Shame on the Moon

The power play was poor and the lines didn’t rhyme but the Oilers were tied after two periods and gave up a trey in the third. We’ve talked about regression, and that’s part of the explanation. I think those heavy minutes by the skilled men have taken a toll, and the down time that arrives starting today is probably a big part of the cure. I predicted 90-94 points and they’re on track for 91 points. This is us. 

This is the point in the season where this blog traditionally makes a decision. I write the words, but the heartbeat of this space lies in the comments and the people who keep the lights on 24-7, 365. I believe, personally, the next two months should be 75 percent playoffs and trade deadline, 25 percent draft. You? Please let me know. 

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 Corey Pronman: World Junior Championship Preview: Team Canada
  • New Lowetide: Ken Hitchcock and the Oilers fan base that is intoxicated by the words of the great communicator
  • New Jonathan Willis: Under Ken Hitchcock, the Oilers may be moving away from the yo-yo approach to development. 
  • Lowetide: With Oscar Klefbom’s injury, will the Oilers look in unusual places for a solution?
  • Black Dog Pat: A bittersweet year 
  • Jonathan WillisTakeaways from Ken Hitchcock’s lineup decisions for the Oilers against the Flyers. 
  • Lowetide: No. 7 prospect Winter 2018: Caleb Jones
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: How the Oilers Alex Chiasson is able to maintain his scoring touch. 
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: How Connor McDavid became the world’s fastest skater. 
  • Lowetide: Jesse Puljujarvi as an offensive player and what that tells us about his future with the Oilers. 
  • Lowetide: Oilers No. 6 Prospect winter 2018: Cooper Marody
  • Lowetide: Oilers No. 5 Prospect winter 2018: Ethan Bear.
  • Lowetide: Oilers No. 4 Prospect winter 2018: Ryan McLeod.
  • 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 35

  • Oilers in 2015: 15-18-2, 32 points; goal differential -15
  • Oilers in 2016: 18-12-5, 41 points; goal differential +6
  • Oilers in 2017: 16-17-2, 34 points; goal differential -7
  • Oilers in 2018: 18-14-3, 39 points; goal differential +1

The 2018 crew is now a hair behind the 2016 playoff McDavids, but easily in range. The complete record, if this is a true north on this year’s club, would be 42-33-7, 91 points. There is a heartbeat here, don’t lose hope. Also know, and please understand this, the Hitchcock Oilers feature youngsters (Puljujarvi, Khaira, Jones) who are pushing into prominent roles—it’s a major positive for this organization. 

OILERS IN DECEMBER

  • Oilers in December 2015: 6-3-1, 13 points; goal differential -4
  • Oilers in December 2016: 5-2-3, 13 points; goal differential +1
  • Oilers in December 2017: 7-3-0, 14 points; goal differential +10
  • Oilers in December 2018: 6-3-1, 13 points; goal differential +6

Funny, these long Decembers do give reason to believe, but the 2018 edition, with the Hitchcock verbal, has been settin’ the woods on fire leading up to Christmas. The team has stumbled in the last two games, Saturday may make it three. Is this the point in the season where the team loses touch with the playoffs? 

WHAT TO EXPECT IN DECEMBER

  • At home to: Vegas (Expected 0-1-0) Actual (1-0-0)
  • On the road to: Dallas, St. Louis (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 1-1-0)
  • At home to: Minnesota, Calgary (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 2-0-0)
  • On the road to: Colorado,Winnipeg(Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 1-0-1)
  • At home to: Philadelphia (Expected 1-0-0) (Actual 1-0-0)
  • 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 0-1-0)
  • Overall expected result: 7-6-1, 15 points in 14 games
  • Current results: 6-3-1, 13 points in nine games

With four games left in the month, this edition of the Oilers needs just two points to reach my expectations at the beginning of December. I like their chances of reaching the goal, but you’d like to see a couple of wins in the last stretch. Last night was probably Edmonton’s best chance. 

DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT

  • Nurse-Larsson went 13-14 in 14:07, 5-6 shots, no goals and 1-5 HDSC. Larsson wasn’t sharp with the puck on his stick but defended well 5-on-5 to my eye. Had a golden scoring chance on a McDavid pass that left him all alone in front. Nurse was physical but did not help on a power play that looked a little nervous and on a penalty-kill that allowed a fatal goal. Pairing went 8-7 in 7:58 against Schwartz-Schenn-Tarasenko, 1-3 HDSC. I think they played well. 
  • Gravel-Jones were 6-11 in 12:40, 2-5 shots, 1-1 goals and 0-3 HDSC. Perron’s shot was a good one, Jones didn’t defend it especially well. Gravel was a little like Larsson, good overall but too many giveaways. Went 5-6 in 2:01 against Maroon-Bozak-Thomas. 
  • Garrison-Benning went 9-11 in 6:46, 8-9 shots, 0-1 goals and 2-2 HDSC. Benning was chasing on the winning goal, Garrison got walked and it was a complete breakdown with everyone waiving their sticks but getting nothing done. Went 4-0 in 4:22 against Sundqvist-Barbashev-Nolan. 
  • Cam Talbot stopped 26 of 29, .897. He looked as he has under Hitchcock, capable but getting results that are not Koskinen-level. 
  • NaturalStatTrick and NHL.com.

FORWARDS, LAST NIGHT

  • Caggiula-Khaira-Puljujarvi went 4-6 in 5:33, 4-4 shots, 1-1 goals and 1-2 HDSC. The goal was terrific, Khaira with the hard work and the deft pass, Puljujarvi with that great shot we don’t see enough. It was an encouraging game for the duo, Caggiula looked quiet compared to the other two men on this line. Went 3-1 against Butler-Dunn. Khaira is going to get a fine and possibly some time off for that crosscheck that cost him a bunch of pims. Bad timing for him and the team, otherwise I don’t mind the big man sending notice he’s going to aggressively seek ice (he reacted to a crosscheck sent his way, but was also looking for access to the slot). JP didn’t handle the sequence on the winning goal well at all, but credit where due he was in a position to help (more than we can say for Garrison’s partner). 
  • Lucic-Brodziak-Kassian were 8-7 in 8:19, 3-4 shots, no goals and 0-2 HDSC. The line dropped Lucic for Khaira for a time and went 3-0 in 1:40. I thought Brodziak did some good checking and Kassian was his usual self 5-on-5, but Lucic faded. Based on his 5-on-5 icetime, looks like Hitchcock felt the same way. Khaira had one nice pass to Brodziak, otherwise quiet. 
  • Rieder-Nuge-Rattie went 8-11 in 9:43, 3-3 shots, 0-1 goals and 1-2 HDSC. It went as we suspected, Nuge looked far better with Khaira and Puljujarvi and this line (with Rieder and Rattie) was matzah balls. Hitchcock is trying to spread out the scoring, but getting a second line (Khaira-Nuge-Puljujarvi) who can score is spreading out the scoring. Line went 6-6 against Edmondson in 6:21, 3-6 against Parayko in just over five minutes. 
  • Chiasson-McDavid-Draisaitl went 9-12 in 11:48, 5-8 shots, no goals and 1-3 HDSC. They look tired to my eye, not sharp and especially on the power play. Went 6-10 against Edmondson, 9-10 against Parayko. Lots of promising passes but nothing rhymed for the line. McDavid rang the crossbar on a chance that looked like a dead end. He’s so incredible. 

THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT

Many years ago, Bill James wrote a chapter about the Minnesota Twins in one of his annual abstracts. Summary: It didn’t look too good when those young kids arrived and kicked the ball all over the yard, but just a few years later the organization won it all. The emergence of Frank Viola, Kent Hrbek, Gary Gaetti and Tom Brunansky in 1982 gave the club an enormous lift, later aided by the addition of Kirby Puckett (1984) and some astute trade additions.

This is the hope for the Edmonton Oilers, who have the greatest gift of this generation and require quality to surround him. This is the hope for Jesse Puljujarvi, Jujhar Khaira and Caleb Jones today. It is the hope for Kailer Yamamoto, Ethan Bear, Joel Persson and Tyler Benson tomorrow. 

Edmonton is in a playoff spot now, today. The Oilers would likely have spent Christmas in the playoffs with a win last night, now it’s probable Christmas morning finds them on the outside. 

Single losses aren’t fatal, even two in a row won’t keep Edmonton from being in a playoff race. However, long losing streaks are going to find one or two of these Pacific Division teams in the coming weeks, and the Oilers built the foundation for one on the weekend and last night. Shame on the moon. 

Even if this team misses the playoffs, there are things to be won. If Puljujarvi, Khaira and Jones emerge as legit producers in substantial roles, that’s a victory for this organization. The biggest Hitchcock contributions, perhaps even bigger than the 9-4-2 record (long term), may be the emergence of these young men and more behind them. Seriously. It’s an important part of team building, and Edmonton has been throwing away too many pieces that arrive from the minors over many years. That may end up being the grandest legacy of Hitchcock’s time in the organization: A re-set on the value placed of the team’s own prospects. It will be a massive contribution. 

