I Wish I Was The Moon Tonight

Craig MacTavish used to say teams play well enough to win games right at the end of losing streaks, and the Winnipeg game earlier this week suggested it. Last night in the desert, near the 400 arenas that have been constructed specifically for the Coyotes, Edmonton put the damnable losing streak to sleep.

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: What could the Oilers acquire in a Jesse Puljujarvi trade?
  • New Jonathan Willis: The Edmonton Oilers are one good summer away from being competitive.
  • New Daniel Nugent Bowman: Why Joseph Gambardella’s first NHL call-up really hit home.
  • Pierre Lebrun: LeBrun Notebook: Chiarelli under pressure to deliver in Edmonton.
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Peter Chiarelli’s reasoning for acquiring Brandon Manning doesn’t add up
  • Lowetide: Oilers No. 9 prospect Winter 2018: Joel Persson.
  • Lowetide: Oilers acquire Brandon Manning in a Sunday shocker, and this ought to be interesting.
  • Lowetide: Oilers acquire Alexander Petrovic from Panthers, flushing Chris Wideman and a 2019 third-round pick in the trade.
  • Lowetide: Oilers 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 40 GAMES

  • Oilers in 2015: 16-21-3, 35 points; goal differential -22
  • Oilers in 2016: 20-13-7, 47 points; goal differential +5
  • Oilers in 2017: 17-20-3, 37 points; goal differential -17
  • Oilers in 2018: 19-18-3, 41 points; goal differential -6

The 2018 McDavids are on track to finish 82, 39-37-6, 84 points. Miles from the playoffs, but a win on Saturday against Los Angeles and the team will have 43 points at the halfway point in the year. I had them at 90-94 points, they’ll project to 86 points, should they win.

OILERS IN JANUARY

  • Oilers in January 2016: 1-0-0, two points; goal differential 0
  • Oilers in January 2017: 0-1-0, no points; goal differential -2
  • Oilers in January 2018: 0-1-0, no points; goal differential -5
  • Oilers in January 2019: 1-0-0, two points; goal differential +1

This game was 50/50, but the Oilers formula (McDavid and McDavid and goalie) worked and we’re on the the west coast. Will we see another fast start to a month?

WHAT TO EXPECT IN JANUARY

  • On the road to: Arizona, Los Angeles, Anaheim, San Jose (Expected 2-2-0) (Actual 1-0-0)
  • At home to: Florida, Arizona, Buffalo (Expected 1-1-1) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • On the road to: Vancouver (Expected 0-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • At home to: Calgary, Carolina, Detroit (Expected 1-1-1) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • Overall expected result: 4-5-2, 10 points in 11 games
  • Current results: 1-0-0, two points in one game

Things begin as expected, this game was the easiest win on the road trip. It’ll be tougher in California. How much clean air Hitchcock can find for 97 in those tough barns on the coast?

DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT

  • Nurse-Larsson went 11-7 in 14:07, 7-3 shots, 2-0 goals and 5-1 HDSC. Larsson was also 4-4 in 4:04 with Caleb Jones and Nurse was 3-7 in 3:49 (0-1 goals) with Petrovic. Went 10-5 in 7:55 against Richardson-Hinostroza-Panik. Larsson played with an edge defensively, got an assist on the first goal and shoved the puck to Leon to start goal No. 2 on its way. Nurse was effective to my eye with Larsson.
  • Manning-Benning went 4-10 in 10:40, 2-4 shots, no goals and 0-4 HDSC. Manning is dirt mean. Went 4-4 in 5:40 against Crouse-Cousins-Archibald. Manning gives the team a different look, I don’t think he’s a better defender than Gravel but he is more physical. Russell’s return Saturday probably means pressbox for one of these men.
  • Jones-Petrovic were 10-21 in 15:55, 5-11 shots, no goals and 3-5 in HDSC. Fascinating this pairing played the most minutes as a pair on the night. Went 11-11 in 9:01 against Keller-Galchenyuk-Stepan. Petrovic made some nice defensive plays, I like Jones with a veteran shutdown type.
  • Mikko Koskinen stopped 29 of 30, .967. He was brilliant.
  • NaturalStatTrick and NHL.com.

