bouchard in the lineup. Hopefully McLeod can at least get a few points in the loss. 😉

OriginalPouzar

Missisauga (McLeod) vs. London (Bouchard) on SN at 5 mountain today.

Halfwise

Where can I go to look up the head to head record between TMac and Hitch as coaches?

Glovjuice

Bruce McCurdy: Would you say McDavid also needs to work harder in his own zone, or is he beyond reproach?

These are young players, still learning.

I would say McDavid works much harder than Leon in the D zone already.

ArmchairGM

hunter1909: I expect most coaches to teach, and am amazed when I find out they don’t. Seems Todd McLellan doesn’t teach.

The definition of coaching, according to Wikipedia:

“Coaching is a form of development in which a person called a coach supports a learner or client in achieving a specific personal or professional goal by providing training and guidance.[1] The learner is sometimes called a coachee. Occasionally, coaching may mean an informal relationship between two people, of whom one has more experience and expertise than the other and offers advice and guidance as the latter learns; but coaching differs from mentoring in focusing on specific tasks or objectives, as opposed to more general goals or overall development.”

Seems to be about 90% communication, something Todd isn’t good at.

godot10

Chelios is a Dinosaur:
hunter1909,

I’m starting to wonder too if Hitchcock’s influence might run up and downstream. What a blessing it would be if he were able to impart these lessons on players and professionalism on the front office. What I’ve really liked about the first few days of Hitch has been the confidence, not in a cocky way but a generous way. Ie, the opposite of Kevin Lowe. He can demonstrate to everyone how to speak from a position of knowledge, not from a position of just looking like you’re trying to get away with something. It indicates a level of respect on his part for his audience, whether it’s his players in the room, or the reporters in the scrum, and by extension, the fans. He knows he has the brains but doesn’t withhold the way tee OBC does, as if they’re afraid of getting found out.

Let’s get some wins under our belt, but the more I learn about Hitchcock the more he seems like a perfect hire.

Hitch feels our pain! -)

Woodguy v2.0

Psyche:
Woodguy v2.0,

I hope you said that with the accent, because that’s how I read it!

#Highlander

Love it!

Always!!

Woodguy v2.0

leadfarmer:
Woodguy v2.0,

I really think people overstate the coaches ability to affect games.They can give you a very slight edge or disadvantage at best.
How many Jack Adams winners lose their jobs within 2 years of winning.What about Stanley Cup champion coaches.Did they forget how to coach all of a sudden?Nope they ran the team hit and won and when the teams run cold they lose their job.How many good coaches lose their jobs?
Did Phil Housley read a bunch of coaching books in the offseason.Doubtful.His team got better with factors outside his control and he may win a Jack Adams trophy

I disagree.

We’ve seen it time and again where a different coach makes all the difference in the world to a roster.

PIT winning The Cup twice after in-season coaching changes are the poster boys for this.

BUF players have talked about how they are more committed to Housely’s way of playing this year as well.

I agree that rosters matter more than coaches, but coaches can add more than just margins around the edges.

BUF having McCabe and Bogosian healthy and adding Dahlen has made a massive difference as well….not to mention getting reasonable goalering.

Dcorps and goalies and coaching oh my!

Chelios is a Dinosaur

hunter1909,

I’m starting to wonder too if Hitchcock’s influence might run up and downstream. What a blessing it would be if he were able to impart these lessons on players and professionalism on the front office. What I’ve really liked about the first few days of Hitch has been the confidence, not in a cocky way but a generous way. Ie, the opposite of Kevin Lowe. He can demonstrate to everyone how to speak from a position of knowledge, not from a position of just looking like you’re trying to get away with something. It indicates a level of respect on his part for his audience, whether it’s his players in the room, or the reporters in the scrum, and by extension, the fans. He knows he has the brains but doesn’t withhold the way tee OBC does, as if they’re afraid of getting found out.

Let’s get some wins under our belt, but the more I learn about Hitchcock the more he seems like a perfect hire.

hunter1909

I expect most coaches to teach, and am amazed when I find out they don’t. Seems Todd McLellan doesn’t teach. Good riddance accordingly.