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

At 10 this morning, TSN1260, we’re getting ready for Christmas and placing on eye on WJ’s and college football. Scheduled to appear:

  • Bruce McCurdy, Cult of Hockey. Bruce will help us make sense of last night’s loss (his postgame review is here) and we’ll chat about the next steps for this organization. 
  • Guy Flaming, The Pipeline Show. The WJ’s are coming up right away, we’ll talk about Canada and the other favourites, and some of the new flavor this Christmas. 
  • Jon Campbell, Oddshark. College bowl games are underway and man there are a lot of them, plus Oilers and NFL. 

10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. 90 minutes with a bullet! 

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154 Responses to "Shame on the Moon"

  1. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    Western Conference Playoff Standing using Points Percentage expressed as points over/under fake Bettman .500

    Central
    WPG 12
    NSH 11
    COL 8

    Pacific
    CGY 11
    SJS 8
    ANA 7

    Wildcard
    EDM 4
    VGK 4
    ————
    Out of Playoffs
    MIN 3
    DAL 3
    VAN -1
    STL -2
    ARI -3
    CHI -8
    LAK -8

    EDM had a chance to make up a point on CGY, ANA, and MIN with them all losing in regulation last night and keep up with SJS and DAL, but a poor effort, lack of puck moving Dmen, the incredibly awful PP and the NHL War Room had other ideas.

    Tonights games that matter to EDM: None

    Day off for EDM and its fans.

    Gregor confirmed yesterday that Viverios still isn’t running the PP.

    Hitch mentioned changes need to be made to the PP (sounds like pulling Nurse off of it)

    Gulutzan is running EDM’s static and inept PP and looks like CGY static and inept PP from last year.

    RELEASE THE GODDAMN VIVERIOS ON THE PP ALREADY HITCH!!!

  2. OriginalPouzar says:

    Ostap Safin has left Team Czech’s world junior camp due to injury.

    I assume its the same injury/injuries he’s been dealing with essentially all year and even prior to camp.

    He had an up arrow coming in to this season and the trade to Halifax (a powerhouse and Memorial Cup host) was set to be a big benefit but its essentially been a lost season so far.

    Hopefully he can get fully healthy for the second half of the season and the playoffs.

  3. jtblack says:

    “RELEASE THE GODDAMN VIVERIOS ON THE PP ALREADY HITCH!!!”

    +1
    +2
    +3

  4. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    After the VAN game Hitch said “Power plays don’t win you the game, your 5v5 does”

    After the STL game Hitch said “our Power play lost us the game in the 2nd”

    Haha!

    He is fallible after all.

    #PopeHitch

  5. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    Oiler Goal Share after 35 games (18-14-3)

    Even strength (5v5, 4v4, 3v3):
    McDavid On Ice 35-23 (60%)
    McDavid Off Ice 35-43 (45%)
    EV=+4

    Special Teams (PP+SH For-PK+SH Against):
    24-28
    ST=-4

    Empty Net: (all 5v6 & 5v6)
    4-11
    EN= -7

    SO
    1-0

    SO=+1

    Net Goal Differential -6

  6. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    HITCHCOCK ERA:
    Oiler Goal Share after 15 games (9-4-2)

    Even strength (5v5, 4v4, 3v3):
    McDavid On Ice 15-9 (63%)
    McDavid Off Ice 17-15 (53%)
    Net EV +8

    Special Teams (PP+SH For–PK+SH Against):
    7-9
    Net ST -2

    Empty Net:
    2-6
    Net EN -4

    SO
    1-0
    SO=+1

    Net Goal Differential +3

  7. v4ance says:

    During the 2000’s the Oilers teams were largely forgettable with too little talent but lots of try. We had the one miracle run in 2006 but for the most part we were devoid of high end talent and perennial bubble teams. The rationale for the 2010 rebuild was to tear it down to the rock bottom in hopes of getting those high end picks to grab enough elite talent to be able to build a team that could would contend for playoffs for a number of years and win a cup or three.

    For all their faults, Lowe and MacT drafted some high end pieces (Hall, Eberle, RNH, Klef, Nurse, Drai and McDavid) but failed at getting enough support players to achieve critical mass. This is where Chiarelli entered the picture. His job was to take the existing bubble team with elite talent and fill in the rest.

    To me, the agreement between the Oilers organization and the fans was that the team would deliberately suck for a number of years while we waited patiently for the process to deliver a fantastic team. Chiarelli took a team with the best player in the world on the cheapest contract and wasted most of the first three years of that talent. He’s recovered this year finding lots of complimentary players in the bargain bin, but that’s what he should have been doing all along instead of wasting the nearly $20 million of spare cap space that he was gifted as he entered the job.

    Look at where we are today. Aren’t we still just a bubble team just like those Doug Weight teams or Hemsky teams comprised of one great line and meh behind? If so, why did we go through all the suffering of being a bottom feeder if we end up right where we started? One line teams are easily shut down, just like last night and just like the game in Vancouver. Hitchcock can work miracles and grind out one goal victories but he needs more to work with.

    As of right now, we are looking at another minor rebuild looking to shed bad contracts sometime in the next two years before we can really improve the team. Honestly, we are close, needing mainly a 2RD and two top 6 forwards. BUT we literally have no cap room to acquire those pieces unless we start scavenging from the future via developing prospects or draft picks or hoping the GM pulls off a genius trade. From his past history, I have no faith this GM has any ability to flat out win a trade but instead, have an 70% confidence that he will lose any and every trade instead.

  8. npanciroli says:

    I’m not too concerned with the recent losses. Hitch has already been performing a minor miracle with this roster. Some practice time for the team and some rest for the top players should get them back on track.

  9. jtblack says:

    v4ance,

    Vance, you are prob correct, but remember this was not the PLAN.

    Lucic was not supposed to be a 4th liner. JP was supposed to be more Laine / Tkachuk than JP … If those 2 things are different; you have a damn fine Top 6 But it hasnt broke that way.

    Add in the Reinhart trade where 2 major assets were lost for nothing.

    Eberle’s 20 Goals vanished.

    Russell locked up long term, essentially locking up the offense for 15 mins a night.

    Some Major mistakes and some missteps. Wasn’t the plan

    This is us. :/

  10. Derek says:

    v4ance,

    My greatest fear for this team is that Koskinen saves Chiarellis job.

    Edit: Sorry for all the editing and deleting this morning LT. I can’t seem to figure my life out.

  11. Cape Breton Oilers 4EVR says:

    Defence is a big part of this last couple of games. Klefbom and Russell are important pieces that push Garrison and Benning/Jones out of the line-up. When they get back (and Reggie too) we’re going to have some actual depth and competition at the back-end. Right now it’s not fair to expect Garrison/Bear/Benning to give us that level of performance. But they can’t realistically trade for a short-term fix, because they don’t have the assets to move out and still address the wing at the deadline. All we can do is hope they keep their heads above water until those guys get back in the lineup.

  12. jtblack says:

    “HITCHCOCK ERA:
    Oiler Goal Share after 15 games (9-4-2)”

    Still deserves a Statue for this record.

    When McDavid isn’t flying around being superhuman, the roster looks SOOOOOOOOO Mediocre.

    9-4-2 with this roster? #HitchmasMiracle

  13. dessert1111 says:

    I’d prefer a 95-5 split for draft coverage while the team is still in it. I’ve had enough draft coverage to last a lifetime the past ten years.

    I thought the RNH had good moments last game and I wasn’t too upset about how the lines were rolled. If players are tired I’d rather run the three big guns down the middle and split up the ice time. In theory there is enough talent on the wings with everyone healthy…

  14. jtblack says:

    The biggest Hitchcock contributions, perhaps even bigger than the 9-4-2 record (long term), may be the emergence of these young men and more behind them. 

    —————–

    +1. As PC’s roster construction (destruction) becomes more clear with time, patience is the only way out. Can’t see Edm being a Top 5 or Top 10 team with Lucic & Russell on board. So until those contracts are bought out and replaced with cheap but effective contracts; I dont see EDM competing for Stanley.

    This could still take 2 or 3 yrs to build out And that’s if young players develop as projected; we add some home runs in 2019 / 2020 & PC doesn’t ship away Boatloads of talent in 1 or 2 new trades

  15. dustrock says:

    Can Peter Chiarelli help this team out? Will Peter Chiarelli help this team out?

    Would it be that hard to grab someone like Pat Maroon?

    I am guessing there is no help from the D with Klefbom and Russell out, so frankly the losses aren’t that surprising.

    We sure have a bunch of #6-7 d-men, but only 3(?) or 4(?) top 4 d-men when healthy.

    Can’t expect the Oilers to win many games having to play Gravel, Garrison, Jones and Benning for long minutes.

    Larsson really needs a partner like Klefbom to be as valuable as he can be, Nurse just isn’t in that mold.

    I see Larsson as a pretty great complimentary guy, it was fun watching him and OEL at the Worlds last year.

