All Shook Up

Edmonton Oilers fans are borderline intoxicated today, as new head coach Ken Hitchcock keeps saying provocative hockey things to a breathless bunch who are all dressed up with no place to go. Hitchcock is from here, so knows his audience well. Every day he says more things that spark the imagination and inspire fabulous daydreams. Honestly, it’s bad. This town, man. Pace yourself! Settle down! Control yourself! You’ve got the vapors! Monorail salesmen are booking passage to Edmonton as we speak! At 66 years old, Ken Hitchcock is suddenly Elvis, and Edmonton is all shook up.

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

HITCH, STOP IT!

At the beginning of this century, the Edmonton Oilers deployed a brilliant No. 4 line. The feature player, Georges Laraque, was so big and strong that taking the puck from him took most or all of an entire shift. During his Oilers career, Laraque averaged seven goals per 82 games and no one would ever mistake him for an offensive force. That said, he was extremely effective in ‘extended zone time’, a phrase that dropped in my lap yesterday in conversation with Sean Shapiro of The Athletic in regard to what Ken Hitchcock values. What will Hitchcock do and who among the Oilers will he value most?

It looks like (to me) Hitchcock is more interested in keeping the puck 200 feet from his net, ala Laraque in the early 2000’s. He’s using a football ‘time of possession’ to slow progress and control the game by limiting possible exposure. I mean, that’s the name of the game but Shapiro’s description offers a unique viewpoint on what the new Oilers’ coach is thinking.

ALL HAT, NO CATTLE?

Hitchcock has shown himself to be a helluva coach, so if he turns around Lucic, Kassian and others then we’ll build him a statue guaranteed. I think a watchful approach is a good idea, and it would be good to recognize there are a whole range of results before “oh my God he solved everything and bam! Stanley Cup” along the road from here.

WHO WILL HE VALUE?

Well this is hockey, so he’s going to value the guys who make a difference. Hitchcock is instilling confidence and a sense of team, but there are certain home truths about this roster. If you’re asking me, he’s going ride the following heavily: McDavid, Draisaitl, Nuge among forwards; Klefbom, Larsson, Nurse and Russell among blue; the hot hand among Talbot and Koskinen.

I don’t think that list varies from McLellan’s, these are the men you’ll want to go to war with every night. You’d like another, hell two more, but the nine men listed here are going to be the big reasons for success or failure.

WHERE ARE THE RISKS?

The second pairing (Nurse-Russell) could spring a leak, one hopes the coach can get them to play level. I think his ‘grumpy old men’ line is a risk wrapped around bravado and if it doesn’t work out suspect we’ll see Chiasson or Khaira move up and help Brodziak (who is going to be the key).

WHO HAS THE BIG CHANCE?

Drake Caggiula. McLellan set him there and he scored a huge goal in Hitchcock’s first win. Caggiula has had injury issues and will need to deliver consistently but he is on pace for 30+ goals this season.

WHAT DOES HE WANT NOW, TODAY?

Hitchcock needs someone to help Nuge drive possession and score enough to make that line a concern. The double shifting of 97 might be good for a few goals a month but this team badly needs to improve the McDavid ON/OFF number. Chiarelli is hoping someone will emerge from the NHL or AHL roster, at this point it’s more likely a trade.

WHO IS IN TROUBLE?

It’s too strong a word (trouble) but I would say there are players who may be too vanilla for a coach with strong opinions about what he wants to see. Ryan Spooner is fast but he isn’t big, he (like Caggiula) will have to forecheck effectively in order to make an impression. His road might be harder than Chiasson’s as an example.

Cooper Marody and Ty Rattie are in a tough spot, as the coach may want to make room for players he trusts (and are available), and the general manager may want to bring Jesse Puljujarvi back to the show.

Finally, Matt Benning. I’m a fan of this player, but Hitchcock is a stickler for execution and there’s some inconsistency in his game. He’s the one I worry about, from my list of players who imo can help this team get into the playoffs.

ANY CONDORS?

Puljujarvi’s size and speed make him a candidate, I’ll talk to Daniel Nugent-Bowman about his progress this morning on the Lowdown. After that, Brad Malone, Joe Gambardella and Caleb Jones might get a shot, with Ethan Bear trailing the group due to injury maladies. Tyler Benson is a player I could see getting a call but it’s so early in his pro career. If Patrick Russell doesn’t get into the lineup soon, he may get sent down.

STANDINGS AT U.S. THANKSGIVING

Elliotte Friedman did a story a few years back on teams in a playoff spot at U.S. Thanksgiving. It’s like 78 percent of those teams make the final playoff group, so that’s an important tell. Edmonton is on the outside, but how bad is it? As there are teams who have played more or less games, I’m going to list the Pacific in winning percentage via hockey-reference. I’m listing Pacific Division because it looks like both wild cards will go to the Central (as many expected). There is a three-way tie for the third and final spot, I am using RPT percentage (points percentage counting no points for an OT loss, and any shootout game as a tie):

  • No. 1: Calgary 22, 13-8-1 (27 points) (.614 winning percentage) (.614 RPT%)
  • No. 2: San Jose 22, 11-7-4 (26) (.591) (.545 RPT)
  • No. 3: Edmonton 21, 10-10-1 (21) (.500) (.476 RPT)
  • No. 3: Arizona 20, 9-9-2 (20) (.500) (.425 RPT) 
  • No. 3: Anaheim 23, 9-9-5 (23) (.500) (.391 RPT)
  • No. 6: Vancouver 24, 10-12-2 (22) (.458) (.438 RPT)
  • No. 7: Vegas 23, 10-12-1 (21) (.457) (.435 RPT)
  • No. 8: Los Angeles 21, 7-13-1 (15) (.357) (.310 RPT)

Nothing is decided beyond the Kings are out of the playoff race. Calgary is absolutely hammering opponents and you have to allow for the possibility that they are the class of the group. San Jose should have enough firepower to run with the Flames. After that? Wide open. Edmonton is in it, don’t let anyone tell you different.

OILERS YEAR OVER YEAR STATS

The Oilers are an interesting team with a fascinating story to tell through 21 games. Here are some numbers, their NHL rank and in brackets the number at the same time one year ago (via naturalstattrick):

  • Record: 10-10-1 (7-12-2) 
  • Corsi for 5-on-5: 50.3 (54.50)
  • Fenwick for 5-on-5: 51.18 (54.32)
  • Shots for 5-on-5: 50.93 (53.03)
  • Goals for 5-on-5: 46.15 (42.50)
  • Shooting percentage 5-on-5: 6.91 (5.89)
  • Save percentage 5-on-5: .9163 (.910)
  • PDO: 985 (969)

Hitchcock will like the Corsi (even though he has a different metric) and will recognize some elements of luck and lack of skill in the shooting percentage. The save percentage needs to be better, PDO has actually improved year over year. The two areas 5-on-5 I do think Hitchcock will improve? Save percentage and goals percentage. Not a guarantee, but that’s on his resume.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

Hitchcock is a fine coach. He’s going to remind us of MacT I expect, line matching and making life difficult for opponents (grind, wearing them down, et cetera). If this team is going to get anywhere, they need to add a scorer, maybe a defenseman too. And the goalies have to be more consistent. Fascinating bet by Chiarelli, the Oilers are a more interesting team today. The question you need to ask: Are they any better?

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

At 10 this morning, TSN1260, I’ll be live from the Shaw Conference Centre for Grey Cup 2018. We’ll have a great atmosphere, if you’re in the area please stop in. Scheduled to appear:

  • Darrin Bauming, TSN1290 Winnipeg. Grey Cup preview, what the Stampeders can do on offense and defense against Ottawa.
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman, The Athletic. Daniel is in Bakersfield, so we’ll chat about Jesse Puljujarvi and other possible callups, plus get his view on the Hitchcock hiring.
  • Frank Seravalli, TSN. What Hitchcock brings to the Oilers and last chance Texaco for Peter Chiarelli.

10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter.

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344 Responses to "All Shook Up"

« Older Comments
  1. Professor Q says:

    Testing…I think my comments might be catching the spam trap filter for some reason. Just trying this out.

  2. Pescador says:

    HugThePost: I think Jesse and Hitch will share many a delicious pizza together……

    As long as his skin is thick enough, I think Jesse will lap up the very direct communication style Hitch has as opposed to the stapled to the bench silent treatment he got up to now.

    Jesse will feel like there is a dog constantly barking in his ear.
    Lots of noise, can’t understand what he wants

  3. Dicky94 says:

    dustrock,

    I actually wouldn’t mind seeing Gravel hammering pucks from the point.

  4. LadiesloveSmid says:

    I liked Chris Wideman as a UFA before this season.

    His numbers have been horrific in OTT this year

    A worse Benning of sorts

  5. hunter1909 says:

    JP might or might not do well this season in the NHL, but at least we will get a good reason from the new coach – the last one treated information like he was running the NKVD.

