Game 26 2018-19: Golden Knights at Oilers

by Lowetide

The Oilers cliffhanger season enters its third chapter tonight as the team hosts Vegas. An October surprise (6-4-1) gave way to a devastating (for many, including the head coach) November (6-7-1). We’re on to a long December, with reason to believe that maybe this year will be better than the last.

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. Outstanding offer is here.

  • New Lowetide: Finding Ken Hitchcock’s Oilers more productive wingers: Hard target search.
  • New Dom Luszczyszyn: 31 Stats (Oilers content).
  • New Jonathan Willis: Edmonton’s waiver gamble on Valentin Zykov is one with the possibility of a surprisingly high-end payoff.
  • Lowetide: Oilers No. 4 Prospect winter 2018: Ryan McLeod.
  • Jonathan Willis: Like Rome in its war with Hannibal, Edmonton needs a Scipio Africanus.
  • Daniel Nugent Bowman: Lessons learned at Sherwood Park help guide Ken Hitchock’s attempt to turn the Oilers around.
  • Lowetide: Oilers need a first-shot scoring winger and Ryan Spooner isn’t it. So, what’s next?
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: What Oilers want to see from top prospects Puljujarvi and Yamamoto
  • Lowetide: Jesse Puljujarvi to the show, plus the sudden impact of Cam Hebig and Joel Persson.
  • Lowetide: Oilers No. 3 Prospect winter 2018: Tyler Benson.
  • Lowetide: Oilers No. 2 Prospect winter 2018: Kailer Yamamoto.
  • Lowetide: Oilers No. 1 Prospect winter 2018: Evan Bouchard.

OILERS AFTER 26

  • Oilers in 2015: 9-15-2, 20 points; goal differential -14
  • Oilers in 2016: 14-10-2, 30 points; goal differential +8
  • Oilers in 2017: 10-14-2, 22 points; goal differential -14
  • Oilers in 2018: 12-11-2, 26 points; goal differential -5

This is a big month for Edmonton, who begin December in the No. 5 spot in the Pacific—with an explanation. The Oilers are three points behind Vegas, with two games in hand. A win tonight in regulation and the team would be a single point behind while maintaining the two games in hand. That would be a good spot.

OILERS IN DECEMBER

  • Oilers in December 2015: 1-0-0, two points; goal differential 0
  • Oilers in December 2016: 1-0-0, two points; goal differential +3
  • Oilers in December 2017: 1-0-0, two points; goal differential +2
  • Oilers in December 2018: 0-0-0, 0 points; goal differential nil 

A fine start all around for the McDavid Decembers, Vegas is coming in with five wins in a row and a lot of things straightened out. The Oilers have things to recommend them as well, but set your expectations proportionate to the challenge.

WHAT TO EXPECT IN DECEMBER

  • At home to: Vegas (Expected 0-1-0) Actual (0-0-0)
  • On the road to: Dallas, St. Louis (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • At home to: Minnesota, Calgary (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • On the road to: Colorado, Winnipeg (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • At home to: Philadelphia (Expected 1-0-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • On the road to: Vancouver (Expected 1-0-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • At home to: St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Vancouver, San Jose, Winnipeg (Expected 2-2-1) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • Overall expected result: 7-6-1, 15 points in 14 games 
  • Current results: 0-0-0

I was too shy in October, too aggressive in November, hopefully this time around I’ll have it right. The schedule, as I see it, is more difficult than October but easier than last month, but we all know how that turned out.

THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT

Oilers prospects in junior had a strong night in the OHL Friday, with Evan Bouchard picking up two assists (now 10, 4-10-14 with 48 shots), three goals for Kirill Maksimov (now 23, 16-14-30 with 107 shots), Dmitri Samorukov had an assist (25, 0-10-10) and 1-1-2 for Ryan McLeod (23, 7-19-26). In the Q, Olivier Rodrigue stopped 18 of 21 for Drummondville Voltigeurs and now has a .907 save percentage and a 15-5 record on the season.