FORWARDS, LAST NIGHT

  • Draisaitl-McDavid-Kassian went 18-15 in 16:46, 12-10 shots, 2-1 goals and 7-5 HDSC. Were 9-5-1 in Offensive zone starts. Trio was 14-15 against Ekman-Larsson/Hjalmarsson in 13:28, 2-0 goals. This line, along with Koskinen and Larsson, were the keys to victory. Kassian had five HDSC according to Natural Stat Trick. Leon was moving those legs and McDavid was dangerous every shift. The team needed the win and the big men stepped up.
  • Lucic-Khaira-Spooner went 5-8 in 9:12, 1-3 shots, no goals and 0-2 HDSC. I thought this line was pretty good, featuring a nice chance from Spooner (Khaira great passing again) and good heavy work by Lucic and Khaira. Were 4-2 in 4:51 against Oesterle-Lyubushkin.
  • Gambardella-Brodziak-Rattie went 3-5 in 6:22, 1-3 shots, no goals and 0-1 HDSC. I like the line’s speed and forechecking, Gambardella made a dangerous escape effort from the slot that could have been a disaster but I liked his effort on the wall and in one desperate a chance to clear the puck. Rattie worked hard, as did Brodziak.
  • Rieder-Nuge-Puljujarvi went 6-14 in 11:34, 4-5 shots, no goals and 1-3 HDSC. I loved Puljujarvi’s game, plenty of jump and he was ramrod again. A lovely pass to Rieder could have been an early goal but it did draw a penalty. Nuge also had a 10-bell chance. Several times JP made a second effort just to get the puck deep. A fine game. Trio went 5-12 in 7:34 against Connauton-Oesterle, 3-5 shots and no goals. The line cycled well and earned a goal that didn’t come.

CHIASSON AND RUSSELL

It sounds like Edmonton will be getting some help as early as Saturday. Alex Chiasson’s return should mean the team can put the band back together on the top line, with Kassian returning to old haunts. Here’s what I’d like to see, with Chiasson and Russell back.

  • Leon Draisaitl—Connor McDavid—Alex Chiasson
  • Jujhar Khaira—Ryan Nugent-Hopkins—Jesse Puljujarvi
  • Tobias Rieder—Ryan Spooner—Ty Rattie
  • Milan Lucic—Kyle Brodziak—Zack Kassian
  • Darnell Nurse—Adam Larsson
  • Caleb Jones—Matt Benning
  • Kril Russell—Alex Petrovic
  • Mikko Koskinen (Cam Talbot)

Evan Bouchard and Team Canada are out, and now comes the picking apart of what went wrong. I think the Canadians were about equal with several teams in the tournament, lacking a dominant forward. Bouchard was fine not spectacular, and that has absolutely zero impact on his future. Seriously.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

At 10 this morning, we’re rocking and rolling with a strong guest list and a mountain of angst over teenage loss on the coast. TSN1260, scheduled to appear:

  • Frank Seravalli, TSN. Canada is out at the World Juniors!
  • Josh Lewenberg, TSN. Raptors and NBA.

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

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225 Responses to "I Wish I Was The Moon Tonight"

« Older Comments
  1. Material Elvis says:

    jtblack:
    OP. How was your holiday?

    It must have been expensive….he lost his shirt.

  2. Glovjuice says:

    hunter1909:
    1 game win streak and now talk is of playoffs.

    1 game.

    Friendly suggestion: get back in actual 8th place and up Draisaitl is a terrible hockey player also and a cancer in the dressing room and worse than Lucic’s cap drag etc. Draisaitl is so terrible he’s in NHL top ten scoring.

    Another Oilers draft bust.

    If Drai wasn’t so lazy he would have blocked that shot Connor did and scored the open net goal – all while Boinko boinko the Kia.

  3. smellyglove says:

    Here’s another depressing stat.

    NHL player points, sorted ascending for players with 35+ games under their belt. Three Oilers in the “Top” 16. Five Oilers in the “Top” 52.

  4. Glovjuice says:

    OriginalPouzar: After a rocky start for the first two days (no bags for the first 48 hours (and on a boat in the middle of the Indian Ocean) and then full on crazy sea sickness for the second day – meds were in the bags we didn’t have), it became absolutely amazing.