  6. McSorley33 says:

    I’ts almost like someone is trying to save his job…..

  7. HugThePost says:

    So does this mean a D is going out?

    Wasn’t Wideman on the now infamous Uber Driver video?

    He better not speak ill of our beloved pizza monster Hitch!!!!!!

  8. Professor Q says:

    HugThePost:
    So does this mean a D is going out?

    Wasn’t Wideman on the now infamous Uber Driver video?

    He better not speak ill of our beloved pizza monster Hitch!!!!!!

    So he was involved with the reffing incident *AND* the Uber incident?! Oh my…

  9. Bag of Pucks says:

    Wow Hunter, you aren’t just kicking McLellan when he’s down. You’re laying the boots to him. He’ll be lucky to get a job in the East Coast league by the time you’re done. 😉

  10. OriginalPouzar says:

    That’s the pick they got for Jarabek – free acquisition of a depth right show D.

    $1M cap hit – only for the rest of the year.

    No risk here.

    Got to think Garrison is on his way out, no?

  11. LadiesloveSmid says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    That’s the pick they got for Jarabek – free acquisition of a depth right show D.

    $1M cap hit – only for the rest of the year.

    No risk here.

    Got to think Garrison is on his way out, no?

    Don’t let the door hit you Garrison

  12. Professor Q says:

    Now just need a depth forward so Marody can be sent back down and Bakersfield can have 2 Kid Lines for the rest of the season.

  13. HugThePost says:

    at least this deal is being done where Chia has shown strength…….around the fringes of the roster

  14. ArmchairGM says:

    jtblack: 2019 is a deep draft. PC already royally messed up the last deep draft (2015). The player you draft with 2019 1st rounder could be as good as Vladdy ..we don’t know ..

    I agree. Here is the current top-31 (as per Sportsnet) and their NHLE so far:

    1. Jack Hughes LC 45.39 ***
    2. Kaapo Kakko RW 21.46
    3. Kirby Dach RC 41.99 ***
    4. Dylan Cozens RC 28.30
    5. Vasily Podkolzin RW 17.79
    6. Alex Turcotte LC 14.76
    7. Raphael Lavoie RC/RW 25.51
    8. Alex Newhook LC 27.75
    9. Matthew Boldy LW 26.57
    10. Ryan Suzuki LC 38.40 ***
    11. Trevor Zegras LC 38.45 ***
    12. Bowen Byram D 16.88
    13. Philip Broberg D 11.91
    14. Peyton Krebs LC 29.07
    15. Cole Caufield RW 25.46
    16. Arthur Kaliyev RW 39.73 ***
    17. Matthew Robertson D 15.13
    18. Yaroslav Likhachev RW 8.73
    19. Victor Soderstrom D 11.71
    20. Matvey Guskov LW 17.66
    21. Anttoni Honka D 9.88
    22. Cam York D 17.71
    23. Thomas Harley LD 21.67 ***
    24. Nolan Foote LW 23.58
    25. John Beecher LW 15.15
    26. Jakob Pelletier LW 35.44 ***
    27. Lassi Thomson D 17.23
    28. Alex Vlasic D 12.18
    29. Samuel Poulin LW 18.23
    30. Kaedan Korczak D 15.07
    31. Moritz Seider D 2.19

    *** These are the guys to watch. Interestingly (if I’ve done this right) Hughes has about the same NHLE as Marner did in his draft year – well below McDavid and Eichel. Lots of track left, of course, so we’ll see.

    Looks like picking at 10 again (God forbid) will net an excellent prospect. Even picking in the playoff bracket (16+) could result in a great future player. I’ve highlighted 3 exceptional prospects in this range above, their scouting reports are as follows:

    16. Arthur Kaliyev, RW, Hamilton Bulldogs (OHL) 6-foot-1, 190 pounds: The goal scoring has always been there. He has shown other parts of his game that make you think the sky’s the limit. Finding consistency in those other areas will cement him inside the top-15.

    23. Thomas Harley, LD, Mississauga Steelheads (OHL) 6-foot-3, 188 pounds: Starting to come out of his shell. A smooth skater with excellent passing abilities. Has good reach to help him defensively.

    26. Jakob Pelletier, LW, Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL), 5-foot-9, 161 pounds: The hockey IQ is way too high to ignore. He makes those around him better and competes like a champ.

    https://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/juniors/sportsnets-2019-nhl-draft-prospect-rankings-november/

  15. Pescador says:

    LadiesloveSmid:
    I liked Chris Wideman as a UFA before this season.

    His numbers have been horrific in OTT this year

    A worse Benning of sorts

    Is there a team in the NHL that has test driven more #7 D then the Oil under Chiarelli?
    More shit to throw at the wall,
    Yes I am already writing Wideman off

  16. drglen says:

    So on Radio I heard Chris Wideman? Wasn’t he with the bruins with Chia as well? Good D, past his best days, but I’d probably trust him more than Garrison.

    This tells me he’s working on a trade involving one or two existing D men, probably benning and a prospect.

  17. ArmchairGM says:

    Connoreah:
    ArmchairGM,

    Stone can’t skate??? I mean, I guess in the same way that Leon can’t skate this is true. But his results as a goal scorer with the Sens have been pretty impressive.

    Have you ever watched him? His skating is poor, makes me concerned about how effective he’ll be going forward.

    Assets: Has great hands and the knowledge to go to prime scoring areas. Is deadly from in close, but also has an accurate shot. Also displays great hockey sense on offense and an active stick on defense.
    Flaws: Does not always make the best use of his 6-3 frame, and he generally lacks a nasty streak. While he gets to where he needs to be, his skating is below-average for the National Hockey League level.

    http://sportsforecaster.com/nhl/player/8406

  18. Professor Q says:

    ArmchairGM,

    I wouldn’t mind Suzuki. Every game I’ve watched him play in he’s been decent. Obviously Hughes (albeit very small) and Dach (my preference) are the top tier but there are gems all around. I’m sure we’ll get more details as we go along. Hopefully we’re not in the position to draft them, though.

  19. jtblack says:

    Woodguy v2.0,

    “Forwards GF% Without McDavid
    Alex Chiasson 63.6
    Tobias Rieder 50.0
    Ty Rattie 50.0
    Ryan Strome 42.9
    Leon Draisaitl 40.0
    Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 40.0
    Zack Kassian 38.9
    Kyle Brodziak 35.0
    Jujhar Khaira 33.3
    Milan Lucic 25.0
    Kailer Yamamoto 25.0
    Drake Caggiula 22.2
    Jesse Puljujarvi 16.7
    Ryan Spooner 0.0

    Dmen and Goalies
    Dmen & Goalies GF% Without McDavid
    Mikko Koskinen 52.6
    Kevin Gravel 50.0
    Kris Russell 46.7
    Adam Larsson 42.1
    Oscar Klefbom 40.0
    Jason Garrison 33.3
    Darnell Nurse 31.6
    Matthew Benning 27.3
    Cam Talbot 25.9”

    These Numbers are SHOCKINGLY BAD !!! OMG.

    and yes, the McDavid Tsunami is a pleasure each and every night! I will give THANKS to that !

  20. bendelson says:

    Professor Q: So he was involved with the reffing incident *AND* the Uber incident?! Oh my…

    With my Toto earworm still going strong… let me say, I’m fairly confident Dennis and Chris Wideman are two different people.

  21. Professor Q says:

    I wonder if Hughes would consider going to the Steelheads next season even if he’s drafted 1st OV. If he grew a bit and diversified his game by playing some OHL hockey with a mid-top tier contending CHL team, I think he could grow to be even better than Matthews, albeit a very different type of player.

    Like a Gaudreau-Kane type.

  22. Professor Q says:

    bendelson: With my Toto earworm still going strong… let me say, I’m fairly confident Dennis and Chris Wideman are two different people.

    Damn it. My bad. Thank you.

  23. ArmchairGM says:

    Professor Q:
    ArmchairGM,

    I wouldn’t mind Suzuki. Every game I’ve watched him play in he’s been decent. Obviously Hughes (albeit very small) and Dach (my preference) are the top tier but there are gems all around. I’m sure we’ll get more details as we go along. Hopefully we’re not in the position to draft them, though.

    Exactly. But the current lottery system means that every non-playoff team has a chance to land a top-3 pick. Hope for the best, plan for the worst.

  24. Woogie63 says:

    In the PC era of hockey, there are no insiders to leak a story.

  25. barmstrong says:

    npanciroli:

    My ideal Hitch lineup is:

    Rieder McDavid Draisaitl
    Spooner RNH Puljujarvi
    Lucic Brodziak Kassian
    Caggiula Khaira Chiasson

    …you only have Lucic on one line.

  26. bendelson says:

    Professor Q: Damn it. My bad. Thank you.

    You’re most welcome.