THAT CRAZY TRADE MUST HAVE RICOCHETED

The trade that would not die has another chapter left (at least!) after Edmonton claimed Valentin Zykov on waivers Friday. I’m not going to spend a lot of time on this, because we have much to discuss, but I had fun following progress over the last five years. The original trade(s):

  • First trade: Edmonton trades 37th overall (Valentin Zykov) to Los Angeles for 57th overall (William Carrier), 88th overall (Anton Slephyshev) and 96th overall (Kyle Platzer).
  • Second trade: Oilers trade 57th overall (William Carrier) to St. Louis for 83rd overall (Bogdan Yakimov), 94th overall (Jackson Houck) and 113th overall (Aidan Muir).

And now the NHL games played and boxcars:

  1. William Carrier 105, 11-6-17
  2. Anton Slepyshev 102, 10-13-23
  3. Valentin Zykov 25, 4-7-11
  4. Bogdan Yakimov 1, 0-0-0

It became obvious early on that these four men would be the most interesting and now we’re down to Carrier and Zykov in North America. I think Edmonton made an astute bet yesterday, it was a surprise only because the team had passed on other, similar options previously. I think this fellow has a chance, maybe not at the same level as Pontus Aberg, but a chance.

RYAN SPOONER VERSUS VALENTIN ZYKOV

Peter Chiarelli is so unpopular among Oilers fans the good things (this season: Mikko Koskinen, Alex Chiasson, Kevin Gravel, Tobias Rieder) get overrun by the stunning misuse of assets. A fine example is the table above. Edmonton gave up a low-event center in Ryan Strome for Ryan Spooner, whose season in 2018-19 has the look of ‘buyout/signs in Minsk’ next step. The waiver claim of Zykov has a chance to be quality, making the previous Strome trade unnecessary, except of course that trade happened, and landed another possible buyout deal on the roster. It’s like watching an episode of Hogan’s Heroes.

This year’s Oilers are so interesting because, taken as a whole (above) there’s a positive story to tell. However, the major issue for this team, now four years running, is McDavid on versus McDavid off. Here’s some facts worth pondering:

  • Corsi for 5-on-5: 50.67 (No. 12 overall)
  • Corsi for 5-on-5 with McDavid: 54.29
  • Corsi for 5-on-5 w/o McDavid: 48.30

That’s a better number than it has been at times in the past, and the bet is Hitchcock will find a way to get that thing to 50 percent with 97 at rest. That’s the Katz bet, the desperation of the organization having reached a fever pitch. Let’s look at goals:

  • Goal differential 5-on-5: (38-45) 45.78 (No. 24 overall)
  • Goal differential 5-on-5 with McDavid: (19-14) 57.58
  • Goal differential 5-on-5 w/o McDavid: (19-31) 38.00

Part of this is luck, part is ability but the bottom line is the team’s 5-on-5 shooting percentage is No. 28 overall (6.08, all of these numbers via NaturalStatTrick). Part of the problem is some of the wrong players (blue) are shooting a lot (Klefbom, McDavid, Nurse and Nuge are the only men above 50 shots 5-on-5). One area that has been correcting nicely? 5-on-5 save percentage, now 92.39 and Edmonton ranks No. 13.

Shots against per 60 are now 29.48, that’s No. 8 league-wide. Since Hitchcock took over, that number is 25.62 and the team ranks No. 5. Goals against per 60 under Hitchcock at 5-on-5? No. 3, at 1.42/60. The goals for (1.18/60) are the issue, thus the reason for acquiring Spooner, Zykov and possibly recalling Yamamoto and or making a trade for an established scorer.

DANGER ZONE

I want to take a moment this morning to talk about the dangers ahead for this organization. My item for The Athletic this morning talks some home truths about the roster and the realities of having a coach like Ken Hitchcock at the helm. It’s good, because he’s pushing to find ways to win hockey games even when he’s sleeping. It’s bad, because Hitchcock isn’t terribly concerned with what tomorrow brings, and that’s where he and Peter Chiarelli may have to spend hours talking about balance between winning teams and building teams.

If we were talking about Toronto, this issue is easy. If the Maple Leafs decide (and they may) a righty blue who can move the puck is necessary, we’re going to see “Toronto trades Kasperi Kapanen to Minnesota for Jared Spurgeon” and the Maple Leafs can afford that trade (note: I’m not suggesting it, just using it as an example, the deal wouldn’t work unless Toronto included Nathan Horton and that isn’t happening).