  16. OriginalPouzar says:

    Drai has been poor the last two games but he was on an unreal heater the previous 4-5 games and driving the line every bit as much as McDavid was (generally).

    Lets not forget the minutes that Drai has been playing over the last few weeks, leading the forwards in minutes and upwards of 25 minutes per game.

    Its kind of odd to at those minutes include big PK minutes and Hitchcock was express in a couple of his verbals that, if a forward is playing on the PK, he can’t play big minutes (even used 22 as a cap) because the PK are hard minutes. At the same time, he’s playing Drai huge minutes and huge PK minutes.

  17. Bulging Twine says:

    So many years of non playoff bottom feeder hockey, gotta relish the years where we are in a playoff race. I would agree 75 playoff/25 draft. I do love talking first round players though.
    Thanks for asking Lowetide. You’re the goods brother!

  18. jtblack says:

    One thing is clear. With TMac behind the bench, this team was getting crushed; often down by a couple goals after 1 period.

    Now the Losses are tight affairs.

    I am very interested to see how Hitch can get the Boyz to beat Tampa??

  19. Dustylegnd says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    Drai has been poor the last two games but he was on an unreal heater the previous 4-5 games and driving the line every bit as much as McDavid was (generally).

    Lets not forget the minutes that Drai has been playing over the last few weeks, leading the forwards in minutes and upwards of 25 minutes per game.

    Its kind of odd to at those minutes include big PK minutes and Hitchcock was express in a couple of his verbals that, if a forward is playing on the PK, he can’t play big minutes (even used 22 as a cap) because the PK are hard minutes. At the same time, he’s playing Drai huge minutes and huge PK minutes.

    Hitch has limited options, he is forced to borrow from Peter to pay Paul……not enough talent up front, and far too many deficiencies on D to make this easy

  20. jtblack says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    Drai has been poor the last two games but he was on an unreal heater the previous 4-5 games and driving the line every bit as much as McDavid was (generally).

    Lets not forget the minutes that Drai has been playing over the last few weeks, leading the forwards in minutes and upwards of 25 minutes per game.

    Its kind of odd to at those minutes include big PK minutes and Hitchcock was express in a couple of his verbals that, if a forward is playing on the PK, he can’t play big minutes (even used 22 as a cap) because the PK are hard minutes. At the same time, he’s playing Drai huge minutes and huge PK minutes.

    Credit where credit is due; when Drai plays poor he really sucks bigtime !

    Shouod be well rested for another 25 mins against tampa

  21. HenryDrix says:

    Definitely trade deadline and playoffs. Our team should be buyers and we should be in the playoffs.

    I don’t want to talk about draft until June.

  22. jtblack says:

    75% playoffs. 25% Draft. Then see how the season breaks as we approach March …. If we are in a playoff spot or close; then draft will have to take a bcakseat If we are 5 -10 points out, then draft coverage it is.

    Handful of excellent WHL kids projected for the 1st Round in this draft. And another good layer for rounds 2 – 4.

    Looking forward to your coverage

  23. jake70 says:

    jtblack:
    v4ance,

    Vance, you are prob correct, but remember this was not the PLAN.

    Lucic was not supposed to be a 4th liner.JP was supposed to be more Laine / Tkachuk than JP …If those 2 things are different; you have a damn fine Top 6But it hasnt broke that way.

    Add in the Reinhart trade where 2 major assets were lost for nothing.

    Eberle’s 20 Goals vanished.

    Russell locked up long term, essentially locking up the offense for 15 mins a night.

    Some Major mistakes and some missteps.Wasn’t the plan

    This is us. :/

    I’ll just throw in as well, at risk of sounding like broken record, the elimination of the long, back-diving cap sparing contracts to ++ impact players, resulting from the 2013 CBA.

  24. dustrock says:

    LT I agree with the 75/25 split for draft coverage.

    A large part of what originally attracted me to this blog was the in-depth draft and prospect coverage, and draft picks on ELCs are going to remain incredibly valuable even if this team finds success and starts picking later in the first round.

  25. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    75 percent playoffs and trade deadline, 25 percent draft. You? Please let me know.

    That’s about right.

  26. Clarkenstein says:

    Many, many passengers last night but in all fairness I think the team “hit the wall” that Hitch was expecting. These guys are exhausted but the unbalanced lineup also reared it’s ugly head last night.
    Fuck the draft. Let’s talk a deep playoff run.

  27. russ99 says:

    The last few games makes me wonder if Benning is sent out when the D is healthy. Jones has some way to go but is already a better defender.

    Chia and his damn 1994 birthday NCAA signings promising NHL time again… just once I’d like to see this org develop our top players properly instead of patting each other on the back about how much smarter they are than everyone else.

    I have zero interest in a Pyrric victory of prospects coming up and the draft. Just win, baby.

    There are moves to be made without carving up the core or the future.

    Benning, Rattie/Caggula/Spooner (cap reasons) and the Islanders third rounder, for example.

  28. jtblack says:

    I would buy Low on Charlie Coyle.

    EDIT:
    26 yrs old
    $3.2 mil thru nxt season
    Career highs have been 21 G. 56 Pts.
    He is big and can skate.

    Would like to know his 5×5 scoring and GFREL%, Etc.

  29. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    jtblack:
    “HITCHCOCK ERA:
    Oiler Goal Share after 15 games (9-4-2)”

    Still deserves a Statue for this record.

    When McDavid isn’t flying around being superhuman, the roster looks SOOOOOOOOOMediocre.

    9-4-2 with this roster? #HitchmasMiracle

    Hockey should be called Mostly Goalie

  30. Bulging Twine says:

    Has Jones already passed Benning on the depth chart? I’ll want to see how he is after the initial euphoria of being in the bigs wears off.

    Puljujarvi showing more confidence with the puck – starting to make some plays. **

    Players seem to have an exertion level red line where if they cross it too many times it burns the players out and there is a recovery period needed where the usual reserves which were once easily called upon are harder and harder to get to in a game. I remember we saw it with Nuge one year where he played a lot of minutes and then had a period of play where people were on him for his lackluster play. I think we saw that the last two games with Drai and lesser so McD. I believe that is partly to blame in Talbot’s case last year as residual effect from playing so many games the year before. He also had twins right?

    Don’t know why Khaira was on the 4th line. Didn’t like that decision. Hitchcock says it was to play center and I guess if he’s going to play center that’s where he’d have to be unless he takes Brodiziak’s spot.

    I really like Kassian’s skating. He’s skating free. Hustling always.

    Part of Chiarelli’s player personnel philosophy at Wing these last few years could be called, “waiting on Puljujarvi”.

  31. oildrop99 says:

    Seeing as we are competitive once every ten years I feel we should ignore the draft until
    We are eliminated from playoff contention. Just my 2 cents.

  32. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    Here are this season’s results with 39-97-29 and then X-97-29 with X not being Chiasson

    CF%
    45.2%
    56.0%

    GF%
    64.3%
    65.0%

    SCF%
    42.9% (!)
    56.4%

    HDCF%
    31.7% (!!)
    60.3%

    SH%
    12.9%
    11.7%

    SV%
    .951
    .916

    PDO
    1079
    1033

    What the above ratios show is that the presence of Chiasson is killing 97-29 and if it wasn’t for a SV% heater behind them the GF% would be in the shitter too

    42.9% share of the Scoring Chances?
    31.7% share of the High Danger Scoring Chances????????

    Its not like 97-29 are on a PDO heater without 39 either as 97 is a career ~1025 PDO

    From what I know about Hitch he uses zone time and scoring chances so he’s seeing this too.

    Problem is that I don’t know if he knows how much better 97-29 can be.

    Those results with Chiasson are a crime.

  33. Rafa Nadal says:

    I don’t want to sound whiny, but that’s two games in a row against bad teams where the top line and powerplay couldn’t get anything going and the HDSC ratio was very poor. I’m tired of hearing about how some bad team played sound defensive hockey, and “really used their sticks well.” Colorado’s top line had their first poor game in over 15 games a few nights ago against NYI (who are coached by a very good defensive coach in Trotz). We can’t be putting up stinkers against the bottom third of the league if we expect to make the playoffs.

  34. jtblack says:

    Woodguy v2.0: Hockey should be called Mostly Goalie

    Goalie matters for sure.

    As an ex Goalie, The D men and structure in front of you greatly matter.

    Whether it’s the Ricki Box or Tactic X; not giving up 5 Bell ringers makes a huge difference. Also not allowing thenopposong team to get to rebounds is huge too.

    Structure helps SV%. . Chris Pronger type D men help SV%.

  35. jtblack says:

    Woodguy v2.0,

    “From what I know about Hitch he uses zone time and scoring chances so he’s seeing this too.”

    Hope so. Chiasson goes on a heater and all of a sudden he is on the #1 line & #1 PP.

    Question is who goes up with 29-97? Cagguila is the same drag Lucic same drag?

    Eureka! We don’t have enough Top 6 wingers! Hitch is stuck

  36. godot10 says:

    jtblack: Credit where credit is due; when Drai plays poor he really sucks bigtime !