Now Oilers have a bona fide, Cup winner to tell them what’s what. No more amateurs, wannabes, and frauds.

It’s only the 1st quarter of a long NHL season, and they’re in playoff contention. No reason to think Hitchcock won’t lead them to 1st place.

Mega congrats on Oilers management, who have finally got something right.

v4ance

Bruce McCurdy,

For me, I believe Connor and Leon are magic together but the team does better when they are apart.

Together, they will create 70 goals over a season and many will be highlight reel.

Apart, McDavid may only get 50 with his line and Drai only 30 with his own line but overall the team scores more and wins more.

If they stop or slow McDavid down with a shutdown line, that leaves Drai open to run over a weaker line or vice versa.

Loading one line means that you solely live and die by that one line.

Bruce McCurdy

Glovjuice: Needs to work harder in own zone though. Surely, you can see this. For 8.5 he needs D zone effort.

Would you say McDavid also needs to work harder in his own zone, or is he beyond reproach?

These are young players, still learning.

Bruce McCurdy

jm363561:

So if Connor was in on 9 of Leon’s points, how many of Connor’s points was Leon in on? I’m guessing 9.

Is your take that when both are in on a goal Connor deserves 100% of the credit & Leon is just along for the ride? Or…?

My take is both are more dangerous when playing with each other. And also that the idea that “Leon should be driving his own line dammit!” is underminIng the enjoyment of watching these two spectacular talents combine on some breathtaking goals. Man are they fun to watch.

Bulging Twine

Hitch has never coached in a Canadian market before. He’s been known, but not to the degree that he will be known now.

Gret99zky

Bobby Burger: Hey, Pete, listen, there’s no denying you’re on the hot seat this year. It’s playoffs or bust. You know that?

Pete: I sure do. I can feel the heat.

Bobby: Good. Now, we’re old school around here and respect tradition so we’re going to let you fire Todd and bring in someone to save your hide.

Pete: Thanks Bobby, I appreciate that.

Bobby: You’re welcome. We’ve gone ahead and hired Ken Hitchcock on your behalf. Good luck.

Pete: *crosses fingers*

Psyche

Woodguy v2.0,

I hope you said that with the accent, because that’s how I read it!

#Highlander

Love it!

Ryan

Glovjuice: Hitch has a high IQ compared to TMac – obviously no proof of this but his lightning quick assessment and execution is sure indication.

I’ve always been a Hitch fan, but that avail still blows my mind.

His insight and candidness is obviously extremely impressive.

No question his brilliance is obvious, but his emotional intelligence is equally impressive. His insight into human nature is absolutely remarkable.

What a hire.

Glovjuice

SK Oiler Fan:
Loved Hitch avail. Its great when a coach can let the fan in on that level of detail and link the detail to general concepts while being so honest. Just didn’t get that much satisfaction from T Mac’s verbal.

Hitch has a high IQ compared to TMac – obviously no proof of this but his lightning quick assessment and execution is sure indication.

SK Oiler Fan

Loved Hitch avail. Its great when a coach can let the fan in on that level of detail and link the detail to general concepts while being so honest. Just didn’t get that much satisfaction from T Mac’s verbal.

SK Oiler Fan

I get the theory of high F baiting opposing D then chipping puck by for the C to pick up with soeed. There is a place in the playbook for that but not as your foundation.

SK Oiler Fan

Wilde:
“We’re having to make too many long plays.”

On big concepts, this is where I’ve agreed with Hitchcock the most so far.

McLellan’s breakouts and counters would have guys flying up the ice and D trying to make home-run passes when we have small-ball, 10-ft pass defensemen.

Yes yes yes. Wingers would often drift way too high. Easy pickings for opposition D. W Couldn’t get the puck back to the middle in a controlled manner. Then it comes back he other way and there’s this huge gap between the F and D for opposition F to have time to make D look silly like Larsen. Leads to high danger SA and shite save %

JimmyV1965

Glovjuice: Needs to work harder in own zone though. Surely, you can see this. For 8.5 he needs D zone effort.