    … Rosanna, yeah…

  27. Jaxon says:

    ArmchairGM: I agree. Here is the current top-31 (as per Sportsnet) and their NHLE so far:

    1. Jack Hughes LC 45.39 ***
    2. Kaapo Kakko RW 21.46
    3. Kirby DachRC 41.99 ***
    4. Dylan Cozens RC 28.30
    5. Vasily Podkolzin RW 17.79
    6. Alex TurcotteLC 14.76
    7. Raphael Lavoie RC/RW 25.51
    8. Alex NewhookLC 27.75
    9. Matthew Boldy LW 26.57
    10. Ryan SuzukiLC 38.40 ***
    11. Trevor ZegrasLC 38.45 ***
    12. Bowen ByramD 16.88
    13. Philip BrobergD 11.91
    14. Peyton KrebsLC 29.07
    15. Cole CaufieldRW 25.46
    16. Arthur KaliyevRW 39.73 ***
    17. Matthew RobertsonD 15.13
    18. Yaroslav LikhachevRW 8.73
    19. Victor SoderstromD 11.71
    20. Matvey Guskov LW 17.66
    21. Anttoni HonkaD 9.88
    22. Cam YorkD 17.71
    23. Thomas Harley LD 21.67 ***
    24. Nolan FooteLW 23.58
    25. John BeecherLW 15.15
    26. Jakob Pelletier LW 35.44 ***
    27. Lassi Thomson D 17.23
    28. Alex VlasicD 12.18
    29. Samuel PoulinLW 18.23
    30. Kaedan Korczak D 15.07
    31. Moritz SeiderD 2.19

    *** These are the guys to watch. Interestingly (if I’ve done this right) Hughes has about the same NHLE as Marner did in his draft year – well below McDavid and Eichel. Lots of track left, of course, so we’ll see.

    Looks like picking at 10 again (God forbid) will net an excellent prospect. Even picking in the playoff bracket (16+) could result in a great future player. I’ve highlighted 3 exceptional prospects in this range above, their scouting reports are as follows:

    16. Arthur Kaliyev, RW, Hamilton Bulldogs (OHL) 6-foot-1, 190 pounds: The goal scoring has always been there. He has shown other parts of his game that make you think the sky’s the limit. Finding consistency in those other areas will cement him inside the top-15.

    23. Thomas Harley, LD, Mississauga Steelheads (OHL) 6-foot-3, 188 pounds: Starting to come out of his shell. A smooth skater with excellent passing abilities. Has good reach to help him defensively.

    26. Jakob Pelletier, LW, Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL), 5-foot-9, 161 pounds: The hockey IQ is way too high to ignore. He makes those around him better and competes like a champ.

    https://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/juniors/sportsnets-2019-nhl-draft-prospect-rankings-november/

    And don’t forget, while we’re all very optimistic about Hitchcock and what he can do with this team, they’re still only 1 point up on 29th place overall and drafting 3rd, so it could still be Hughes, Kakko, Dach, or Cozens.

  28. SilverStreak says:

    Hey LT…..loved your “turkey for American Thanksgiving” rant this morning. As a young man in the early 60`s I had the pleasure of attending a small Canadian University about 50 miles north of the 49th. We had a fairly large student population of Yanks….some of whom had served in Nam, but mostly made up of draft dodgers……Each year at American Thanksgiving, the entire American contingent received a fabulous turkey dinner complete with all the trimmings…while we second class Canadian dined on the usual “mystery meat ‘. I swore that from the first year post grad onwards, I would treat myself and whomever dined with me, to a Canadian turkey dinner at American Thanksgiving….. the table is set, the bird is damned near ready, we sit in an hour in Red Deer.

  29. OmJo says:

    Tye:
    A couple days behind, (as usual) but loved hearing this on SN “Sid’s Rant: Edmonton Oilers A Massive Failure From The Top Down | Tim and Sid”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6_bvPl8sRk

    Tim and Sid, Sid in particular, are maybe the most annoying duo in sports talk.

    “This isn’t McLellan’s fault, it’s *lists the names of the only Oilers he knows*”

    Who the hell is “Hopkins”? What the hell does Yakupov have to do with anything?

    Then he dismissed the playoff run a few years back as “caught everyone cold”? Fuck outta here with that bullshit. The team played excellent to earn that playoff run. And would have gone further if not for some God-awful refereeing against the Ducks. Let’s continue…

    Really? We missed the playoffs because we couldn’t “sneak up on anybody” last year? Not because Chiarelli traded away all of our scoring depth? Not because he failed to replace Sekera? Not because TMac overplayed Talbot? This is analysis? Lmao.

    “You can’t draft a winger?” Yeah, I guess not. I’m assuming Sid doesn’t know who Puljujarvi and Yamamoto are. Part of the reason they are struggling is because Coach “Not-His-Fault” had no patience to develop them. Also, I guess the players he mentioned at the start of this rant are all average. I’m not even halfway in and I’m already annoyed and pissed off, lol.

    I’m not going to watch anymore. He just said McLellan is a great coach and we have “one good player”… This rant is as stupid as his rant about the Senators not talking to the media about the Uber drama. Thank you for reminding me why I don’t watch these two ever.

    It’s so phony and planned. It’s cringe when Sid goes on one of his “rants” where he just gets faux-angry and sounds like an idiot.

    Idk why I’m ranting about this. Lol.

  30. leadfarmer says:

    We are collecting all the garbage Defensemen

  31. Its All About Coaching says:

    McSorley33:
    OriginalPouzar,

    Lucic net front on 2nd unit PP with Spooner Caggiula Rattie and Benning.
    *****************************************************************************************************************
    Our goalie better stay focused if we the play goes out of the o zone…..

  32. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    Not much TOI for Wideman but he was heavily sheltered with:
    14% TOI vs Elite Forwards
    30% TOI vs Middle Forwards
    56% TOI vs Gritensity Forwards

    Much more sheltered than Benning.

    Maybe they wanted a RHS for PP1?

    Good cost of acquisition, roll of the dice.

  33. Pescador says:

    SilverStreak:
    Hey LT…..loved your “turkey for American Thanksgiving” rant this morning.As a young man in the early 60`s I had the pleasure of attending a small Canadian University about 50 miles north of the 49th. We had a fairly large student population of Yanks….some of whom had served in Nam, but mostly made up of draft dodgers……Each year at American Thanksgiving, the entire American contingent received a fabulous turkey dinner complete with all the trimmings…while we second class Canadian dined on the usual“mystery meat ‘. I swore that from the first year post grad onwards, I would treat myself and whomever dined with me, to a Canadian turkey dinner at American Thanksgiving….. the table is set, the bird is damned near ready, we sit in an hour in Red Deer.

    I’ll be right over

  34. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    ashley,

    But I can’t agree. HItch is distinctly different than what we have had in the past 8 years. I don’t get the impression of humble brag, but rather more honest, candid conversation about what needs to happen and how success will and has already taken place.

    He’s way past the point of trying to prove something, so bragging has no value to him. He doesn’t care what Kevin Lowe thinks. I doubt he cares what Daryl Katz thinks. He’s the best thing we have had here for a long time. The OBC antidote.

    Agreed all points.

  35. VOR says:

    My sleep schedule is so screwed up.

    It is just past Midnight, Now Friday morning here in Orleans. It is just past 10 AM, Friday in Melbourne. And of course it is just after 4 PM, Thursday in Edmonton. And I have slept 17 hours of the last 24. Tired I am not. So I am going to bore you all with my mathy travelogue.

    I am staying in a lovely apartment in the heart of the Old City in Orleans. I just came back from the most amazing dinner at a restaurant called Narenj which is 4 blocks from my apartment which will be important later. Mediterranean meets Middle Eastern meets French Bistro. Lovely people, husband and wife team (Narib and Soashanna – or at least that is how I heard it), listened to my dietary restrictions, and then delivered dish after dish of astonishing vegan food.

    My carnivorous Danish friends were also delighted with their food. And we sat around and talked math and watched the fog slowly swallow everything but the Cathedrale de St. Croix. It is this huge Gothic Cathedral that they light up brighter than the Eiffel Tower. Good thing or I would never have found my way back to the apartment. I honestly couldn’t see my hand in front of my face. But always there was the glow of the Cathedral in the fog. It took me 30 minutes to walk 4 blocks. Finally, some locals with very powerful lanterns helped me find the door to the stairs up to the apartment.

    So what do you talk about with a half a dozen young Danish mathematicians you’ve never met before and whose work you don’t begin to understand? I broke the ice by asking them the questions V4ANCE asked me in the last thread.

    “(What are your thoughts on the free energy principle and Markov blankets) VOR? Just wondering if any of the women you highlighted at the forefront of machine learning research a few days ago (are (you) disciples of Friston)… just for curiosity’s sake… ”

    I am actually going to describe in some detail the conversation I had with these 6 young women in some detail in my next post. You will understand why when I get there.

    But for now I have to get in a plug for Orleans. It is roughly 10% more people than Red Deer in 70% of the space but large portions of the city would look right at home plunked down in Red Deer. But the river that runs through it is the Loire and the Old Town dates back to roughly the 15th Century. My apartment was built in 1806. And at night Old Town is stunning. The ride in on the train is jarring, the transition from comparatively modern to old European, to Medieval happens really quickly.