    Shouod be well rested for another 25 mins against tampa

    McDavid doesn’t pass Draisaitl the puck enough 5×5. He gets into 1 vs. 3 mode, and becomes mostly a passer. Connor is suppressing Drai’s passing ability 5×5. The other team doesn’t have to.

    Draisaitl needs his own line 5×5. Spot them together 5×5 late in games when behind, but otherwise, if it is me, I’m separately them 5×5.

    I’m not going to change my opinion just because #ThoroughlyMediocreCoach is gone.

  37. Woogie63 says:

    There are two spots in our schedule to get three lines going.

    Today until December 27th game

    And

    January 23-31 on the team’s break.

    I am watching for line changes to get three line producing 5v5 at today’s practice.

  38. McSorley33 says:

    Looch down to 6 mins of even strength time.

    It’s getting more and more obvious every game.

    As LT mentioned, when Looch was pulled off that line – good things happened.
    ( yes, small sample)

    Zykov in for Looch next game?

    Imagine a fan from another team tuning into the game and watching Jason Garrison and
    Milan Lucic play hockey.

    I agree with LT – its all about developing the kids for next year.

  39. McSorley33 says:

    Oilers PP is ranked 17th in the league….with McDavid and Draisaitl.

    That is a crime.

  40. OriginalPouzar says:

    Canada plays its first pre-tournament game tonight – its on TSN at 6 mountain if anybody is interested in watching Bouchard (assuming he plays).

  41. Bag of Pucks says:

    I’m not worried about this 2 game lull because i don’t see Hitch tinkering with the Nuge line or starting Talbot in a must win scenario. And we are missing 50% of our starting D rotation so it’s inevitable that some of those being elevated are going to feel the fatigue.

    A 3C driver continues to be the challenge with this club. Ironically the player is already on the roster (RNH) but until someone steps up and presents as a viable alternative to Leon at 1RW, this is who we are.

    Fortunately Hitchcock and Chiarelli both know this which is why the JP project continues to dominate the off ice conversations I’m sure.

  42. Bag of Pucks says:

    Are we at David Clarkson levels now with this Lucic ROI? It certainly smells like it.

  43. godot10 says:

    The Spooner-Strome trade limited options in forward deployment.

    It took away the option of Khaira, Strome, Puljujarvi, which I think would have been a good alternate 3rd line to Lucic, Brodziak Kassian.

    Nugent-Hopkins, McDavid, (experiment)
    Rieder, Draisaitl, Chiasson
    (experiment), Khaira, Puljujarvi
    Lucic, Brodziak, Kassian

    Make it happen Hitch.

    Need Russell back so Garrison can be sent to the pressbox. Russell is almost always not a solution to anything, but he is a solution for the Garrison problem.

  44. LadiesloveSmid says:

    Sign Berglund on the cheap?

    Can Lucic please mutually agree to terminate his contract too

  45. fishman says:

    Morning musings after another crappy loss.

    1. Do we win with Koski in net last night? Talbot wasn’t awful but seems to let in that extra goal that sewers our low scoring team. Obviously Koski can’t play 82 (and really has no NHL track record) but he has been a positive difference in a lot of our recent wins.

    2. By my eye Jones already looks to be better than Benning ( and yes I get small sample size) Third pair of Gravel-Jones could be effective. Even when D is healthy we still need Russel to play 2RD which is less than ideal. Would love to see Nurse play with a stronger 2RD. Maybe that unlocks his game? Certainly has all the physical tools but decision making is weak. Ideally he is NOT getting first pair minutes.

    3. I hate the thought of draft talk. Yes it APPEARS as if drafting the past 3 years or so has been better but we still have no on ice proof of that. At this time we have no rookies in the lineup that have shown they were draft days steals. We could have had the rat from Calgary. We could have has Debrincat. None of Jesse, Yamamoto, Benson etc have demonstrated they will be top line players. Will Bouchard be that mythical RD we have been yearning for? McCleod? Hopefully!

    Hoping some rest reboots team and they come out strong against the Bolts on Sat.

    Go Oil!

  46. OmJo says:

    Bulging Twine: Sekera has said that he likes playing with Russell. He said, “it makes it easy” or something like that.

    Sekera is a masochist confirmed.

  47. dustrock says:

    If anyone isn’t yet aware, Buffalo is terminating the contract of Patrik Berglund and putting him on unconditiional waivers for the purpose of buyout.

    That’s interesting. I wonder why?

    Did Hitchcock like Berglund in St. Louis or not?

    Edit: It is mutual termination, so Berglund is walking away from millions? This is bizarre.

  48. Ryan says:

    Yesterday Rishaug was discussing the unlikely possibility of a Parayko acquisition by the Oilers. He mentioned that Armstrong would want Nurse and that would be a non-starter. Why?

  49. Bulging Twine says:

    dustrock:
    If anyone isn’t yet aware, Buffalo is terminating the contract of Patrik Berglund and putting him on unconditiional waivers for the purpose of buyout.

    That’s interesting.I wonder why?

    Did Hitchcock like Berglund in St. Louis or not?

    Man! they just freed up 4 years @ $3.85 on a 30 year old player!

  50. OmJo says:

    LadiesloveSmid: Can Lucic please mutually agree to terminate his contract too

    How does this work? Is it a viable option?

    Chiarelli won’t be the one to ask him to do that though, it will be the new GM come this summer.

  51. Bulging Twine says:

    Khaira moves to 2.03 points/60 5×5 on the year and that ain’t no small sample size.
    He’s third on the team ahead of Chiasson and RNH

  52. barry.moore23 says:

    LT you are the goods. Love the baseball references. I.grew up listening to Cardinal games on radio. More Tommy Herr and Willie McGee, please !! Go Oilers.

  53. HugThePost says:

    Ryan:
    Yesterday Rishaug was discussing the unlikely possibility of a Parayko acquisition by the Oilers. He mentioned that Armstrong would want Nurse and that would be a non-starter. Why?

    Because the Oilers have forever placed high value in guys willing to pound faces. Sometimes it blinds them in their evaluation of a guy’s hockeying skills

  54. Shane says:

    I think two losses was to be expected with the injuries and roster deficiencies. No draft talk yet please, not while we still have a chance…

    Team needs some rest then back to hanging on for dear life until our 3 top 4 D return.

  55. flea says:

    dustrock,

    I’m gonna speculate this is addiction issues or mental health issues. They said he was sick but that it turned into “something different.”

    His career in the NHL is likely done.

    https://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/sabres-forward-patrik-berglund-suspended-indefinitely/

  56. Side says:

    One of the problems the Oilers have is they have too many tough guys who play with intensity. They need more victim players or agitators or dirty players. A Tkachuk or some players who dive for calls.

    The league doesn’t seem to like the brand of toughness JJ, Lucic or Kassian bring.

    They seem to prefer a Perry/Getzlaf/Tkachuk brand of dirty/agitator player.

    Now, I know Kassian can be a dirty/agitator player, but he isn’t very subtle about it which seems to be a problem for the officials.

    I kinda wish I was kidding here.

  57. JimmyV1965 says:

    Ryan:
    Yesterday Rishaug was discussing the unlikely possibility of a Parayko acquisition by the Oilers. He mentioned that Armstrong would want Nurse and that would be a non-starter. Why?

    I think a move like this is basically shuffling deck chairs. Yes, we are probably better off because Parayko is a RD, but the players are very comparable IMO. I also think the Blues are probably looking to add dmen. I hate to say it, but if we want to improve the roster today, we need to trade picks and prospects.

  58. Wilde says:

    Woodguy v2.0,

    Yeah I posted these some time before last nights game, they were bad then too.

    It matches my eyes as well. Particularly at one juncture, in the StL game, where 97 and 29 were below the goal line and had won the puck, and 39 was literally in between both D at the centre-point.

    Not in a shooting position, not in a support position, wasn’t just coming off the bench, he was just there. I think he was attempting to cover for a pinching D but that wasn’t happening and was probably communicated as such. My 97/29-watching brain was expecting a ridiculous backhand saucer onto the tape of someone in the low-slot and it short-circuited when several moments passed with nothing.

    If you’re gonna play with McDavid, and your primary contribution is being a one-time target, you have to be in a shooting position a lot more than 39 is.

    He’s not very helpful in transition or off the rush on the line either, so you’re sacrificing something for nothing.

    There’s also the part where you’re basically taking the only guy that was scoring goals away from 97 and putting him… with 97.

  59. oil-in-the-blood says:

    Great thoughts here all (LT). This team is tired, well the mains definitely are, fatigue and undermanned go hand in hand. It extends to the the whole game, special teams, sloppy plays, more penalties etc. We need our men back! I am appreciative of the effort that is still happening, thankful for the mini rest. Fresh view on the PP is welcome as this board is saying.