    Happy to provide stories, details, links to pics if people want – some are here:

    https://www.roughingafterthewhistle.com/Thread-The-Travel-Thread-Part-Deux?pid=1064363#pid1064363

    Thank you for asking.

    Never, EVER, leave meds in bags. Always have them in your pocket. I have my pocket meds all OCDish when I travel.

  5. Jaxon says:

    Nugent-Hopkins / McDavid / Puljujarvi
    Khaira / Draisaitl / Chiasson
    Rieder / Marody / Rattie
    Lucic / Brodziak / Kassian

    Or

    Spooner / McDavid / Puljujarvi
    Khaira / Draisaitl / Chiasson
    Lucic / Nugent-Hopkins / Rattie/Yamamoto
    Rieder / Brodziak / Kassian

    Truthfully, I’d like to see Spooner traded. 3rd line centre is an issue if they put Draisaitl or Nugent-Hopkins with McDavid. It would be nice to have someone like a Ryan Strome type player there.

  6. Glovjuice says:

    jtblack: From Day 1 RHD has been a weak spot. So PC did the following.

    Trades for Reinhart who was LHD but “supposedly” could play RHD.That didnt work.

    Trades for Larsson. Gives up top Oiler not wearing #97.Larsson is Good but nobody is confusing him for Doughty, Burns, MacInnis or whomever would be Hall’s equal.

    Locks up LHD Kris Russell who can play RHD but has lower Fancies on the Right side. Left Fancies werent great anyway.

    Picked up Benning. Excellent RHD for 3rd pair.

    So after 3.5 yrs of fixing the RHD PC has ????????

    Basically waitig for EB now.

    Given the assets PC started with; the average fan would have a better RHD assembled by today.

    Yuk. And, EB is not gonna be a top pair for sure. No shame in that for a #10 though. If he tops out at 3, 4 (at worst); this is still all you can expect for a #10.

  7. "Steve Smith" says:

    smellyglove:
    Here’s another depressing stat.

    NHL player points, sorted ascending for players with 35+ games under their belt. Three Oilers in the “Top” 16. Five Oilers in the “Top” 52.

    Three former Oiler first-rounders – all forwards – in the top fifty as well.

  8. YKOil says:

    I hope they unload Manning or Russell at the trade deadline

    I CAN hope right?

  9. JimmyV1965 says:

    Pescador: Part of the issue is the cost that PC. pays for players, it’s no wonder fans are weary.
    Plus our pro scouting department has an awful track record.
    Top 6 wingers can be had for less than a first round pick,
    I would combine a second with one of the glut of prospect LHD no named Jones. I bet you can get a decent winger for that at the draft.
    It would help if there was cap space available to add a $4-5M contract,
    Honestly where are the pro scouts that once help land Maroon for Gernat & a 5th?

    Ya. Pulling off a trade would require a new GM for sure. Definitely think we can package a pick and a dman prospect. We might actually have too many dmen for the AHL team next year. Would be great if a trade didn’t require a first round pick. No question the new GM will have to clear out some contracts. Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s possible to divest Lucic.

  10. drglen says:

    JimmyV1965: Ya. Pulling off a trade would require a new GM for sure. Definitely think we can package a pick and a dman prospect. We might actually have too many dmen for the AHL team next year.Would be great if a trade didn’t require a first round pick. No question the new GM will have to clear out some contracts. Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s possible to divest Lucic.

    Hitch keeps playing him. Well they won the game… let’s see what happens if they lose. Unless hitch is seeing some productivity that’s not obvious to the rest of us, .. effects on other team? But people are actually saying that was one of his better games in a while. Nobody’s gonna trade for him though. ay carrumba. He had hands though, .. once upon a time.

  11. JimmyV1965 says:

    pts2pndr: While I see this as a need I am more concerned about the lack of a legitimate second pairing right D.
    I believe with a solid top four andoffensive five or six D to help on the ppwe would with the current forward group be a playoff team.

    I used to think 2RD was our biggest need, but now I think it’s a winger. Our PP is actually 12th in the league right now and I think it can be better. Also, I’m much more bullish on our dmen prospects than our forwards. We might not have a PP QB in house, but we have a lot of potential top 4 guys. I just have zero faith in our forwards. I can’t see how guys like Lucic, Kassian, Brodziak, Rattie et al will ever provide meaningful secondary scoring. I also think that having a two rock-solid duos will help the younger guys gain their scoring confidence as the third wheel on a scoring line.