Edmonton can’t afford to make that move, for two reasons. First, no young and expendable player has performed close to Kapanen’s output this season. Second, the Oilers need all of these young players to blossom in-house, to become part of the solution here.

I believe this to be true: The Edmonton Oilers need to keep their powder dry. Ken Hitchcock? He wants to win. We are here.

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LMHF#1

Admiral Ackbar,

I said that they were the best in those playoffs with a purpose. They were never the same individually again…this is true. They were also never that unit again. The way they were playing hockey was something else…but it wasn’t bounces and flukes and pluck…it was well executed hockey by a deep roster peaking at the right time.

Why people didn’t see them better during that regular season I don’t know…that was an excellent hockey team.

Admiral Ackbar

LMHF#1,

I’ve legit never heard anyone say anything close to this aboutbthe 2006 playoff.

1. That Wings team finished the reg season with 124 pts, 6 pts off the record 132
2. Pisani, Peca, et al never produced anywhere near their playoff numbers ever again.
3. If you want to understate Roli, you’ll need to overstate elsewhere and Pronger is the only one you could rely on to do that, no one else on that team, besides Hemmer, amounted to a significant top line talent after that playoff.

It may not have been a Cinderella run for you, but they sure didn’t have the horses to amount to much after that run. Chalk it all up to Pronger or consider a playoff of collective over-performance. I think it’s a more of the latter than the former.

Munny

106 and 106:
Munny,

CoH gave him a 7.

I think that tells us all we need to know about subjective rankings.

LMHF#1

Reja: Yes but those players don’t get a chance to gel and go on a Cinderella run without Roloson absolutely standing on his head against the unbeatable Red Wings.

I do not agree with the narrative that it was a “cinderella run” or that the Wings were in any way unbeatable. They were done as soon as Legace made his comments about pressure and how scared he was.

I went to every single home game that year – preseason, regular and post. I saw that squad better than all but very few – they were a damn fine hockey team that underachieved and when they had it all together + the deadline additions, were the best team in the league in the playoffs.

They should have beaten the Hurricanes in 5 with or without Roloson the way they were going. It was on the team that what happened happened. Game 1, game 4, and game 7. Specifically guys like Ryan Smyth who did not produce at the end.

€√¥£€^$

razor: I’d like to see this lineup.
23 97 8
Zykov 29 39
91 93 98
27 28 44

We are speaking the same language ?

Reja

LMHF#1: Pronger, Pisani and a bunch of others. That was a damn fine hockey team that doesn’t get the credit it deserves. Also – he was not very good after that run.

On the rare occasion when OP and I agree…that’s usually the way to go.

Yes but those players don’t get a chance to gel and go on a Cinderella run without Roloson absolutely standing on his head against the unbeatable Red Wings.

Bling

Good win, but I still worry about where the goals are going to come from.

You have three guys in your bottom six (Brodz, Kass, Lucic) for whom the best possible outcome is not allowing the opposition to score. That “identity line” is maintaining possession, but they spend a lot of that time on the perimeter in the offensive zone. I don’t see a lot of willingness to go to the hard areas (the side boards don’t count, IMO).

You have three guys who are at PPG or above (McDavid, Drai, Nuge). This is problematic because one of them has to centre a line of nobodies, and that’s a big ask. Chiasson and Caggiula are off to fine starts, but neither guy has a track record of being a 40-50 point player.

This could still end quite badly.

razor

€√¥£€^$: That’s why I’d like to see:

23-97-8

As far as Drai goes, as was pointed out, his recovery isn’t like McDavid’s.Give him PK, PP & 12-14 minutes 5v5 and give him Zykov and Chaison as his wingers.And Khaira will be next man up.

How does Hitch roll?Does he keep things as is, as long as he is winning, or does he ever change “successful” line-ups?

The team is winning, but Koskinen is the main reason, not the flawed line-up.

I’d like to see this lineup.
23 97 8
Zykov 29 39
91 93 98
27 28 44

godot10

Admiral Ackbar:
LMHF#1,

Didn’t he take the Bolts to 1 game from the finals?I remember that series against a Bs team that eventually won the cup – he was great. Why no Rollie love?

To those discounting his value in that final series against the Canes, have you completely forgotten getting lit up 5-0 in game 2? That doesn’t happen with Rollie.