    Woodguy v2.0:
    Western Conference Playoff Standing using Points Percentage expressed as points over/under fake Bettman .500

    Central
    WPG 12
    NSH 11
    COL 8

    Pacific
    CGY 11
    SJS 8
    ANA 7

    Wildcard
    EDM 4
    VGK 4
    ————
    Out of Playoffs
    MIN 3
    DAL 3
    VAN -1
    STL -2
    ARI -3
    CHI -8
    LAK -8

    EDM had a chance to make up a point onCGY, ANA, and MIN with them all losing in regulation last night and keep up with SJS and DAL, but a poor effort, lack of puck moving Dmen, the incredibly awful PP and the NHL War Room had other ideas.

    Tonights games that matter to EDM: None

    Day off for EDM and its fans.

    Gregor confirmed yesterday that Viverios still isn’t running the PP.

    Hitch mentioned changes need to be made to the PP (sounds like pulling Nurse off of it)

    Gulutzan is running EDM’s static and inept PP and looks like CGY static and inept PP from last year.

    RELEASE THE GODDAMN VIVERIOS ON THE PP ALREADY HITCH!!!

  60. CrazyCoach says:

    npanciroli: I’m not too concerned with the recent losses. Hitch has already been performing a minor miracle with this roster. Some practice time for the team and some rest for the top players should get them back on track.

    +1 on this.

    Hitch is getting out the haywire, duct tape, and WD40 to get this heap across the finish line.

    For a supposed old ancient dinosaur, I like his style, but then again I’m biased as I’ve been a Hitchcock fan since his days in Kamloops.

    If only Hitch could be like Mr Miyagi and perform medical miracles and heal injuries, I’d say he’d be the best coach ever.

  61. OmJo says:

    Bulging Twine:
    Khaira moves to 2.03 points/60 5×5 on the year and that ain’t no small sample size.
    He’s third on the team ahead of Chiasson and RNH

    He just might be the most underrated player on the team by fans.

  62. OmJo says:

    Dunn fined $1942.20 (I make that in over a month) for his crosscheck on Khaira.

    Khaira has a hearing today for his crosscheck.

    I still say Dunn embellushed.

  63. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    godot10: McDavid doesn’t pass Draisaitl the puck enough 5×5. He gets into 1 vs. 3 mode, and becomes mostly a passer. Connor is suppressing Drai’s passing ability 5×5.The other team doesn’t have to.

    Draisaitl needs his own line 5×5. Spot them together 5×5 late in games when behind, but otherwise, if it is me, I’m separately them 5×5.

    I’m not going to change my opinion just because #ThoroughlyMediocreCoach is gone.

    Last night I saw 97 shake his check and have wide open lanes to the shooting areas.

    29 and 39 were no where near the shooting areas.

    39 is usually good for that but 29 wasn’t even “also in picture”

  64. CrazyCoach says:

    jtblack: Goalie matters for sure.

    As an ex Goalie, The D men and structure in front of you greatly matter.

    Whether it’s the Ricki Box or Tactic X; not giving up 5 Bell ringers makes a huge difference. Also not allowing thenopposong team to get to rebounds is huge too.

    Structure helps SV%. . Chris Pronger type D men help SV%.

    Just stop the godamn puck! Just kidding. D-men do help that save % and the tactic you play in your own end.

    On another note Woodguy, I hear a lot of talk about Maroon, and are his numbers declining or improving? If they are improving, what is he worth in your opinion?

  65. CrazyCoach says:

    flea: I’m gonna speculate this is addiction issues or mental health issues. They said he was sick but that it turned into “something different.”

    His career in the NHL is likely done.

    That’s sad to hear. Hopefully he finds his way to a healthy life if that is the case. Whenever I hear stories like that, it brings up the story of Derek Boogaard. The Boogie Man died way too young and essentially fell through the cracks of a system that wasn’t set up to deal with players like him. Players who have to be macho in their roles and have a hard time asking for help. That’s human nature, but in my opinion, it gets amplified for pro athletes.

  66. CrazyCoach says:

    OmJo: I still say Dunn embellushed.

    Greg Louganis couldn’t have done a better job in my opinion.

  67. Caller Zen says:

    dessert1111:
    I’d prefer a 95-5 split for draft coverage while the team is still in it. I’ve had enough draft coverage to last a lifetime the past ten years.

    +1 …..maybe 90-10 split if after game 43 on January 8th against the SJS, the Oilers look like they are losing their invite to the dance.

  68. texmex says:

    CrazyCoach,

    There’s more to the story here. On Hockey Night in Canada’s ‘Saturday Headlines’ segment, Friedman, stated that Berglund had a full no-trade clause that expired on June 30th and it switched to a modified no-trade clause. Berglund apparently did not get his updated list into the Blues in time and the trade was able to go through.

    I assume Buffalo was on his list and he was pissed he was traded there. Though that should not be a reason to walk away from $12,579,032 espcially considering where STL and Buffalo are in the standings.

  69. GMB3 says:

    Wilde:
    Woodguy v2.0,

    Yeah I posted these some time before last nights game, they were bad then too.

    It matches my eyes as well. Particularly at one juncture, in the StL game, where 97 and 29 were below the goal line and had won the puck, and 39 was literally in between both D at the centre-point.

    Not in a shooting position, not in a support position, wasn’t just coming off the bench, he was just there. I think he was attempting to cover for a pinching D but that wasn’t happening and was probably communicated as such. My 97/29-watching brain was expecting a ridiculous backhand saucer onto the tape of someone in the low-slot and it short-circuited when several moments passed with nothing.

    If you’re gonna play with McDavid, and your primary contribution is being a one-time target, you have to be in a shooting position a lot more than 39 is.

    He’s not very helpful in transition or off the rush on the line either, so you’re sacrificing something for nothing.

    There’s also the part where you’re basically taking the only guy that was scoring goals away from 97 and putting him… with 97.

    If a guy only has 50 or so shots on the season at this point and is playing on the top line, he’s not getting into good shooting positions often at all.

    He creates no space for either of them either.

  70. GMB3 says:

    Bulging Twine:
    Khaira moves to 2.03 points/60 5×5 on the year and that ain’t no small sample size.
    He’s third on the team ahead of Chiasson and RNH

    I’d be wary of the on ice shooting percentage with Khaira at this point, I think regression is coming.

    Despite that he’s clearly taken a step forward under Hitchcock and is a load in the offensive zone with the puck on his stick.

  71. YKOil says:

    JimmyV1965: I think a move like this is basically shuffling deck chairs. Yes, we are probably better off because Parayko is a RD, but the players are very comparable IMO. I also think the Blues are probably looking to add dmen. I hate to say it, but if we want to improve the roster today, we need to trade picks and prospects.

    I believe Parayko to be an upgrade on Nurse (better PP performer and RH vs LH) but otherwise I agree – a bit of a deck-chair shuffle. Neither player has advanced, for the NHL, puck moving skills and neither is a top-notch passer.

    What our defense really needs is a B+ level puck-mover/ B+ level passer who has, at least, a B(- or +) shot that they aren’t afraid to use. Sekera and Klefbom are both workable but we don’t have anyone like that and you can see it, clear as day, on the powerplay.

    FTR, I think Bouchard will be a C+ or B- level puckmover / A(+) level passer / B(+) level shot (the shot grade is mainly on decision metrics, the guy is impressive in his decision making) and that will help; still hope he spends a year in the AHL. Any, ANY skating/edge work Bouchard can put in will really help; even an extra half-step on acceleration/agility will help (allow him that extra half-second he will need to deal with the speedier checkers).

  72. Oilman99 says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    Drai has been poor the last two games but he was on an unreal heater the previous 4-5 games and driving the line every bit as much as McDavid was (generally).

    Lets not forget the minutes that Drai has been playing over the last few weeks, leading the forwards in minutes and upwards of 25 minutes per game.

    Its kind of odd to at those minutes include big PK minutes and Hitchcock was express in a couple of his verbals that, if a forward is playing on the PK, he can’t play big minutes (even used 22 as a cap) because the PK are hard minutes. At the same time, he’s playing Drai huge minutes and huge PK minutes.

    I would suggest Drai’s conditioning has to be questioned. Don’t know about his off season regimen, but I think they need to get him on the right track to be more consistent.

  73. CrazyCoach says:

    texmex: There’s more to the story here. On Hockey Night in Canada’s ‘Saturday Headlines’ segment, Friedman, stated that Berglund had a full no-trade clause that expired on June 30th and it switched to a modified no-trade clause. Berglund apparently did not get his updated list into the Blues in time and the trade was able to go through.

    I assume Buffalo was on his list and he was pissed he was traded there. Though that should not be a reason to walk away from $12,579,032 espcially considering where STL and Buffalo are in the standings.

    Well that adds a little clarification to what is going on.

    I can certainly understand the animosity towards the current employer, especially if that was not a place he wanted to end up. However, that is on him and his agent, because I’m sure Buffalo wouldn’t have traded for him knowing they were on his no-trade list. As my dad would say, “It’s like buying a three-legged horse!” Hard to empathize with a guy who would/could walk away from a large payout, but if he’s not getting a fair shake, I can understand that.