Drai is overpaid only in the sense that Chia should have played hardball and extracted a lower cap hit. But given his age of 23, the list of players I would trade straight across for him is extremely short. He’s now 7th in league scoring. What’s really intriguing is his ceiling. I’m not even sure if he’s close to it yet.

Scungilli Slushy

Wilde: This is conflating the ground-truth effects of coaching with coaching’s effects as recognised by the political voting structures of the NHLBA.

Just because the voters of the Jack Adams don’t properly identify the head coaches who bring their teams the most benefits doesn’t mean that no coaches bring substantially more benefits to their clubs than their peers.

It’s extremely difficult to identify and fully separate the effects of coaching from everything else, but it’s made impossible by using processes that are more likely to reward poor coaching performances than good ones.

Military better General > Military weaker General

Common sense. Team sports are the same thing minus the extreme violence.

Coaches can’t score goals but they absolutely can change a team’s fortunes if they are good and right for the team.

Glovjuice

PaperBagDiscarded: Those who label Draisatl as overpaid don’t get it.I know he started slow this season.But the number of players who can conceive AND execute that pass in full flight can be counted on one hand.Stunning.

Needs to work harder in own zone though. Surely, you can see this. For 8.5 he needs D zone effort.

Wilde

leadfarmer:
I really think people overstate the coaches ability to affect games. They can give you a very slight edge or disadvantage at best.

How many Jack Adams winners lose their jobs within 2 years of winning. What about Stanley Cup champion coaches. Did they forget how to coach all of a sudden? Nope they ran the team hit and won and when the teams run cold they lose their job. How many good coaches lose their jobs?

Did Phil Housley read a bunch of coaching books in the offseason. Doubtful. His team got better with factors outside his control and he may win a Jack Adams trophy

This is conflating the ground-truth effects of coaching with the effects of coaching as recognised by the political voting structures of the NHLBA.

Just because the voters of the Jack Adams don’t properly identify the head coaches who bring their teams the most benefits doesn’t mean that no coaches bring substantially more benefits to their clubs than their peers.

It’s already extremely difficult to identify and fully separate the effects of coaching from everything else, but it’s made entirely impossible by the use of processes that are more likely to reward poor coaching performances than good ones.

Reja

JimmyV1965,

JimmyV1965,

No matter how much you like someone personally it’s odvious Talbot was fighting the puck on every shot against Vegas why he didn’t pull him makes no sense.Tablot needs to sit and watch for a while he’s putting to much pressure on himself being it’s a contract year.Run kosh for a while let tablot relax and reset let him know he’ll get another shot Later on.

Scungilli Slushy

Wilde:
Here’s another:

” There’s a reason he doesn’t score. He goes to a support position on the ice too quick.”

He’s talking about Lucic, and later Kassian, but it applies. Basically, the lower lines would have two guys below the goal line, then they’d win the puck and there’d be the third guy on the other side of the boards.

What’s the point of even winning the puck?

Every single chance those lines have ever had, back to the Letestu versions, were passes across the goal line, behind to front.

Yet there they were, too often, one battling and the other two on each side of the battle on the wall. Where’s the puck going? Up high, and then back down low. What’s the end-game? What does the opposition have to be afraid of?

If there is no plan to directly try to score then only elite players will. Exactly what has happened.

Lucic is not a scorer and never really was. However when a coach can understand his roster and choose to deploy it as it stands players can do the best they can.

PaperBagDiscarded

Lowetide: That pass by Leon was discussed in the hushed tones reserved for the true greats by McCurdy and myself on the Lowdown. That was a pass to remember.

Those who label Draisatl as overpaid don’t get it. I know he started slow this season. But the number of players who can conceive AND execute that pass in full flight can be counted on one hand. Stunning.

pts2pndr

leadfarmer:
Woodguy v2.0,

I really think people overstate the coaches ability to affect games.They can give you a very slight edge or disadvantage at best.
How many Jack Adams winners lose their jobs within 2 years of winning.What about Stanley Cup champion coaches.Did they forget how to coach all of a sudden?Nope they ran the team hit and won and when the teams run cold they lose their job.How many good coaches lose their jobs?
Did Phil Housley read a bunch of coaching books in the offseason.Doubtful.His team got better with factors outside his control and he may win a Jack Adams trophy

There are many coaching legends in various spots that have stood the test of time in various sports! I give youJohn Wooden in basketball and Toe Blake in Hockey to name but two! Great coaches are aurguably great leaders. Individuals who make the people around them better! The reason many careers are short is more about the dedication and total commitment required than you ascribe as happenstance!