    It is very ethnically diverse. I walked down to the quays and back before supper and along the way I was chatted up by street vendors from Korea, Vietnam, Lebanon, Morocco, Cameroon, Senegal, India, Pakistan and China – I am of course staying in the touristy part of town and they seem to be really trying to encourage street vending but still. Which results in all these fusion cuisines and many of the restaurants have live entertainment and there is apparently a very active night life though I am not going back out into that fog to try and find it.

    I can hear it though. Even in the fog and past midnight on a weekday the city is buzzing. Every person I have interacted with to date has been super friendly.

    And best of all, even by Canadian standards it is really cheap. My apartment is (all in) $84 (CAN) a night and I can join my hosts for breakfasts if I wish. And it comes with a bicycle with huge fog lights front and back. This place is bicycle crazy. That is how my new Danish friends were getting back to their hotel, walking their bicycles with the fog lights turned up to max.

    Supper for seven of us (five courses) and including wine, dessert, after dinner drinks, tip, and tax was just under $400. Our hostess kept asking my guests if I was their Grandfather. I think in her culture that might be a colloquialism. She told me later that every year at this time they get older men buying groups of younger women dinner. Mathematicians are apparently very old school.

  36. Kaptain Vikarious says:

    Side: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6_bvPl8sRk</blockquote

    Side:
    Do people watch Tim and Sid for actual content? Whenever I catch segments of it, just seems like a couple of sweaty dudes with hot takes, talking very loudly and overreacting to everything.They don’t sound super knowledgeable about much.

    +1

    Typical “Centre of the Universe” attitude among some. And TML’s “recent” history?!?

    …something something glass houses

    Perhaps await ELC signings and cap/money management in their own backyard.

  37. Wilde says:

    ArmchairGM,

    You missed the main man, Mikko Kokkonen.

    Around the same pts/60 as Kotkaniemi as a defenceman, ranked in the 20’s and up on most lists.

    OmJo,

    agreed, don’t watch their show but there he showed anyone who follows the Oilers how much he actually observes the team in good faith

  38. frjohnk says:

    Woodguy v2.0:
    Not much TOI for Wideman but he was heavily sheltered with:
    14% TOI vs Elite Forwards
    30% TOI vs Middle Forwards
    56% TOI vs Gritensity Forwards

    Much more sheltered than Benning.

    Maybe they wanted a RHS for PP1?

    Good cost of acquisition, roll of the dice.

    This move puts Russell back on the left side and basically replace Garrison with Wideman.
    Russell is better on left side. Wideman won the Eddie Shote award a few years ago so he has some offensive acumen. He should help in transition.

    Should help improve the D.

    For a low draft pick, I like it.

  39. OriginalPouzar says:

    Professor Q:
    Now just need a depth forward so Marody can be sent back down and Bakersfield can have 2 Kid Lines for the rest of the season.

    Yes – 100%.

    Yes, I know its a dead horse but this is the EXACT reason I was adamant they should re-claim Aberg when the Ducks waived him.

    Oh well.

  40. npanciroli says:

    Wideman could be a real useful bottom pair D. Some of his numbers are intriguing.

  41. OriginalPouzar says:

    frjohnk: This move puts Russell back on the left side and basically replace Garrison with Wideman.
    Russell is better on left side. Wideman won the Eddie Shote award a few years ago so he has some offensive acumen. He should help in transition.

    Should help improve the D.

    For a low draft pick, I like it.

    I’m not sure it puts Russell back on the left side as Hitch has him up as 2RD.

    I can’t imagine Wideman being asked to play above the third pairing.

  42. Primetime says:

    OriginalPouzar: Yes – 100%.

    Yes, I know its a dead horse but this is the EXACT reason I was adamant they should re-claim Aberg when the Ducks waived him.

    Oh well.

    So would you claim Dano now?

  43. John Chambers says:

    Thoughts on Wideman:
    1) he sure put up an impressive number of points in the AHL
    2) he once played for a team called the Elmira Jackals. That’s almost as awesome a team name as the Texarkana Bandits
    3) he was injured? the bulk of last season … is that correct?

  44. leadfarmer says:

    Woodguy v2.0,

    Klefbom days on the top pp have been numbered for a while now. Don’t think Wideman is the player to do so but in the next few years Klef will be knocked of the first and probably second pp

  45. Dustylegnd says:

    –hudson–,

    More correctly they will have some of these attributes and rarely all….we have none of the above at this time

  46. silasbengtsson says:

    Maybe this- along with McDavid double-shifting- is signaling a transition to 11F and 7D. Like Auvitu last year, Wideman has a very specialized skillset that can return value if utilized correctly.

    He could help the PP, improve the breakout, help in taking advantage of matchups/icings and also spread the minutes load across a bottom-5 instead of just 4. Hopefully Hitch is capable of this.

  47. npanciroli says:

    All of Widemans advanced stats are pretty impressive.
    0.938 PDO lol

  48. npanciroli says:

    barmstrong,

    Well played!

  49. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    pts2pndr: I will agree he was a free spirit but using his ability to play defense against that of Caggiula sets a pretty low bar!

    If the fight is between Caggiula and Jones for defensive play whoever gets under that bar is the Limbo Champion of The World.

  50. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    bendelson: Meet him all the way WG… meet him all the way.

    Yes

  51. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    leadfarmer:
    Woodguy v2.0,

    Klefbom days on the top pp have been numbered for a while now.Don’t think Wideman is the player to do so but in the next few years Klef will be knocked of the first and probably second pp

    Might be the player to do it until Bouchard is a NHLer…..

  52. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    npanciroli:
    Wideman could be a real useful bottom pair D. Some of his numbers are intriguing.

    Agreed.

    2RD is still a black hole.

  53. leadfarmer says:

    Every time that I see an Oiler trade first thing that pops into my head every time is f*** they traded Nuge. Not that you couldn’t win a trade involving Nuge it’s just that I know we won’t

  54. OriginalPouzar says:

    Primetime: So would you claim Dano now?

    I can’t answer that as I don’t know enough about Dano.

    What I do know is that Marody needs to be back in the AHL and the only center options are Malone and Joe G. Even if Joe G. was/is NHL ready, center is a bit much to ask. Brad Malone is what he is and I don’t think he’d be able to play any more minutes than Marody has.

    This is in addition to the fact that I don’t think Patrick Russell is a legit every day NHL option.

    ———————–

    Further, I am all about developing the kids right now so I want Malone and Marody down there centering all the wingers. I also don’t want to be forced in to a Puljujarvi or Yamamoto recall prior to them doing what they were sent down to do.

    Something has to give though – I can’t have it all.

  55. Alpine says:

    Wonder if they now move Benning and something for a better RD.

  56. StixMalone says:

    Alpine,

    Maybe…

  57. Richard S.S. says:

    Matthew Benning has been a wee disappointment. He hasn’t taken that next step he needed to take to be a good 2RD. Too many issues still exist. That said, is Chris Wideman a better option for 2RD?

  58. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Melvis:
    Tim and Sid, while I’m at it. It’s talking heads entertainment. Little more. They go okay with mid afternoon apple pie and coffee.

    The idiot proof recipe for the tasty, flaky crust is right there on the Tenderflake box. Then it’s on to the blend rhubarb and granny smiths. It’s not rocket science.

    More Songs About Buildings & Food.

  59. Lowetide says:

    What are the Oilers getting in Chris |Wideman and is there another shoe to drop?

    https://theathletic.com/671306/2018/11/22/a-shot-in-the-dark-what-are-the-oilers-getting-in-chris-wideman/

  60. Todd Macallan says:

    Knights PP looks pretty darn good with Bouchard and Boqvist both on the point together, beauty set up by Bouch just now for the Boqvist goal.

  61. workaroundaccount says:

    Jusy hold on to Benning. Defensemen turn the corner overnight.

  62. VOR says:

    I have realized this is going to be three posts. You’ll just have to trust me when I get there the payoff is worth it. I need to introduce some mathematicians, problems, and principles in order for you to understand the conversation we were having at dinner and why V4ANCE’s questions were the perfect ice breaker. No mathematical sophistication will be required.

    First there is Leonhard Euler. He was a Swiss mathematician who lived most of his life in St. Petersburg, Russia and Berlin, in what was the Prussia. In Prussia there was a town called Koningsberg. I am doing much of this from memory. I think it is now called Kallingrad or some such and it is definitely in Russia.

    I should pause here and do a shout out to my long suffering wife. I am finding it nearly impossible to sign into Lowetide to leave comments and she is posting for me. Though I can see what she is posting for me and ongoing comments.

    She is at home recovering from a concussion she suffered when a container full of ice cream she had made fell and hit her on the head while she was bent over retrieving something else. I have been regaling her with email about the food at Narenj – now of course she if getting photographs. She threatened to kill me if I started sending her emails about math so you all have to suffer.