  74. oil-in-the-blood says:

    I would trade Nurse one for one for Parayko anyday, lol not sure the blues would. The problem is that we need Nurse on the back end so we would be trading a 1 for 1 sure but not adding to what we need.

    HugThePost: Because the Oilers have forever placed high value in guys willing to pound faces.Sometimes it blinds them in their evaluation of a guy’s hockeying skills

  75. Oilman99 says:

    GMB3: I’d be wary of the on ice shooting percentage with Khaira at this point, I think regression is coming.

    Despite that he’s clearly taken a step forward under Hitchcock and is a load in the offensive zone with the puck on his stick.

    It looks like the more ice time he gets , the better he plays. His best is yet to come, the goals will start to come,and he will be a true power forward because the guy puts in the work to continue to get better.

  76. Oilman99 says:

    oil-in-the-blood:
    I would trade Nurse one for one for Parayko anyday, lol not sure the blues would. The problem is that we need Nurse on the back end so we would be trading a 1 for 1 sure but not adding to what we need.

    Only PC would trade Parayko one for one for Nurse, they are no where near being on the same level.

  77. Side says:

    Oilman99: I would suggest Drai’s conditioning has to be questioned. Don’t know about his off season regimen, but I think they need to get him on the right track to be more consistent.

    “Drai, we need you to condition yourself better in the offseason because you’re lookin a little slow and lazy out there, and we won’t be adding more talent to the team to give you a break in ice time. You will be expected to play over 25 minutes a night from now on to make up for our inability to bring in or keep talented players”

    Is that how you envision the conversation going?

  78. GMB3 says:

    Oilman99: Only PC would trade Parayko one for one for Nurse, they are no where near being on the same level.

    Are you saying Nurse is worth more than Parayko?

  79. HugThePost says:

    oil-in-the-blood:
    I would trade Nurse one for one for Parayko anyday, lol not sure the blues would. The problem is that we need Nurse on the back end so we would be trading a 1 for 1 sure but not adding to what we need.

    We need Nurse right now especially with Klef out. But…….when everyone on D gets back, and if Caleb continues to show he’s the goods, I think they will need to make some moves on the back end.

    I don’t think Nurse is ever going to be worth what he and his agent will want for his next contract, so I think Nurse would be a trade candidate, especially if Jones can duplicate (or exceed) his skills, minus the face punching.

  80. Scungilli Slushy says:

    McSorley33:
    Oilers PP is ranked 17th in the league….with McDavid and Draisaitl.

    That is a crime.

    Don’t forget Nuge. They should have 2 deadly PPs IMO. They just need D that can move the puck to the right spot. Reg can, there’s got to be one more, let VV have a rip at it.

  81. OmJo says:

    Scungilli Slushy: Don’t forget Nuge. They should have 2 deadly PPs IMO. They just need D that can move the puck to the right spot. Reg can, there’s got to be one more, let VV have a rip at it.

    VandeVelde?

  82. Scungilli Slushy says:

    OmJo: VandeVelde?

    Couldn’t be worse😀

    No the PP whisperer they hired to make the coffee apparently.

  83. Scungilli Slushy says:

    VVs PP was described as controlled chaos, sounds perfect for McD, it’s what he tries to do without players who can get in good spots or continue the play well enough.

    There is also the obvious structure of passing to the point, without a D there that is good at distribution or moving and timing to get more helpful shots through. They are obvious and that makes it easy to defend. They need more art in opening cross seam plays to get the goalie moving.

  84. digger50 says:

    Derek:
    v4ance,

    My greatest fear for this team is that Koskinen saves Chiarellis job.

    Edit: Sorry for all the editing and deleting this morning LT.I can’t seem to figure my life out.

    Bob stating that Peter is safe if the team makes the playoffs was woefully wrong.

    Confusing individual performance with group performance.

    I would as I Bob “ if the team makes the playoffs then, will you resign Garrison?”

    Same logic Bob.

  85. OmJo says:

    Scungilli Slushy: Couldn’t be worse

    No the PP whisperer they hired to make the coffee apparently.

    Viveros hasn’t done anything to have earned control of the PP.

    Nice to see we manage assistant coaches like we do top prospects.

  86. Scungilli Slushy says:

    OmJo: Viveros hasn’t done anything to have earned control of the PP.

    Nice to see we manage assistant coaches like we do top prospects.

    Maybe he should fight Luc.

    Maybe the zebras won’t give Oiler PPs because they don’t want to have to watch one.

  87. geowal says:

    Caller Zen: +1…..maybe 90-10 split if after game 43 on January 8th against the SJS, the Oilers look like they are losing their invite to the dance.

    Agreed. A post every other week to start introducing the draft eligible names.

  88. jtblack says:

    OmJo: Viveros hasn’t done anything to have earned control of the PP.

    Nice to see we manage assistant coaches like we do top prospects.

    What does he have to do to “Earn” control of the PP?

    So when guys like Matthews, Laine, McDavid and Tkachuk come in as rookies and dominate, you must be upset that they haven’t earned their icetime?

    sounds old school to me …..

  89. geowal says:

    jtblack: What does he have to do to “Earn” control of the PP?

    So when guys like Matthews, Laine, McDavid and Tkachuk come in as rookies and dominate, you must be upset that they haven’t earned their icetime?

    sounds old school to me …..

    I think your sarcasm metre is broken.

  90. OriginalPouzar says:

    Woodguy v2.0:

    Gregor confirmed yesterday that Viverios still isn’t running the PP.

    I just don’t get it – isn’t that what he was brought in for? That is where he can add value, presumably.

    Many seemed to blame McLellan and “stubbornness” for Manny V. not being given the reigns but it is looking like there might be more too it than that…..

  91. OriginalPouzar says:

    Woodguy v2.0:
    Here are this season’s results with 39-97-29 and then X-97-29 with X not being Chiasson

    What the above ratios show is that the presence of Chiasson is killing 97-29 and if it wasn’t for a SV% heater behind them the GF% would be in the shitter too

    I’ve been mentioning this repeatedly for weeks. Chiasson is not good on that top line, in particular with McDavid.

    Lets not forget though, Chiasson has solid possession numbers and an 80% goal share with Drai and without McDavid – that’s the play.

    X/McDavid/Puljujarvi
    Rieder/Drai/Chiasson

    X could be Spooner or Zykov perhaps – at least lets give those guys a chance in the top before they are written off, they are “offensive players”.

  92. OriginalPouzar says:

    dustrock:
    If anyone isn’t yet aware, Buffalo is terminating the contract of Patrik Berglund and putting him on unconditiional waivers for the purpose of buyout.

    That’s interesting.I wonder why?

    Did Hitchcock like Berglund in St. Louis or not?

    Edit: It is mutual termination, so Berglund is walking away from millions?This is bizarre.

    He is and he isn’t agreeing to walk away as his agreement isn’t required to sign-off on the termination.

    Unconditional waivers for termination is almost always the result of breach of contract as it is in this case for Berglund’s failure to report.

    The club would have sent a letter requiring Berglund to report by a date certain and, as he didn’t, the team can terminate for breach of contract (after he clears).

    After clearance and termination, Berglund will be able to challenge the original violation.

    Source: Capfriendly.

  93. gregsaint says:

    OriginalPouzar,

    Waiting for a chance to actually practice? Perhaps its less than ideal to switch over to a new power play plan without being able to practice it.

  94. DasBavaria says:

    gregsaint,

    I never thought of that. That might actually be it, no?

    I think they get practices in on Thursday and Friday. I heard somewhere (not entirely sure if true) that these are the first two consecutive practice days since Hitch came on. Is that true?

  95. OriginalPouzar says:

    GMB3: I’d be wary of the on ice shooting percentage with Khaira at this point, I think regression is coming.

    Despite that he’s clearly taken a step forward under Hitchcock and is a load in the offensive zone with the puck on his stick.

    You are likely right but note the goals being scored by his line recently have been a result of exactly what Hitch has said he wants. Possession time as opposed to shots – possession time, leading to “straight legs”, high danger chances and goals.

    That line has not been shooting because they have been cycle and possession beasts on the boards and have been getting goals off of zone and cycle time.

    Less shots but lots of puck time leading to higher danger chances.

  96. OriginalPouzar says:

    Oilman99: I would suggest Drai’s conditioning has to be questioned. Don’t know about his off season regimen, but I think they need to get him on the right track to be more consistent.

    According to the coach, basically no forward can handle what Drai is being asked to – greater than 22 min including material PK time. Drai is upwards of 25 min including PK.

    If Hitch is to be believed then it’s not conditioning but being asked to perform at an elite level with his responbilitoes is extremely rare.

  97. Woogie63 says:

    Hitch is a better coach when Koskinen pitches a shut out 😀

  98. OriginalPouzar says:

    Andrej Sekera at anywhere close to full effectiveness is a high end 2nd pairing dman and, if we get that player, having Klef and Larsson on the left side is great for the top 4 and would lead to the ability to trade Nurse for a guy like Parayko who is 100% more valuable than Nurse.