Roloson was always very good in the playoffs. He was for Minnesota, the Oilers, and Tampa.

godot10

Bulging Twine:
Reflecting on MacLellan’s last post game comments, where he listed off the many things that needed to be fixed.If you are GM and you hear that, from a coach a few years in with the team, and no offered solutions, it probably would make you lean towards a change.

Interesting Mike Yeo’s last post game comments were very similar.He listed all the things that the team needed to fix or were doing wrong.That night he was let go.

It’s one thing to diagnose the problem, it’s a whole ‘nother thing to provide the solution.

McLellan provided the wrong analysis. He blamed the other guy. Instead of himself and doing his job. Which as we see, isn’t that hard to do. Hitchcock walked off the street and boom, 1-0 and 2-1 victories, something McLellan said that the Oilers couldn’t do.

Anaheim and Dallas have rosters decimated by injury, and they are right with the Oilers and would have been running away from McLellan’s Oilers in the standings.

Admiral Ackbar

LMHF#1,

Didn’t he take the Bolts to 1 game from the finals? I remember that series against a Bs team that eventually won the cup – he was great. Why no Rollie love?

To those discounting his value in that final series against the Canes, have you completely forgotten getting lit up 5-0 in game 2? That doesn’t happen with Rollie.

Stazy5

GMB3,

Nurse’s goal against the Jets has been forgotten already?!

LMHF#1

Reja: Him and Pronger dragged that 06 team within one game of glory. If he doesn’t get hurt no doubt in my mind they win. He played really well for a few years after loved his spirit.

Pronger, Pisani and a bunch of others. That was a damn fine hockey team that doesn’t get the credit it deserves. Also – he was not very good after that run.

On the rare occasion when OP and I agree…that’s usually the way to go.

itsaleaf

106 and 106,

I think Leavins was watching a different game than I was.

If that’s a seven performance by 29 then the scale must have moved to 20.

Bulging Twine

Reflecting on MacLellan’s last post game comments, where he listed off the many things that needed to be fixed. If you are GM and you hear that, from a coach a few years in with the team, and no offered solutions, it probably would make you lean towards a change.

Interesting Mike Yeo’s last post game comments were very similar. He listed all the things that the team needed to fix or were doing wrong. That night he was let go.

It’s one thing to diagnose the problem, it’s a whole ‘nother thing to provide the solution.

Bulging Twine

STL 3 days off before we play them on Wednesday

Bulging Twine

Maroon one goal in 19 GP. -12

OriginalPouzar

Jaxon:
I doubt they pick up anyone at this point unless they get rid of someone. They’re at 48 contacts right now. I do wish they would pick up Holl if he becomes available, though. I’d like to see him get a real chance and Wideman hasn’t impressed me so far. Gravel-Holl or Russell-Holl could be a decent 3rd pair.

To be fair, Wideman has played 1 game.

OriginalPouzar

The Nurse/Russell pairing had a great game last night – the top pairing last night.

Man that pairing, and each individual, is inconsistent right now but they are throwing some great performances out there, with some erratic performances mixed in.

OriginalPouzar

Reja: Him and Pronger dragged that 06 team within one game of glory. If he doesn’t get hurt no doubt in my mind they win. He played really well for a few years after loved his spirit.

I can’t agree with this.

Yes, Roloson got hot as hell and was a big part of the playoff run but, overall, he was not a good starting goaltender. He consistently let in bad goals at bad times. Don’t get me wrong, full credit to him for getting hot for a few rounds, however, in my mind, his play was already starting to come back down to historical norms when the incident occurred. I’m not so sure having Roloson for the rest of the finals guarantees the Oilers the cup.

He was awful as a starting tender the next few years.

OriginalPouzar

Time to keep it rolling on the road.

Big game in Dallas on Monday!

Bulging Twine

The Coyotes have 6 former Blackhawks playing for them.

106 and 106

Sierra,

Line 1: Plays 25 minutes a game.
Line 2: Plays 18 minutes a game.

That leaves 17 minutes for Lines 3 and 4.

Identity Line: Plays 10 minutes a game.
Line 4: Plays 7 minutes a game.

That’s 42 minutes of winning or saw-off hockey if RNH is going as he’s going now.

Also option of double shifting McDavid on those Line 4 minutes if no special teams.