    Koningsberg has a river running through it and in the river with in the town are two very large islands. The town is connected (apparently to this day) by 7 pedestrian bridges. Two bridges go from side to side. Two go from one side of the river to and island and two go from other side to and island and finally one goes from island to island.

    The problem is of course the famous 7 Bridges of Koningsberg. Can you take a walk in Koningsberg and cross each and every bridge exactly once? The answer by the way is no. Can’t be done. If I recall correctly Wikipedia has a map so you can try it for yourself. The real problem is proving that there is no possible solution.

    That is what Euler did. But to do it he had to create an entirely new type of math called Graph Theory and out of that came topology. So the Angkook Phinyomark paper I posted yesterday is a direct descendant of the work done by Euler in mid 1700 hundreds. Euler by the way is arguably the most important mathematician of all time and most people have never heard of him. You could fairly state that without him things like machine learning and AI wouldn’t exist and probably neither would computers since Babbage and Lovelace drew heavily on Euler’s work.

    Now enter stage left the very modern and brilliant bio-mathematician Karl Friston. Trained as a psychiatrist he turned to neuroscience and is legitimately famous for creating a unique new mathematical approach for analyzing brain scans which has made MRIs and CAT Scans much better diagnostic tools. Lately he has been touting the idea that you can use the physical and mathematical concept of free energy – particularly the fact that our brain and biological systems like to minimize Free Energy to organize AI systems.

    Now keeping that in mind imagine a scatter plot of the CF% of every player in the NHL organized by their age in months. Once each month of a player’s career you would calculate their CF% and plot it. And you have one such point for every player who has played since Corsi data began being collected and published.

    Next imagine you take that scatter plot and enlarge it and turn it into a wall mural. At this point we are going to put a pin in the wall for each point we have plotted. Now you are going to start with the pin in the lowest left hand corner of the mural and you are going to attach a string to it.

    I am going to pause here and say that the goal of this exercise is to predict, given only the age of a player both what their CF% would typically be and what is like to happen to their CF% in the future as they age.

    Take the string and connect it to each pin in a way that the string never crosses itself. Believe it or not you can actually do that with just your eyes and brain. Having completed that we are going to tie a knot in the string at each half year of age, 18 years and six months, 19 years and six months, 20 years and six months, and so on. Now we are going to calculate the slope (rise over run) of the string at each knot and half way between each knot. For sake of the exercise lets call them vectors. The string from knot to knot we will call a spline.

    As the next step we are going to look for places the string seems to change shape. We want to cluster these similar areas together for our analysis. For example at one point the string may go up and down smoothly and rhythmically (a sine function), upward or downward in what look like steps (step function), or upward or downward in a smooth curve that looks like an S (sigmoid function). If we only want to look at one area of the string say the step function, we say we are penalizing all the other splines. What we are really hoping is now we can see the patterns in the string clearly.

    Next we will try putting more knots, fewer knots, knots in different places, and seeing if that changes the clustering and makes it easier or harder to see what is happening. Of course we can also see if it changes the vectors (the slopes). We can also remove pins and see if that helps.

    That is the basics of Big Data analysis.

    You can do all of this with mathematical tools and thus avoid all that string if you wish. This is what we call Applied Functional Data Analysis.

    The thing is what do you do if you still can’t see a pattern or if you are just really lazy.

    You let a machine do the work in part or in whole. The machine learns what to look for and then does the analysis itself. This is classic machine learning.

    So there are three possibilities. You can watch over the machine while it does this and help it learn – supervised learning. You can let the machine go madly off in whatever direction it likes – unsupervised learning. Or you can teach the machine some things and check in on it from time to time but mostly let it do its own thing.

    In supervised learning you can use a lot of ways of telling the machine how to treat any pair of events. One way is to help it identify nodes (important inflection points or at least ones you think are important) and tell it how to build a model from that node. In a Markov Blanket you tell the machine that given a node then it should find the node’s parents, the node’s children, the node’s children’s other parents, and the children’s spouses.

    Now why would you do this? Because it isolates the node from all other nodes or at least it should. If it doesn’t the machine changes one of the nodes so it can build a Markov Blanket. Voila, things are beautifully clustered. Or not, but we can hope.

    You might however let the machine do its own thing. In which case you simply teach it a skill like principal component analysis, where it looks for the most important parts of the data and keeps teaching itself based on results what to look for. Or you could teach it to look for the most independent data – that is it doesn’t correlate worth a crap and let it find all examples for you until it has created a classification based on worst correlation to best correlation. And presto you are in the land of AI.

    Thus ends the math lesson. I have probably offended every expert in the field with some over simplifications. Much nit picking will follow I am sure but that is the gist and now I can tell you about my Danish friends. I may fall asleep first, but I doubt it.

  63. leadfarmer says:

    I think Wideman is a replacement for Garrison and Garrison is getting waived. He will get good pp time as a result of having one defenseman that has some offensive competency.
    His 11 min of EV strength ice time is a sign that we are going to shelter the crap out of him and use him as a cheap offensive D
    Wonder who comes out

  64. Melvis says:

    VOR: and Soashanna

    There it is again. Rosanna after too much absinth. Since I’m booking for Paris in April, I’m taking this as one of those signs along the way.

    I’ll be sure to check it out. Thanks for the post.

  65. Caller Zen says:

    Wideman is very chatty in that leaked Uber video, so I’m not surprised Eugene Melnyk wanted him gone ASAP. For what it’s worth, in that video Wideman mentions being shown video but not being taught anything, so maybe there is a chance he’ll actually learn something from Yawney and Hitch.

  66. OriginalPouzar says:

    Haven’t been able to watch due to client obligations but 4-3 London after one.

    McLeod and Bouchard each with an assist (Bouchard on the PP – his first PP point of the season).

  67. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    drglen,

    Hi Doc,

    Don’t always agree with your opinions, but I value your contributions here.

    You’ve made me stop and reconsider my default positions on a couple things.

    Also,

    In regards to:

    Good article. We should temper expectations and settle down a bit. Hitch is always good for a quote, but that doesn’t make it ‘happen’ in real life. Let’s see what he can figure out.

    I think everyone is excited because of what he achieved before.

    This was in Friedman’s 31 Thoughts this week:

    Here’s what else we know: team defence gets better almost immediately.

    Dallas went from 260 goals against to 222 in his first full year.
    Philadelphia from 192 to 166.
    He coached 62 games in his opening season with Columbus. The Blue Jackets dropped from 276 to 244 when he joined for most of 2006-07.
    St. Louis was 228 to 155.

    Source: https://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/31-thoughts-can-ken-hitchcocks-demands-lead-oilers-playoffs/

  68. Melvis says:

    Woodguy v2.0: bendelson: Meet him all the way WG… meet him all the way.

    Yeah right. I’m going to be wandering that 100 level concourse with my thumb up my ass one of these days.

    “Ok, where are you guys?”

  69. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    Alpine:
    Wonder if they now move Benning and something for a better RD.

    Hbomb texted me: “Now package up Caggiula and Benning for Pysyk!!”

    I think FLA might think long and hard about Kassian and Benning for Pysyk.

    Pysyk has been out with a head injury and they’ve been fine without him.

    They want some Gritensity so Kass fits that bill and Benning is cheap and can be 7D.

    Pysyk (if healthy) would be a significant upgrade on both Benning and Russell at 2RD.

  70. v4ance says:

    VOR,

    Hanging on your every word VOR. Thanks!

    Your clear description of applying machine learning to predict player performance is exactly what I was thinking about if we were to apply Friston’s techniques to NHL data. A true game changer in terms of what it could possibly do.

  71. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    workaroundaccount:
    Jusy hold on to Benning. Defensemen turn the corner overnight.

    Can you give me my phone back please?

  72. Bruce McCurdy says:

    VOR,

    Your wife has an ice cream headache for the ages!

  73. Todd Macallan says:

    Boqvist threads the needle to Bouch for a 5 on 3 PP goal, what a beauty

  74. v4ance says:

    Bouchard scores on 5on3 PP with Boquist feeding beauty diagonal feed down to goal line in the right post Hallsy spot

  75. Pescador says:

    Woodguy v2.0: Hbomb texted me: “Now package up Caggiula and Benning for Pysyk!!”

    Pysyk (if healthy) Could be a significant upgrade on both Benning and Russell at 2RD.

    Fixed that,
    JMO

  76. OriginalPouzar says:

    Bouch with a PP goal.

  77. OriginalPouzar says:

    Matt Mosewich

    @EDMFutureWatch
    Following Following @EDMFutureWatch
    More
    As an Oilers fan it’s hard not to be excited after watching that first period.

    Evan Bouchard and Ryan McLeod both looked exceptional.

  78. Pescador says:

    Melvis: Yeah right. I’m going to be wandering that 100 level concourse with my thumb up my ass one of these days.

    “Ok, where are you guys?”

