The Oilers first NHL four-game losing streak came October 24-30, 1979. Goaltending was a major issue in losses against the Rangers (10-2), Atlanta (7-3), Washington (6-4), St. Louis (2-1). In those four games, Eddie Mio’s save percentage was .867 (stopped 91 of 105 shots), Dave Dryden’s .727 (stopped 24 of 33 shots). The team won the fifth game, 7-5 over the Islanders on November 2, 1979. Wayne Gretzky went 2-1-3, assisting on the eventual winner by Blair MacDonald late in the second period. In some ways, this 2018-19 team reminds me of that ragtag bunch, stunning generational talent at the top, some key pieces, quality on the rise, combined with also-rans, never-weres and distant bells up and down the line. They made the playoffs.
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- New Lowetide: In a ‘Hail Mary’ roster shuffle, Oilers recall Kailer Yamamoto, waive Valentin Zykov and place Alex Chiasson on IR.
- Lowetide: Peter Chiarelli’s free-agent success in 2018 may dictate Oilers big money moves in the summer of 2019.
- Lowetide: Total recall—Who should be next on the Bakersfield-to-Edmonton shuttle?
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Oilers’ Rattie still figuring out how to play for new-old coach Ken Hitchcock.
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Condors coach Jay Woodcroft has a lifetime of hockey knowledge to share and the notebooks to prove it.
- Jonathan Willis: The Ryan Spooner for Ryan Strome trade has yet to pay dividends for the Edmonton Oilers.
- Lowetide: No. 8 prospect Winter 2018: Kirill Maksimov.
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 7 prospect Winter 2018: Caleb Jones.
- 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 38
- Oilers in 2015: 15-20-3, 33 points; goal differential -21
- Oilers in 2016: 19-12-7, 45 points; goal differential +6
- Oilers in 2017: 17-18-3, 37 points; goal differential -7
- Oilers in 2018: 18-16-3, 39 points; goal differential -3
The losing streak brought this year’s team back to the 2017 crew, who as you might remember had a helluva time after Christmas after going 17-17-3 leading up to the break. A win tonight would place the 2018 McDavids on a pace to deliver 82, 41-37-6, 88 points. That represents a 10-point improvement year-over-year.
OILERS IN DECEMBER
- Oilers in December 2015: 6-5-2, 14 points; goal differential -10
- Oilers in December 2016: 7-2-4, 18 points; goal differential +2
- Oilers in December 2017: 7-5-1, 15 points; goal differential +3
- Oilers in December 2018: 6-5-1, 13 points; goal differential +2
After a hot start, the team has fallen back to earth and is now tracking a little below the two non-playoff clubs. Ken Hitchcock is 9-6-2, 20 points. It’s possible Hitch reaches Game 20 with a record close to Todd McLellan’s 9-10-1, 19 points.
OILERS 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 0-1-0)
- At home to: St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Vancouver, San Jose, Winnipeg (Expected 2-2-1) (Actual 0-3-0)
- Overall expected result: 7-6-1, 15 points in 14 games
- Current results: 6-5-1, 13 points in 12 games
I had the St. Louis and Vancouver games as wins, the San Jose game as another loss (OT with the Jets). I think the two-point gap between my projection and the Oilers record may still be there at the end of the mond. How much faith do you have in this team right now? Does the activation of Kris Russell help that faith? We’re looking at a major chapter in this season, right here, right now. Five losses in a row is an actual elevator shaft.
THE CURRENT OILERS
- This is the lineup Daniel Nugent-Bowman posted on twitter yesterday during practice with Kris Russell thrown in.
- The forwards number is 5-on-5 scoring per 60, with McDavid, Draisaitl, Nuge, Khaira and Chiasson all performing well.
- The defensemen are shots-for percentage at 5-on-5.
HIS JUDGEMENT COMETH AND THAT RIGHT SOON!
- Ken Hitchcock: “Some of the guys that have been around awhile have a terrific opportunity, and they ought to take advantage, because there’s going to be other younger guys that’ll take their spot.”
Hitchcock broke up the identity line in recent days, that’s an indication (in my opinion) we’re heading toward an eyebrow raising healthy scratch over the next few days (should things continue). So far in his time with the Oilers, Hitch’s healthy scratches so far:
- Chris Wideman 12
- Jason Garrison 11
- Ty Rattie 6
- Valentin Zykov 5
- Patrick Russell 3
- Cooper Marody 3
- Jujhar Khaira 2 (suspension)
- Drake Caggiula 2 (illness)
- Tobias Rieder (injury)
- Matt Benning
- Kevin Gravel
- Ryan Spooner
- Connor McDavid (illness)
- Caleb Jones
- Ryan Spooner
I noted some of the missed games that weren’t healthy scratches, may have missed one or two. I don’t see a real surprise on this list, but if Milan Lucic gets a healthy scratch, well that’s news.
WORKING UP A SWEAT
I used to work in sales, and the weekly pressure can be enormous. You need leads, which turn into prospects, which turn into rapport, which turn into proposals and then sales. You work hard with the client to ensure success and then, if things break right, that client becomes a regular customer.
Radio sales, at least when I was in that part of the industry, involved a Monday morning meeting where the boss would go around the table and ask how much money you planned to book that week. I dreaded it. If you didn’t have anything that week, you looked bad. If you said nothing two weeks in a row, cold stare. Three weeks? Make something up!
No one likes to be singled out in a negative way, but I will say the number one lesson I learned from sales is the value of fear. I had a sales manager who would say “I’m not happy until there’s sweat running down the crack of your ass” and my goodness he was good at that one thing.
The Oilers are in the middle of a losing streak. Fans are miserable. Rest assured fear of a HS is on the minds of several Edmonton Oilers at this time.