JimmyV1965

leadfarmer:
Woodguy v2.0,

I really think people overstate the coaches ability to affect games.They can give you a very slight edge or disadvantage at best.
How many Jack Adams winners lose their jobs within 2 years of winning.What about Stanley Cup champion coaches.Did they forget how to coach all of a sudden?Nope they ran the team hit and won and when the teams run cold they lose their job.How many good coaches lose their jobs?
Did Phil Housley read a bunch of coaching books in the offseason.Doubtful.His team got better with factors outside his control and he may win a Jack Adams trophy

I agree with this. Good coaches will get you a couple wins. Really really bad coaches can sewer a season though. Tmac falls somewhere in the middle. His biggest failing was relying too much in his trusted vets, the ones who really couldn’t be trusted. He did it with Letustu last year and Talbot this year. He ran Talbot too much thus year. He responded by earning 9 losses in 14 starts. I and think Tmac coached not to lose. He didn’t coach to win. And ultimately that’s a death sentence.

Scungilli Slushy

Scungilli Slushy: some decent assets for a few of the bets

Should be
some decent assets for a few of the vets

smellyglove

Caller Zen: There are also a few questions in print that didn’t make the video edit –
https://www.nhl.com/oilers/news/talking-points-hitchcock-speaks-at-length-with-the-media/c-302166466

Holy moly are there ever some good items in this piece.

Q: For Milan with all this talk of him not scoring in so many games now, does this mean he doesn’t have to worry about that?

A: There’s a reason he doesn’t score. He goes to a support position on the ice too quick. He doesn’t hold ice. If he holds ice longer, he’s going to get a ton of chances. He’s going to get them going off shin pads, skates, legs, everywhere but he doesn’t hold ice long enough. If I can get him to hold ice longer in critical scoring areas, he’s going to be way, way more effective. It’s the same thing if Kassian can do the same thing on the other side. They don’t hold ice enough. They’re gone to support positions way too quickly

PaperBagDiscarded

2 Quick things from this infrequent poster:

1) The tying goal last night – the in game commentary and highlight packages seem to have been focused on McDavid’s feed to Caggs. Why aren’t they – and the entire internet – exploding over Drai’s sauce off the right wing wall? That pass was straight up impossible, 2nd apple or no.

2) Why are we forgetting Ty Rattie’s final 12 games of 2017 and his 2018 preseason? He’s a first shot goal scorer on a team that needs support from the wings. Nobody is talking about him challenging for a top 6 wing spot. Spooner and Chiasson have far less established resumes on this team.

Wilde

Here’s another:

” There’s a reason he doesn’t score. He goes to a support position on the ice too quick.”

He’s talking about Lucic, and later Kassian, but it applies. Basically, the lower lines would have two guys below the goal line, then they’d win the puck and there’d be the third guy on the other side of the boards.

What’s the point of even winning the puck?

Every single chance those lines have ever had, back to the Letestu versions, were passes across the goal line, behind to front.

Yet there they were, too often, one battling and the other two on each side of the battle on the wall. Where’s the puck going? Up high, and then back down low. What’s the end-game? What does the opposition have to be afraid of?

Wilde

All that happens is that the D don’t like what they see for the first 5 seconds, and then all that’s left is a forechecker on them and 8 guys playing red-rover at the other team’s blueline.

Wilde

“We’re having to make too many long plays.”

On big concepts, this is where I’ve agreed with Hitchcock the most so far.