    Drinking free whiskey in the owners private box
    Uninvited

  79. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Bouchard on the ice for 7 of the first 8 goals & in the box for the other.

  80. OriginalPouzar says:

    With the extra body and now to a full 23 man roster (and Rieder’s cap hit, of course, still counting), Oilers are back in to the LTIR cushion and have stopped accumulating any cap space to bank for acquisitions.

    They don’t need to make a roster move (until Rieder comes off IR), but, if waiving Garrison is in the near term plan, i would like it done tomorrow in order to get us back under the cap.

    Actually, now that I think about it, we’d only be under by apx $100K so essentially banking only the most nominal of cap space anyways.

    Carry on.

  81. v4ance says:

    Bouchard across to Alex Formenton on 2 on 1 but desperation blocker save to keep it out

  82. JimmyV1965 says:

    godot10: Fowler and Lindholm are out.Montour qualifies as a grizzled veteran in the defensive lineup the Oilers are going to face.A couple of rookies.A couple or three 2nd and 3rd year guys.

    Losing is not an option in this game.

    I watched a lot of Ducks games early in the season and they were awful, real awful. I haven’t watched as much lately but from what I’ve seen they look like they’re playing better, even without their top 2 dmen. I haven’t watched as much though so hopefully I’m wrong.

  83. OriginalPouzar says:

    Wideman made the flight tonight so will be in ANA in time but I’m thinking it’s unlikely he plays.

    Truth be told, Wideman vs. Benning is likely a game over game decision each night.

  84. leadfarmer says:

    Woodguy v2.0,

    I think we know that Hitch is going to go one line all out offense. 3 lines of Ryan Strome hockey and we just got rid of Ryan Strome . The problem is we still only have one defensive pairing that we can rely on. So can Mcdavid and Drai outscore all of our defensive mistakes? I just don’t see our D being able to employ Hitch’s tight defensive coverage. At least our save percentage will go up

  85. Melvis says:

    Bruce McCurdy: More Songs About Buildings & Food.

    Well, yeah. Since there’s way too much hockey talk on this hockey blog.

    I’m just curious. Have you been taking detailed game notes since knee high to Roy “Shrimp” Worters?

  86. ArmchairGM says:

    Wilde: ArmchairGM,
    You missed the main man, Mikko Kokkonen.
    Around the same pts/60 as Kotkaniemi as a defenceman, ranked in the 20’s and up on most lists.

    Nope, blame Sportsnet – I was only going off their November list.

    But yes, 10 points in 21 Liiga games is impressive for an undersized defenseman for sure. Could be another mid-round steal.

  87. who says:

    OriginalPouzar: I’m not sure it puts Russell back on the left side as Hitch has him up as 2RD.

    I can’t imagine Wideman being asked to play above the third pairing.

    I agree.
    Wideman could very easily be replacing Benning.

  88. who says:

    Primetime: So would you claim Dano now?

    I would have claimed him the 1st time.

  89. leadfarmer says:

    Dellow has good analysis on the Athletic about PP.
    We don’t play the second unit much and rightfully so. Although not as bad as I thought they would be.

  90. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    Melvis: Yeah right. I’m going to be wandering that 100 level concourse with my thumb up my ass one of these days.

    “Ok, where are you guys?”

    Make it happen Melvis

  91. OriginalPouzar says:

    who: I agree.
    Wideman could very easily be replacing Benning.

    I agree and think it will be a decision night in and night out which was is 3RD.

    While Wideman is a better puck mover than Benning and should be able to help on the PP, I’m not positive he’s a better player overall but will need to see him much more than I have in the past.

  92. drglen says:

    OmJo: drgle

    Sid is a typical Toronto dick head. ( I lived there)

    but,

    he knows his basketball.

  93. drglen says:

    I still say the Wideman move is anticipating a trade,

  94. drglen says:

    Any relation to Dennis Wideman. ( good D)

    Chris Wideman is also MMA… beat spider silva maybe 4 years ago? I think injuries derailed him. A fighter with no weaknesses.

  95. Westchester Oil says:

    Btw, Chris Wideman is co-leading the team (with Nurse) in defensive goals scored this season.

  96. Pescador says:

    drglen:
    Any relation to Dennis Wideman.( good D)

    Chris Wideman is also MMA…

    Much Maligned Ahl’er

  97. Pescador says:

    drglen:
    I still say the Wideman move is anticipating a trade,

    The only upside of being Cap strung is that PC can’t trade away (substantial) futures for all the marginal NHL’ers he seems to like so much

  98. jtblack says:

    ArmchairGM: I agree. Here is the current top-31 (as per Sportsnet) and their NHLE so far:

    1. Jack Hughes LC 45.39 ***
    2. Kaapo Kakko RW 21.46
    3. Kirby DachRC 41.99 ***
    4. Dylan Cozens RC 28.30
    5. Vasily Podkolzin RW 17.79
    6. Alex TurcotteLC 14.76
    7. Raphael Lavoie RC/RW 25.51
    8. Alex NewhookLC 27.75
    9. Matthew Boldy LW 26.57
    10. Ryan SuzukiLC 38.40 ***
    11. Trevor ZegrasLC 38.45 ***
    12. Bowen ByramD 16.88
    13. Philip BrobergD 11.91
    14. Peyton KrebsLC 29.07
    15. Cole CaufieldRW 25.46
    16. Arthur KaliyevRW 39.73 ***
    17. Matthew RobertsonD 15.13
    18. Yaroslav LikhachevRW 8.73
    19. Victor SoderstromD 11.71
    20. Matvey Guskov LW 17.66
    21. Anttoni HonkaD 9.88
    22. Cam YorkD 17.71
    23. Thomas Harley LD 21.67 ***
    24. Nolan FooteLW 23.58
    25. John BeecherLW 15.15
    26. Jakob Pelletier LW 35.44 ***
    27. Lassi Thomson D 17.23
    28. Alex VlasicD 12.18
    29. Samuel PoulinLW 18.23
    30. Kaedan Korczak D 15.07
    31. Moritz SeiderD 2.19

    *** These are the guys to watch. Interestingly (if I’ve done this right) Hughes has about the same NHLE as Marner did in his draft year – well below McDavid and Eichel. Lots of track left, of course, so we’ll see.

    Looks like picking at 10 again (God forbid) will net an excellent prospect. Even picking in the playoff bracket (16+) could result in a great future player. I’ve highlighted 3 exceptional prospects in this range above, their scouting reports are as follows:

    16. Arthur Kaliyev, RW, Hamilton Bulldogs (OHL) 6-foot-1, 190 pounds: The goal scoring has always been there. He has shown other parts of his game that make you think the sky’s the limit. Finding consistency in those other areas will cement him inside the top-15.

    23. Thomas Harley, LD, Mississauga Steelheads (OHL) 6-foot-3, 188 pounds: Starting to come out of his shell. A smooth skater with excellent passing abilities. Has good reach to help him defensively.

    26. Jakob Pelletier, LW, Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL), 5-foot-9, 161 pounds: The hockey IQ is way too high to ignore. He makes those around him better and competes like a champ.

    https://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/juniors/sportsnets-2019-nhl-draft-prospect-rankings-november/

    was working. Thanks !!

    great info. excellent draft

  99. Scungilli Slushy says:

    Pescador: The only upside of being Cap strung is that PC can’t trade away (substantial) futures for all the marginal NHL’ers he seems to like so much

    I find it odd he traded Strome just before he hired a coach that would seem to like him.

    The verbal is whatever last games caused the decision but of course with the money and stakes involved the writing was on the wall, and we knew that going on to the season by reading the tea leaves.

    I also imagine Hitch had been contacted well before the hire. PC must have wanted a speed upgrade big time. And thought Brodziak or Khaira could do what Strome did at zero offense.

  100. jtblack says:

    Byram will prob go top 6 excellent all around D Man …

    gonna be some gems between 10 – 25

  101. drglen says:

    Pescador: The only upside of being Cap strung is that PC can’t trade away (substantial) futures for all the marginal NHL’ers he seems to like so much

    I know.. but I’ve got this gnawing little worry that Nurse is for sale…

    He’s hit the cap and cant do anything but try to pry the 7th defenseman and 14 forward from teams. That’s kind of sad actually. How did this happen?

    Lucic too much money and term.

    It would have been nice to get draisaitl for 1 million less, though I don’t begrudge the deal, as every team in the league would give their left testicle for that guy.

    RNH is making a bit too much as well…. but lots of guys make a lot more and play much worse for the team.

    Kassian is a bit of an overpay.

    Russell is an overpay.

    I guess today’s NHL really is about bottom end players exceeding their potential for cheap.

    that itchy feeling… he might be trying to peddle RNH … I woudnlt do it, but it’s not unthinkable either. Short of Pavelski there arent’ too many guys like RNH, on the other hand, their are probably guys that might give you more.. IF… you want that guy to be a second line center. I’d actually be willing to part with RNH, a great player and the good soldier who bleeds orange and blue, but he’s tradeable.