    Of course age, etc. Is a factor given Reggie is 32 but, if healthy, he will have a couple solid years left allowing for prospect development to fill 2LD (Jones, Samorukov).

  99. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    Khaira 2 game suspension.

  100. drglen says:

    Nothing to add really. I just hate it when this team loses to uninteresting mediocre teams… LT says ‘this is us’… ya, that’s what it feels like.. that old oilers spirit from years past, who seemed to get up and play well against top teams, but show this odd arrogance, no work ethic or at least not a demanding, desperation work ethic, against same to lower teams.

    But, perhaps what feels like low effort is just a realistic view of the talent level when certain pieces are missing and the stars are not shining.

  101. Buckys move says:

    Even with injuries to Sekera, Russell and Klef, the Oilers still have more options on the left side than the right. If Nurse could be traded for his right handed twin you do that in a heartbeat. It’s up to the smarter people to decide if Nurse and Parayko were separated at birth.

  102. drglen says:

    Woodguy v2.0,

    I have two thoughts… First, he probably deserved that suspension for a cross check to the head. 2nd, that guy probably won’t be cross checking him to the head again.

  103. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    CrazyCoach: Just stop the godamn puck!Just kidding.D-men do help that save % and the tactic you play in your own end.

    On another note Woodguy,I hear a lot of talk about Maroon, and are his numbers declining or improving?If they are improving, what is he worth in your opinion?

    Played well in NJD last year but having a miserable year in STL.

    I take him above every LW on the team except Khaira who played C yesterday.

    Chiasson is a RW playing LW so I didn’t include him but I like Maroon more than him too.

    Maroon was one of very few (4 I think) Oilers who has >50% GF away from 97 last year

  104. pts2pndr says:

    Scungilli Slushy: Maybe he should fight Luc.

    Maybe the zebras won’t give Oiler PPs because they don’t want to have to watch one.

    Thats just mean! Funny but mean.😂

  105. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    drglen:
    Woodguy v2.0,

    I have two thoughts… First, he probably deserved that suspension for a cross check to the head. 2nd, that guy probably won’t be cross checking him to the head again.

    I think 1 game would have sufficed given his lack of history and Dunn doing the same to him seconds before.

    That said, it was pretty vicious so he has to own it.

    Also,

    Not just Dunn, but most players won’t cheap him like that, players watch Sports Center and not one wants their spinal cord hammered.

    Also,

    I was once cross checked on the back of the neck and dropped like a bag of cement and almost shit my pants.

    Total loss of control of my body for half a second.

    It was like a zap of electricity and felt really weird.

    Didn’t really hurt at the time, but neck was sore for days.

  106. OmJo says:

    jtblack,

    Was saying that tongue in cheek. The earn it nonsense (because it’s a gross double standard) within this organization frustrates me, too.

  107. OriginalPouzar says:

    Woodguy v2.0:
    Khaira 2 game suspension.

    Not surprising and non un-deserved.

    The way JJ, and the rest of the forwards, is/are playing, this could be a material loss.

    I want to see Zykov and in the top 6 (Spooner too but Zykov for sure).

  108. Lowetide says:

    Woodguy v2.0:
    I was once cross checked on the back of the neck and dropped like a bag of cement and almost shit my pants.

    This came during the fall ’round table’ with McCurdy, Hupka and Woodguy at TSN1260’s studio. I honestly didn’t know McCurdy could move that fast!

  109. jtblack says:

    OmJo:
    jtblack,

    Was saying that tongue in cheek. The earn it nonsense (because it’s a gross double standard) within this organization frustrates me, too.

    AHHAHAHH. I realized that after ….

    cheers,

  110. jtblack says:

    Woodguy v2.0,

    “I was once cross checked on the back of the neck and dropped like a bag of cement and almost shit my pants.”

    LMFAO ….

  111. Bulging Twine says:

    Confirmed: Ben Betker (D) From: Kalamazoo Wings To: HC Detva

  112. jtblack says:

    Woodguys’s story made me laugh … so I will throw one out there, as I am bored at work 🙂

    I was playing goal in rec hockey … The other team had one D man who could shoot it pretty good, so I kept an eye on him ….

    About half way through the game, they have possession in our end … puck moves around and goes back to the point, to the guy who could shoot it ….

    I was screened so I leaned to my right to look around the screen and try and pick up the shot. I couldn’t see the puck. All of a sudden. WHACK! Direct shot to the congos ….

    I feel over in slow motion – think leaning tower just slowly leaning, leaning, leaning & Down!

    Unlike Woodguy, I wasn’t about to shit myself; rather my N*ts had gone up into my stomach … I couldn’t move, was in shock and had enormous pain and discomfort ..

    My teammates were holding my legs up and out for about 30 seconds. Thankfully, at about that my time, my parts went back in their normal spot.

    I actually felt OK after everything got back in order. Finished the game. Don’t remember whether we won or lost, but will never forget the shot !!!!! Played goal for 15 years and that was the only time that happened!

  113. Professor Q says:

    jtblack,

    That’s nuts, man.

  114. Gerta Rauss says:

    Lowetide: This came during the fall ’round table’ with McCurdy, Hupka and Woodguy at TSN1260’s studio. I honestly didn’t know McCurdy could move that fast!

    lol

  115. Ribs says:

    Lowetide: This came during the fall ’round table’ with McCurdy, Hupka and Woodguy at TSN1260’s studio. I honestly didn’t know McCurdy could move that fast!

    Waiting for “…And he DID shit his pants!” lol

  116. Scungilli Slushy says:

    OriginalPouzar: According to the coach, basically no forward can handle what Drai is being asked to – greater than 22 min including material PK time.Drai is upwards of 25 min including PK.

    If Hitch is to be believed then it’s not conditioning but being asked to perform at an elite level with his responbilitoes is extremely rare.

    I’m sure Drai is as fit as a fiddle. However he’s also 20 lbs heavier than McD and an awkward skater. Hitch mentioned Connor’s effortless skating and Drai’s is the opposite of that, those minutes are a lot more physical work for him than players that don’t work as hard to get around.

    Part is nature and part is training, for example for being such a beast Parayko moves pretty well, a much smaller player as Larsson or Benning don’t seem as agile.

  117. Scungilli Slushy says:

    OriginalPouzar: You are likely right but note the goals being scored by his line recently have been a result of exactly what Hitch has said he wants.Possession time as opposed to shots – possession time, leading to “straight legs”, high danger chances and goals.

    That line has not been shooting because they have been cycle and possession beasts on the boards and have been getting goals off of zone and cycle time.

    Less shots but lots of puck time leading to higher danger chances.

    Hitch mentioned having some offensive tactics he wanted to implement but no practices. Cycling is good but there needs to be a goal in mind, a plan of attack or the cycle can easily go nowhere. The Oilers have not been good at attacking from the cycle in decades.

    I’d love to see that implemented and a new PP coach getting some time to get going, I don’t think it would take as long to implement that type of change as changing the 5v5 system in a big way.

  118. OriginalPouzar says:

    Canada/Swiss on TSN starting.

  119. OriginalPouzar says:

    Buckys move:
    Even with injuries to Sekera, Russell and Klef, the Oilers still have more options on the left side than the right. If Nurse could be traded for his right handed twin you do that in a heartbeat. It’s up to the smarter people to decide if Nurse and Parayko were separated at birth.

    Options, yes, not top 4 options (unless Reggie is 85% plus – which I do expect him to do).

    On that note, if we want to talk in simple “options” as oppossed to “top 4 options”, starting next year, I say it flips as each of Bouchard, Bear, Persson, Berglund have legit shots at NHL jobs – none should be above the 3rd pairing (subject to them truly earning it) but they all have shots to be NHL-ready.

  120. Glovjuice says:

    rang the crossbar on a chance that looked like a dead end.

    BRILLIANT PHRASE

  121. OriginalPouzar says:

    Scungilli Slushy: I’m sure Drai is as fit as a fiddle. However he’s also 20 lbs heavier than McD and an awkward skater. Hitch mentioned Connor’s effortless skating and Drai’s is the opposite of that, those minutes are a lot more physical work for him than players that don’t work as hard to get around.

    For sure and Hitch was express as it relates to McDavid that he can play 25 minutes if he’s not penalty killing (and that Nuge can’t b/c of the PK).

    Drai, being a bigger/heavier guy who expends more energy and doesn’t have McDavid’s recovery rates, is being asked to play those minutes and PK. The coach is asking Drai to do something that he was clear isn’t do-able (obviously there will be exceptions).

    This isn’t a criticism of the coach, his options are limited as we know. This is a defence of Leon when he gets criticized for a few down games and his conditioning questioned.

  122. OriginalPouzar says:

    Scungilli Slushy: Hitch mentioned having some offensive tactics he wanted to implement but no practices. Cycling is good but there needs to be a goal in mind, a plan of attack or the cycle can easily go nowhere. The Oilers have not been good at attacking from the cycle in decades.