Both Lines 1 score 1 tonight.
Oilers win the 4th line battle: 1-0
Game Over: 2-1

106 and 106

Munny,

CoH gave him a 7.

GMB3

hunter1909: No fooling.

Nurse had a good rush. Nothing ever happens when he rushes the puck ever, but Nurse had a good rush.

He gains the opposing teams corner with authority that’s for sure. Not much else happens after that

Jaxon

I doubt they pick up anyone at this point unless they get rid of someone. They’re at 48 contacts right now. I do wish they would pick up Holl if he becomes available, though. I’d like to see him get a real chance and Wideman hasn’t impressed me so far. Gravel-Holl or Russell-Holl could be a decent 3rd pair.

Jaxon

BornInAGretzkyJersey:
Jaxon,

If that happened, it would be known as “*pulling a Lowetide.”

*note: may entail claiming Leivo.

Definitely some great throughlines for Lowetide and his readers with Zykov and possibly Leivo.

godot10

BONE207: World Cup

Nuge was playing top six with MacKinnon. McDavid/Scheiffle and Nugent-Hopkins/MacKinnon and Courturier/Trocheck were the three pairs.

BornInAGretzkyJersey

Jaxon,

If that happened, it would be known as “*pulling a Lowetide.”

*note: may entail claiming Leivo.

Jaxon

We should be watching what Toronto does on the waiver wire before their next game to fit in Nylander. Josh Leivo, Justin Holl, Martin Marincin, Tyler Ennis may be candidates. I would grab Justin Holl if he pops loose. I think he was the best RHD in the AHL last season and his game is built on speed, good passes and responsible D. He also added a lot of offence to his game last season. He’s big and fast.

Reja

JimmyV1965: I think RNH has always been a smart player, but his hockey IQ is off the charts right now. His edgework is elite, but other than that, I don’t think he’s blessed with elite skills. He’s a great skater of course and has an underrated shot, but his brain is his biggest asset. I agree about his pick pocketing. He’s amazing with his stick and he’s getting better. I think he’s also way more aggressive on the forecheck. He’s doesn’t have great strength, but he’s very strong on the puck and wins more battles. We keep talking about wasting Mcdavid’s years, but if we don’t get him a legit goal scorer, we are wasting an immense talent here. If we can somehow get a Mark Stone type, this team could have two scary good lines. Frick. I can’t stop gushing about his game right now.

I agree a hundred percent I think a GM will bite on a Talbot trade and Pete will get a value on somebody that knows how to find the twine his ass is on the line he’s going all in.

godot10

who: But that’s just it. You are guessing.
I have seen nothing in Russells play that is really hampering Nurse. I’m sure if you paired Nurse with someone like Shea Weber he would have better results. But so would Russell.

You are wrong. Compare Nurse’s historical results with Larsson, which are good, vs. Russell’s historical results with Larsson, which are bad.

Russell hurts young D partners because he surrenders the blue line too easily which means anyone he plays with has to spend more time defending than they should if they played with someone who didn’t surrender the blue as easily as Russell does.

Reja

LMHF#1: Don’t sully that list by including Roloson…one of these things is not like the other.

Him and Pronger dragged that 06 team within one game of glory. If he doesn’t get hurt no doubt in my mind they win. He played really well for a few years after loved his spirit.

JimmyV1965

Reja: The biggest thing I’ve noticed about RNH this year is his pick pocketing of the opposition it’s a art in itself and he’s getting better and better at it.

I think RNH has always been a smart player, but his hockey IQ is off the charts right now. His edgework is elite, but other than that, I don’t think he’s blessed with elite skills. He’s a great skater of course and has an underrated shot, but his brain is his biggest asset. I agree about his pick pocketing. He’s amazing with his stick and he’s getting better. I think he’s also way more aggressive on the forecheck. He’s doesn’t have great strength, but he’s very strong on the puck and wins more battles. We keep talking about wasting Mcdavid’s years, but if we don’t get him a legit goal scorer, we are wasting an immense talent here. If we can somehow get a Mark Stone type, this team could have two scary good lines. Frick. I can’t stop gushing about his game right now.

€√¥£€^$

Sierra: Good grief. Who are you playing RNH with given your suggested lines? And how much ice time are you envisioning if McDavid and Drai are centring two other lines?