McLellan’s breakouts and counters would have guys flying up the ice and D trying to make home-run passes when we have small-ball, 10-ft pass defensemen.

unca miltie

For what it is worth, this old time saw them good guy has some thoughts on the last few days. First of all, IMO the Oilers were running the flames out of the rink in the first 36 minutes Saturday night. Something happened to change the pace of pay. Was it the Larson penalty and the goal? Was it the coaching staff saying don’t take any penalties, we may never know but I firmly believe if they had stayed the course and continued the hitting game both weekend games would have been won.
The loss on Saturday, IMO caused the loss on Sunday. Just not enough time to recover emotionally.

If things had continued as I say above, would Todd still be the coach?

I join others in saying, I am happy that Hitch is home. I have always liked his approach and think my prediction of 93 points in the Hunter challenge might now just be light. Looking forward to playoffs.

v4ance

When Hitchcock was hired, I had grave doubts. My preconceptions made me think, old coach… old rigid outdated thinking. After a few days to process, read stories from past players, listen to a few of his press conferences, and consider his body of work, I’m a lot more optimistic about his leadership.

In hindsight, he wouldn’t have made it to being the 3rd most winningest coach in NHL history without learning and adapting to new tactics over his entire career. He has shown a consistent aptitutde to continuously find better methods and better tactics to stay ahead of his peers.

Take his comments on Lucic. He says Lucic talks too much about how he’s not scoring goals. In any successful organization, you never worry about the results first; you focus on the process. Lucic needs to stop worrying about the goals he’s not scoring. He needs to make good decisions consistently and maximize his strengths to help the team.

https://www.nhl.com/oilers/news/talking-points-hitchcock-speaks-at-length-with-the-media/c-302166466
Q: You’ve moved forward in all these philosophies and changed your ways a little but then you put together a line like Kassian, Lucic and Brodziak which could have played for the Bruins in ’86.

A: Identity line. I believe that you have to have a group of players that set the work standard on your hockey club. If you’re asking your top players to do everything then you’re not putting players who should play that way into the position to have success.

I want them to set the tone and the dial for the way we want to play. They’re maybe not going to score as many goals as they did when they were younger and who knows but when you see the way they play some shifts yesterday, they set the table for other people perform. And that’s what I want a line like that to do. I don’t know who I’m going to put on it but who’s ever playing with Brodziak has to play that way. They’ve got to set the table. They’ve got to grind that team down to where all they’re doing is chipping and changing and now we’ve got them on the three-quarter ice game and now we’re burying it.

They had some good shifts to set the dial. We’ve got some work to do with it but if they continue to improve and set a dial like that, that’s going to open up space for everybody else.

Q: For Milan with all this talk of him not scoring in so many games now, does this mean he doesn’t have to worry about that?

A: There’s a reason he doesn’t score. He goes to a support position on the ice too quick. He doesn’t hold ice. If he holds ice longer, he’s going to get a ton of chances. He’s going to get them going off shin pads, skates, legs, everywhere but he doesn’t hold ice long enough. If I can get him to hold ice longer in critical scoring areas, he’s going to be way, way more effective. It’s the same thing if Kassian can do the same thing on the other side. They don’t hold ice enough. They’re gone to support positions way too quickly. We end up on the outside all the time, with the puck, but we’re not on the inside.

The philosophy I understand he’s trying to impart is this: the veteran line with Lucic grinds down the other team for 25% of the game and tires them out. That leaves more clear air for McDavid to work with while he’s out on the ice. Lucic’s line doesn’t have to score but their role is to control possession, set the level of the work ethic for the team and hand over possession to the next line to continue the pressure on the opponents. Start and maintain momentum.

The other point is to control the key areas of the ice. The more we control those areas, the longer we will hold possession of the puck and the more likely we score and the opponents do not.

hunter1909

Reja:
hunter1909,

Game six was a masterpiece they were a goalpost away with 3 minutes left in game seven.

I agree on game 6.

Laviolette’s the type to sit up all night polishing goalposts, which gave him a clear advantage.

hunter1909

leadfarmer: Maybe.Don’t think coaching was the reason for us only getting one goal
But then again.No Roloson we don’t get out of first round
So maybe coaching gets us one game.Hot goalering got us 3 series

hahahaha I’ll take it!

I could have sworn they had it in the bag after the monumental beat down they gave the Canes in game 6.