    I’d love to see that implemented and a new PP coach getting some time to get going, I don’t think it would take as long to implement that type of change as changing the 5v5 system in a big way.

    The plan with the zone time and cycle, at least as I’ve inferred it, is to tire out the other team (his reference to “straight legs”), leading to HDSCs and goals – there is a goal in mind.

    With that said, I’m sure there are more Xs and Os type strategies that we haven’t seen implemented yet.

    Damn, maybe it would have been nice to have camp with this coach….

  123. DBO says:

    Any appetite for Berglund on the cheap? Or he is just another bottom 6 winger.

  124. jp says:

    75/25 sounds good to me.

    Also thanks for this place!

  125. drglen says:

    Just watched that cult of hockey podcast with Bruce and David. Man, those guys are so funny sometimes, the takes are so straight up it makes me laugh. No sense trying to spin a bad game man, just letting the stones fall where they will. Careful guys we don’t want to lose you to LA like Jay and Dan.

  126. CrazyCoach says:

    Woodguy v2.0,

    Thanks for the insight on Maroon. Sad when a guy is having a tough time and would still be a better option than what is presently there.

    I am happy to see Khaira coming along lately. Very reminiscent of him playing here in PG when he was a BCHL monster.

  127. pts2pndr says:

    Professor Q:
    jtblack,

    That’s nuts, man.

    Lowballed him with that one!

  128. Gerta Rauss says:

    DBO:
    Any appetite for Berglund on the cheap? Or he is just another bottom 6 winger.

    I’ve liked Berglund when he was with St Loo-I’m not sure what’s going on with the suspension/termination or if he’ll play in the NHL again

    He can play all 3 forward positions but that contract in BUF was a non-starter for me

    Maybe if he wants/is able to finish the season on a Chiasson contract($650k) I might be interested

  129. ArmchairGM says:

    dessert1111: I’d prefer a 95-5 split for draft coverage while the team is still in it. I’ve had enough draft coverage to last a lifetime the past ten years.

    I was going to disagree with you because I love the draft so, but the more I think about it the more I agree. The book on the junior season hasn’t even been half written yet and the top prospects are heading off the the WJC – there’s a LOT of track left. I’m happy with anecdotes and updates as we go, but it’s nearly impossible to come up with a reasonably accurate top-31 at this point in time.

    95-5 until after the WJC is fine with me.

  130. jzed says:

    What did they hire Viveros to do?

  131. OriginalPouzar says:

    Yamamoto returns to the Condors’ lineup tonight – he missed 5 games.

    Dylan Wells with his second straight start after a shutout last game in his second career AHL start.

  132. flyfish1168 says:

    Scungilli Slushy: I’m sure Drai is as fit as a fiddle. However he’s also 20 lbs heavier than McD and an awkward skater. Hitch mentioned Connor’s effortless skating and Drai’s is the opposite of that, those minutes are a lot more physical work for him than players that don’t work as hard to get around.

    Part is nature and part is training, for example for being such a beast Parayko moves pretty well, a much smaller player as Larsson or Benning don’t seem as agile.

    You are correct. Drai is probably generically more muscular. Connor probably genetically built more for endurance. Just look at some of the best endurance athletes, much leaner and not built heavy. Training gets you so far but you still need the right genetics

  133. Gret99zky says:

    Lowetide: Even if this team misses the playoffs, there are things to be won. If Puljujarvi, Khaira and Jones emerge as legit producers in substantial roles, that’s a victory for this organization.

    Plus we’ll win a new GM.

    😉

  134. fishman says:

    Raptors with huge 4 th quarter in come back win!

  135. OriginalPouzar says:

    My goodness I don’t like when the Condors are in Stockton – the camera seems so far from the ice – I feel like I need binoculars. Maybe I’m just old.

  136. OriginalPouzar says:

    Gerta Rauss: I’ve liked Berglund when he was with St Loo-I’m not sure what’s going on with the suspension/termination or if he’ll play in the NHL again

    Failure to report allowing the team to terminate the contract due to breach of contract.

  137. OriginalPouzar says:

    Luke Esposito takes a bad cross-check penalty to put the Condors down two men for 90 seconds plus – Condors kill it off.

  138. OriginalPouzar says:

    Logan Day puts on off Malone’s face-shield and in to tie the game at 1. Joe G. with the second assist.

  139. Gerta Rauss says:

    OriginalPouzar: Failure to report allowing the team to terminate the contract due to breach of contract.

    Well,yes, but there has to be a back story

    Illness, injury, family, motivation…?

  140. pts2pndr says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    Logan Day puts on off Malone’s face-shield and in to tie the game at 1.Joe G. with the second assist.

    Malone has his head in the game tonight!

  141. OriginalPouzar says:

    Currie from Malone and Bear on the PP.

  142. thehop says:

    DBO,

    Now that his cap hit is nil…. why not.

  143. thehop says:

    OriginalPouzar,

    Would look good on the bottom six.

    Skilled enough to play up if need be.

    Can never have enough depth on the wings in the NHL.

  144. Scungilli Slushy says:

    flyfish1168: You are correct. Drai is probably generically more muscular. Connor probably genetically built more for endurance. Just look at some of the best endurance athletes, much leaner and not built heavy. Training gets you so far but you still need the right genetics

    True. Weight has a lot to do with body structure, not just muscularity. Larger joints (bones), hip and chest circumference. Per NHL site, Malkin 6’3″ 195, Lucic 6’3″ 231. Lucic isn’t fat and doesn’t look like a body builder.

    Few hockey players are muscle bound these days because of the demands of cardio and quickness. There aren’t many Legion of Doom top forwards anymore where the light guy is 225.

    Even then it only worked for a couple of seasons until the Wings used a ‘finesse’ D pair against them in the playoffs and they couldn’t score. No touch puck no score. Of course it wasn’t a Schultz / Hunt type finesse pairing.

  145. Buddy says:

    Gret99zky: Plus we’ll win a new GM.

    Hired by Daryl Katz. What could go wrong?

  146. Scungilli Slushy says:

    Buddy: Hired by Daryl Katz. What could go wrong?

    Rumour has it Katz is great pals with Vince McMahon who is looking for new challenges. Oiler’s brass may think he might get a few slumping players going.

  147. JimmyV1965 says:

    Sounds like the Jackets want to move on from Wennberg. His numbers are dropping badly again this year and he makes $4.9 mill for four more years after this season. Contract is buyout friendly though. Wonder if we could package one of our bad contracts for his. Unfortunately he’s more of a playmaker, rather than a scorer.

  148. Gerta Rauss says:

    JimmyV1965: Sounds like the Jackets want to move on from Wennberg.

    If Lucic would agree to a move I wouldn’t hesitate

  149. GMB3 says:

    Scungilli Slushy: True. Weight has a lot to do with body structure, not just muscularity. Larger joints (bones), hip and chest circumference. Per NHL site, Malkin 6’3″ 195, Lucic 6’3″ 231. Lucic isn’t fat and doesn’t look like a body builder.

    Few hockey players are muscle bound these days because of the demands of cardio and quickness. There aren’t many Legion of Doom top forwards anymore where the light guy is 225.

    Even then it only worked for a couple of seasons until the Wings used a ‘finesse’ D pair against them in the playoffs and they couldn’t score. No touch puck no score. Of course it wasn’t a Schultz / Hunt type finesse pairing.

    Football players are some of the most muscular athletes on earth and the fastest.

    You ever see a picture of Marty St Louis in the offseason? The guy has absolute tree trunks for legs.

  150. Katz_kat says:

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned this yet, but I think the following is obvious at this point.

    Khaira/McDavid/Puljujarvi – Lets face it, Khaira and Puljujarvi have developed some form of chemistry, let them help each other and McDavid
    Rieder/Draisaitl/Chiasson – wasn’t broken before Reider was broken.
    Caggiula/RNH/Rattie – Neither are that bad of goal scorers when given talent to play with.
    Lucic/Brodziak/Kassian – cause they don’t bleed

    I think we gotta go to the 3C’s and give C McDavid and Drai a little less ice time.

  151. Gerta Rauss says:

    Katz_kat,

    I like that a lot

    I’d like to think that Hitch will eventually try the 3C option

  152. OriginalPouzar says:

    Hebig wins it in OT from Marody.

    Fantastic play by Cooper:

    https://twitter.com/Condors/status/1075636566364585984

  153. Lowetide says:

    For The Athletic: Ken Hitchcock, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and finding that elusive perfect fit on the Oilers No. 2 line

    https://theathletic.com/722130/2018/12/20/lowetide-ken-hitchcock-ryan-nugent-hopkins-and-finding-that-elusive-perfect-fit-on-the-oilers-no-2-line/

  154. ArmchairGM says:

    OriginalPouzar: X/McDavid/Puljujarvi
    Rieder/Drai/Chiasson
    X could be Spooner or Zykov perhaps

    X could be Nino Niederreiter.

    Spooner, Caggiula: #packyourshit

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