  102. OriginalPouzar says:

    McLeod adds a PP goal of his own and, from accounts, it was a fantastic goal.

    i had planned to watch this entire game but work blew up on me and I haven’t been able to leave the office yet, nor for a few more hours – looking forward to seeing the highlights though.

    Sounds like both Bouchard and McLeod were exceptional!

  103. drglen says:

    Scungilli Slushy,

    I think they see Khaira as doing more than Strome. Khaira replaces strome. Strome had plenty of time, and didn’t show offense. I think Khaira can create more good, possibly goals as well, in Hitch’s or anyone elses system.

  104. drglen says:

    Woodguy v2.0,

    numbers don’t lie. !!

  105. Wilde says:

    jtblack:
    Byram will prob go top 6excellent all around D Man …

    gonna be some gems between 10 – 25

    I think if a D goes in the top-10 it’ll be a huge risk in this draft

  106. jtblack says:

    Wilde: I think if a D goes in the top-10 it’ll be a huge risk in this draft

    Why do you say that?

  107. Bank Shot says:

    One of Chris Wideman’s youtube highlights has him scoring on a rebound.

    You don’t see that from Oilers d-men.

    He’ll give them a different look for sure.

    Maybe he’ll be able to add something on the PP.

    It would be amazing if he was able to bring more to the PP than Klefbom. Klefbom is one of the worst performers out of D-men that play on the first unit.

    He’s 28 though. This deal likely won’t amount to much. Fingers crossed as always.

  108. jtblack says:

    jtblack,

    P.S. love Kaliyev

  109. kelowna oiler says:

    drglen: Sid is a typical Toronto dick head.( I lived there)

    but,

    he knows his basketball.

    Sid reminds me of kid who got picked on through his school days. He tries to act and funny, but is annoying. He and his side bald chump try to be like Jay and Dan from TSN, but don’t even come close.

    So whatever Sid the dweeb said doesn’t really matter..he’s saying these things to get ratings.

  110. VOR says:

    Bruce,

    My wife says to thank you for the laugh. She tells me she laughed out loud for the first time in several days.

    It is now past 4 AM here and I still can’t sleep. The humidity here is now 100%. Step outside as I did a few minutes ago and you are soaked to the skin and the fog is like paste. Cold paste.

    And this explains why I am still awake at least in part. The apartment across the hall from me is filled with young mathematicians, including my Danish friends, all drunk as skunks, but being plied with crepes, ham, and eggs by my neighbor. I have been over there helping her.

    Limon isn’t a mathematician, claims to be a sociologist here to study the mating rituals of nerds. I think she may also be inebriated. In any case they are in the process of passing out and falling asleep and it is slowly quieting down. Limon’s (I am betting that isn’t really her name) apartment looks like an old fashioned dorm, long lines of cots along each wall – apparently this happens often enough our hosts were prepared.

    It has been years since I had this much fun at a conference. I am already planning to come back next year. And Melvis, if you are in Paris I strongly recommend you take a side trip to Orleans.

    But on with the math. A Pakistani engineer friend of mine set up the meeting with the Danes. I outsource some of my data mining and analysis and computer programming to Ali.

    He is in Calgary.

    The Danes have stumbled on an entire new way of doing Big Data analysis. They literally show their AI pictures of the data. The machine takes it from there. It uses entire new algorithms which are self-learning. This would be a major breakthrough in biology and medicine if it works.

    The reason Ali thought I might be interested is two fold. First, all these young women have worked at one time or another on skating bio-mechanics. Second, they offered to have their AI “look at” my longitudinal data for CF and GF vs age. Or rather Ali’s data. Mostly though he thought they might be interested in speaking to me about their dilemma.

    They started this work while they were still in university so their universities own part of the IP and then they got recruited and now work in the private sector where their companies own part of the IP but they have done all the development work post grad school on their own time and dime. So now what do they do? This is why I am being just a little bit cautious about naming them.

    The first step, of course, as in coaching is gaining trust. That is the answer to Half-wise’s question about how to convince people who think they know it all to change in order to improve. One person at a time gain their trust. Use that trust – without violating it – to figure out the levers that move them. Finally use their lever(s) to move them to wherever it is they really want to go but are afraid to or don’t believe they can.

    I am only a quarter wise so I am not sure how helpful I can be but I coach people who want to be great. They want it with their whole heart and soul. My job is to remove the barriers that stop them from getting there. Sometimes these are ones they have erected themselves or society has imposed but mostly they are caused by the way their brains or bodies or both function. It isn’t magic. It is slow plodding very hard work with endless repetitions and enormous amounts of reinforcement and emotional support.

    I gained my Danish friends trust with V4ANCE’s out of the blue question about Karl Friston.

    They all worship Friston. He is the giant whose shoulders they stand on. They think I will find that nearly every bio-mathematician of their generation is either inspired by him, influenced by him, trying to replace him, or trying to prove him wrong.

    Despite which they think his free energy thinking is flawed. In summary:

    -They think ‘free energy’ is just the ‘evidence lower bound’ that is optimized by a large portion of today’s machine learning algorithms (i.e. variational auto-encoders).

    -‘Predictive coding’ which as they see it is the dominant paradigm in neuroscience is a form of free energy minimization. Minimally they think that free energy minimization (as predictive coding) approximates the back propagation algorithm, but in a biologically plausible fashion.

    -Finally they pointed out that biologically plausible deep learning approaches all use some form of prediction error signal, and are therefore functionally akin to predictive coding.

    -In other words the notion of free energy minimization is already well established in both neuroscience and machine learning.

    As for Markov Blankets they think it is vital if you want good predictive outcomes from your models that you use all three machine learning approaches preferably in an integrated manner. They think Markov Blankets should be part of every predictive model but only part of a part.

    I am not qualified to argue the point with them. Though it is worth noting in my own work I always try to use parametric and non-parametric tools and all three kinds of learning if I am forced to delegate to algorithms. I am personally inspired by Karl Friston’s story and what he accomplished.

    The highlight of dinner was that they gave me the results of Ali’s data mining as “analyzed” by their AI.

    The relationship between CF, GF, age and experience boils down to this; with experience players get better at generating GF% from whatever CF% they produce and that effect lasts into their thirties. Over any one year the effect is quite small but in any one game it can be large. Older more experienced players (up to about 32 years and 6 months) are more likely to dominate an individual game (outscoring by 2 or more goals) than they were at each earlier knot.

    It just occurred to me that it might explain both why veteran teams win more and why younger teams get shafted by the refs. More later. Now I am finally ready to sleep. I have to remember to tell you about analytics in Aussie Rules Football.

  111. Wilde says:

    jtblack: Why do you say that?

    No true high-end guys in terms of scoring outside of Kokkonen, combined with the extra high-end forwards means basically you’d be trading a better bet (very high scoring forwards become good NHL players more often than any other player-identity) for a worse one.

    High pick D-men miss a ton, especially when they aren’t super high-scoring guys. You could get Morrissey, but you also could get Nurse. Or Hayden Fleury.

  112. workaroundaccount says:

    Woodguy v2.0: Can you give me my phone back please?

    Sure, there’s too much freaky stuff on it for me anyways.

  113. jtblack says:

    Wilde: No true high-end guys in terms of scoring outside of Kokkonen, combined with the extra high-end forwards means basically you’d be trading a better bet (very high scoring forwards become good NHL players more often than any other player-identity) for a worse one.

    High pick D-men miss a ton, especially when they aren’t super high-scoring guys. You could get Morrissey, but you also could get Nurse. Or Hayden Fleury.

    Good response. agree woth your assessment.. I really like Byram due to bias He played Bantam in my home town. Flat out Exceptional All Around Player. but yes, the offense will be a question.
    Currently on pace for 20 Goals, 55 points as a D man. Has same coach in Van that he did for 2 years in Bantam (Mike Dyck). Dyck plays a VERY defensive system. And has won at every level (BANTAM, MIDGET, now WHL)

  114. drglen says:

    Btw. Wrong forum but. There is no way that the eskimos should have rehired jason maas. No way!!!

    Oilers are missing reider hope we get him back

  115. drglen says:

    Calgary riding hot goalie. Im high on the flames but i think they will fallback to earth

    San jose will fade as well. Interesting to see what the ducks have

    The team that worries me. Underestimated again at the moment. Is vegas. Vegas is going to climb and i think they win the division.

  116. JimmyV1965 says:

    I think it might be wise to pump the brakes a bit on Hitch. Although I have no doubt he’s a better coach than Tmac, making the playoffs still hinges on our goaltending. And although Koskinen has played well so far, he’s still unproven. Hitch’s systems might make it easier for the goalies, but we all know they are voodoo.

  117. LoDog says:

    ArmchairGM:
    Would you trade:

    Nurse
    Puljujarvi
    2019 1st

    – for –

    Tarasenko

    … at the deadline with two big assumptions: (1) that Sekera is back and playing like his 2016-17 self and (2) that we could make the cap work somehow.