€√¥£€^$:
Spooner – McDavid – Ho-Sang (Rattie trade)
Zykov – Draisaitl – Chaisson
The Drake – The Nuge – The Young Giant Finn
Lucic – Brodziak – Kassian

And of course we also have Rieder and Khaira.

LMHF#1

Reja:
Moog Fuhr, Ranford, Joseph, Roloson. It’s been a long time since I felt this good about our goaltending How can somebody that tall have such flexible legs. Pete might have struck lightning in a bottle with Mikko the Finns are a factory for producing top notch goalies the last twenty years.

Don’t sully that list by including Roloson…one of these things is not like the other.

BornInAGretzkyJersey

hunter1909,

I was barely a sandwich grabber through the glory years, but what stands out in my mind is one memory, and three players.

1. Wayne.
2. Coffey’s skating.
3. Tikkanen agitating.

4. John Muckler picking his nose on Hockey Night in Canada, and eating it.

hunter1909

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT:

Oilers are the new Dallas Stars!!

Think about it: A handful of totally elite players punctuated by a relentless hitting game that wears the opposition down.

Reja

JimmyV1965:
If RNH played for the Leafs we would be sick and tired of all the Selke talk. But he’s an Oiler so they’re happy to throw out the backhand compliments. He was the best player on either team tonight and McDavid was flying.

The biggest thing I’ve noticed about RNH this year is his pick pocketing of the opposition it’s a art in itself and he’s getting better and better at it.

Reja

Bank Shot: You didn’t feel good about the goaltending in 16/17?

No I thought he was fluky for that stretch when he let in three goals in the last five minutes against the Ducks in game 5 he lost me. He’s let in a lot of weak goals and doesn’t make big saves at the right time. I think the Oilers are shopping him right know and I would be shocked if he’s not traded by the dead line.

JimmyV1965

If RNH played for the Leafs we would be sick and tired of all the Selke talk. But he’s an Oiler so they’re happy to throw out the backhand compliments. He was the best player on either team tonight and McDavid was flying.

Sierra

€√¥£€^$: What is he now?

If your top 3 C’s have the right wingers, who cares who is 2nd or 3rd line.That’s for the HC to decide.

Good grief. Who are you playing RNH with given your suggested lines? And how much ice time are you envisioning if McDavid and Drai are centring two other lines?

€√¥£€^$

Sierra: And what are you doing with RNH? 4th line?

What is he now?

If your top 3 C’s have the right wingers, who cares who is 2nd or 3rd line. That’s for the HC to decide.

Bank Shot

Reja:
Moog Fuhr, Ranford, Joseph, Roloson. It’s been a long time since I felt this good about our goaltending How can somebody that tall have such flexible legs. Pete might have struck lightning in a bottle with Mikko the Finns are a factory for producing top notch goalies the last twenty years.

You didn’t feel good about the goaltending in 16/17?

JimmyV1965

Sierra:
Did Hrudy just say RNH is a “third line centre or what”???

I love that HNC panel. Three guys from the east and Kelly Flamer Hrudey. Nuge has an amazing night and nothing but backhand compliments. I’ll take RNH over Monahan every day.

Reja

HugThePost: But he also knows deep inside he never could have been our fuhr and that is where his spite comes from——it is self-loathing

Yes but you would think he would be loyal to his home town at his age.

Reja

Moog Fuhr, Ranford, Joseph, Roloson. It’s been a long time since I felt this good about our goaltending How can somebody that tall have such flexible legs. Pete might have struck lightning in a bottle with Mikko the Finns are a factory for producing top notch goalies the last twenty years.

HugThePost

Reja: You could be right.

But he also knows deep inside he never could have been our fuhr and that is where his spite comes from——it is self-loathing

Paddy Morans Jockstrap

Visually better and it nice to see good coaching for a change. Gallant is top drawer and Hitch matched him. I’m becoming more convinced TMac was a Denver boot to this team once they became decent.

Going to be interesting to watch Drai and Hitch. I’ve got a feeling that Hitch will make a monster out of him or he’s going to get a ticket out of town for play like this. Hopefully the former.

…..and oh yeah. Kos is a goaler. A few people told ya so.

HugThePost

I kind of wanted to hear Coffey talk about playing with 99 vs playing with 66