    Would you make that trade? Why or why not?

    At the deadline maybe with all those caveats.

    However I would like Hitch to get his hands on PJ first . Tarasenko turned out pretty good under the same coach.

  118. drglen says:

    JimmyV1965,

    So true. Gotta stop the pucks.

    But guys seem yo be saying that hitchs systems. If team can adapt. Actually reduce high danger shots and goslies tend to do really well.

  119. Glovjuice says:

    bendelson: You’re most welcome.

    … Rosanna, yeah…

    Went on a massive Rossana and Africa kick this passed “spring” during all that snow shovelling- glorious songs/ gawd was Jeff procaro ever perfect.

  120. Glovjuice says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    McLeod adds a PP goal of his own and, from accounts, it was a fantastic goal.

    i had planned to watch this entire game but work blew up on me and I haven’t been able to leave the office yet, nor for a few more hours – looking forward to seeing the highlights though.

    Sounds like both Bouchard and McLeod were exceptional!

    Very solid. Bouchard should be in the A. Bummer.

  121. Paddy Morans Jockstrap says:

    JimmyV1965: bet

    Actually Kos is proven as he has been playing like this for years – just not in the nhl. Only thing I worry about is shooters going high glove as he seems to play a bit tight to blocker side post. Small adjustment I hope he makes.

  122. drglen says:

    Congrats to bo levi well deserved mop. Go stamps

  123. Reja says:

    drglen:
    I still say the Wideman move is anticipating a trade,

    Ding.Ding.Ding.

  124. drglen says:

    kelowna oiler,

    Tim and sid did tbe score si ce tbe 90s. Thats whete elliot friedman came from as well. As a father up all night with grumpy babies in those days. I always appreciated tbe score

  125. Wilde says:

    jtblack: Good response. agree woth your assessment.. I really like Byram due to bias He played Bantam in my home town.Flat out Exceptional All Around Player.but yes, the offense will be a question.
    Currently on pace for 20 Goals, 55 points as a D man.Has same coach in Van that he did for 2 years in Bantam (Mike Dyck).Dyck plays a VERY defensive system.And has won at every level (BANTAM, MIDGET, now WHL)

    Yeah I’ll admit that just like at the NHL level, D-men are harder to figure out esp when I’m using just macro data or data + bad video (like highlights).

    I don’t make any concrete decisions on bluelinersuntil I watch some full games or shift-by-shifts but what I said above holds true in terms of percentages.

    It’s why I wasn’t too torn up about Evan Bouchard despite having concerns about his game (skating, reads, lack of mobility-based outplays) and his advanced age – the scoring was just too much.

  126. Wilde says:

    Though, for D-men who are exceptional skaters, I’m looking for points or else it’s a bit of a red flag.

    If the player has the requisite hockey IQ to understand seams & gaps, they should be able to create in junior hockey. If not, they’re missing that or the requisite puck skill to hit teammates’ tape in motion & under pressure.

    Either way, that’s not functional speed.

    The potential NHL puck-movers will score against their peers. I don’t care about their production once reaching the NHL (there’s no third or fourth assist) but nobody learns to pass well in the NHL.

  127. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Melvis: Well, yeah. Since there’s way too much hockey talk on this hockey blog.

    I’m just curious. Have you been taking detailed game notes since knee high to Roy “Shrimp” Worters?

    Haha just playing a little Word Association Football** in response to your comment that mentioned both talking heads & food, took me right to the Talking Heads album of that title from 1978. Best known for its quirky version of the Al Green classic “Take Me to the River”.

    (**Monty Python reference)

    Alas, I don’t remember Roy Worters but I do know who he was. Have long been an NHL history buff & have been following in real time for well over half of that history. As for detailed notes, they’re a relatively recent development, I relied on my memory for decades until it started showing some signs of wear & tear. But now in my blogging years, game notes are a must.

  128. Wilde says:

    Watching a video of Hitchcock explaining his system when he was with the Blues, here’s a part where I thought about Puljujarvi:

    “All five players on one half of the ice; all five players in the picture – and we don’t dictate ‘lock this guy, pick up that guy,’ we just say that if you come back hard, it’ll sort itself out. Our defensemen make the 1-on-1 and take the speed, and the forwards come back inside, so they don’t have any guessing or gliding.”

    The issue with Puljujarvi has never been whether or not he puts in the effort to come back hard, so this is going to be real simple and easy for him. Combine that on defense with, on offense, the ‘you have the puck, that’s you’ allowance for creativity in the OZ and Jesse’s going to figure things out just on time for us, I’d wager.

  129. Wilde says:

    Another:

    “We always exit through the middle of the ice. We don’t bang it off the boards. We don’t want wingers banging pucks off the boards. We don’t care- we turn it over, and it ends up in our net sometimes? Big deal. Nine times out of ten, that’s a good play.”

    Praise be.

    So tired of watching the puck get ground into dust going up the wall and playing ping-pong with their point guy and having your guy in the middle be way too high because he’s got to catch that puck once it finally gets through.

  130. OriginalPouzar says:

    Glovjuice: Very solid. Bouchard should be in the A.Bummer.

    Bouchard was on the ice for 7 of the first 8 goals scored – both ways.

    As I said, due to chaos on a transaction I was at the office and couldn’t watch so I can’t tell you about his culpability on the goals against but it seems he is still high event both ways, even in junior.

    AHL would be great but it seems there is still plenty for him to work on away from the puck at the CHL level.

    Although I don’t imagine this organization will let it happen, there is a very good chance he SHOULD be in the AHL to start next season – we know he won’t be though….

  131. hunter1909 says:

    OriginalPouzar: Bouchard was on the ice for 7 of the first 8 goals scored – both ways.

    As I said, due to chaos on a transaction I was at the office and couldn’t watch so I can’t tell you about his culpability on the goals against but it seems he is still high event both ways, even in junior.

    AHL would be great but it seems there is still plenty for him to work on away from the puck at the CHL level.

    Although I don’t imagine this organization will let it happen, there is a very good chance he SHOULD be in the AHL to start next season – we know he won’t be though….

    As long as he stays healthy, it’s going to be okay.

  132. godot10 says:

    Wilde: I think if a D goes in the top-10 it’ll be a huge risk in this draft

    Broberg will probably go top 10.

  133. Halfwise says:

    VOR,

    VOR you are one of the few posters here (in addition to our kind host) whose words invite and reward rumination.

    My interest in your disciplines is now officially sparked. Thank you.

  134. Glovjuice says:

    Halfwise:
    VOR,

    VOR you are one of the few posters here (in addition to our kind host) whose words invite and reward rumination.

    My interest in your disciplines is now officially sparked. Thank you.

    What about the Glovjuice?

  135. drglen says:

    Lets see what happens tonight. Would be nice to get something from the second line

  136. €√¥£€^$ says:

    hunter1909:
    Re Hitchcock:

    I get the feeling the Oilers have found their Scotty Bowman. How this dude wasn’t considered seriously before I know nothing about, since I know so little about hockey.

    One thing I’ve really noticed is that when he’s been brought in to a new team, he seems to have an immediate positive impact on the results. I am sure this didn’t happen in all cases, but him famously being a Claire Drake protoge, it always struck me as very strange that he was never seemingly on E-town’s radar.

  137. frjohnk says:

    €√¥£€^$: it always struck me as very strange that he was never seemingly on E-town’s radar.

    I think I read when he was available, the Oilers had their coach.
    When the Oilers were looking for a coach, he was not available as he was coaching somewhere else.

  138. Pescador says:

    Glovjuice: What about the Glovjuice?

    Gross

  139. €√¥£€^$ says:

    drglen:
    Lets see what happens tonight.Would be nice to get something from the second line

    This afternoon.

    2 pm puck drop

  140. €√¥£€^$ says:

    frjohnk: I think I read when he was available, the Oilers had their coach.
    When the Oilers were looking for a coach, he was not available as he was coaching somewhere else.

    I distinctly remember him being available at one point and thinking “why didn’t they get him”, but reviewing the timeline I see that you are correct.

  141. Pescador says:

    drglen:
    Lets see what happens tonight.Would be nice to get something from the second line

    Is break even something?
    cause that would nice

  142. Sierra says:

    Wilde:
    Another:

    “We always exit through the middle of the ice. We don’t bang it off the boards. We don’t want wingers banging pucks off the boards. We don’t care- we turn it over, and it ends up in our net sometimes? Big deal. Nine times out of ten, that’s a good play.”

    Praise be.

    So tired of watching the puck get ground into dust going up the wall and playing ping-pong with their point guy and having your guy in the middle be way too high because he’s got to catch that puck once it finally gets through.

    Amen

  143. Halfwise says:

    Glovjuice: What about the Glovjuice?

    Every time I see you I think of you.

  144. Ribs says:

    Fascinating stuff, VOR! Many thanks to you and your wife for relaying your activities!

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