  12. JimmyV1965 says:

    drglen: Hitch keeps playing him.Well they won the game… let’s see what happens if they lose.Unless hitch is seeing some productivity that’s not obvious to the rest of us, .. effects on other team?But people are actually saying that was one of his better games in a while. Nobody’s gonna trade for him though. ay carrumba. He had hands though, .. once upon a time.

    I keep going back to Gregor’s repeated comments that he has never seen Lucic spend extra time before or after practice working on his shot. Also gleaned from Gregor’s show today, we had seven forwards that had a grand total of one shot between them all last night. You can easily guess who they were. Kassian though had five.

  13. hunter1909 says:

    “Steve Smith”: Three former Oiler first-rounders – all forwards – in the top fifty as well.

    Kevin Lowe is right. The fans are to blame.

  14. hunter1909 says:

    Oilers sink to 11th place in the West. 4 points up on the mighty Chicago hockeyers.

  15. Pescador says:

    JimmyV1965: I keep going back to Gregor’s repeated comments that he has never seen Lucic spend extra time before or after practice working on his shot. Also gleaned from Gregor’s show today, we had seven forwards that had a grand total of one shot between them all last night. You can easily guess who they were. Kassian though had five.

    I tried to find a recent post from LT.
    He posted his preferred lines, I agreed with it plenty but didn’t want to let him or the group know.
    Just in case they turned on him & I would need to save myself.
    Plus his ego is already out of control, but I digress.
    Draisaitl – McGlory – Chiasson
    Khaira – Nugent – Puljujarvi
    Me personally I would run Rat on the top & PJ on the 3rd or Bakersfield.
    But the point is when you try and run the best top 6 possible with this roster you end up with a bottom six that would make the Atlanta Thrashers laugh.
    This is all on P.C. all 9 goals that they have scored in 40 games

  16. Jordan says:

    Pescador:
    This is all on P.C. all 9 goals that they have scored in 40 games

    Na – It’s all Peter Pocklington’s fault for not selling his other business assets and focusing on building the Oilers into an entertainment consortium 30 years ago.

    Instead he sold Gretz and everything’s been downhill since.

    On a related note, I’m starting to notice a pattern with people named Peter not being very good for the fortunes of this hockey club….

  17. OriginalPouzar says:

    JimmyV1965:
    I firmly believe this team needs to trade for a legit top six forward if it hopes to make the playoffs next year. And the trade will require draft picks and/or prospects. I sense extreme resistance to this idea. I would love to hear some posters explain how we can realistically make the playoffs next year without a meaningful trade.

    I don’t think you are correctly acknowledging the resistance to this idea. I don’t believe that most posts disagree that adding a top 6 winger would help the ability to make the playoffs this year, however, the question is not “if it will help” but “is it the right approach”.

    Lets use, for example, the rental of Wayne Simmonds for a 2nd round pick and Ethan Bear. That trade likely helps quite a bit with a playoff push but is it worth it to give up those futures? Not to mention that a trade that adds material cap like this for futures would require further moves to move out significant cap (i.e. we cant even make that type of move).

  18. OriginalPouzar says:

    Jaxon:
    Nugent-Hopkins / McDavid / Puljujarvi
    Khaira / Draisaitl / Chiasson
    Rieder / Marody / Rattie
    Lucic / Brodziak / Kassian

    Or

    Spooner / McDavid / Puljujarvi
    Khaira / Draisaitl / Chiasson
    Lucic / Nugent-Hopkins / Rattie/Yamamoto
    Rieder / Brodziak / Kassian

    Truthfully, I’d like to see Spooner traded. 3rd line centre is an issue if they put Draisaitl or Nugent-Hopkins with McDavid. It would be nice to have someone like a Ryan Strome type player there.

    I choose option 2.

    I’m not sure I’m on board with “third line center is an issue” in a lineup that has McDavid, Drai and Nuge as centers. While expensive, that lineup arguably has the best 3rd line center in the NHL and the best center depth in the NHL.

    I’m just fine trying Ryan Spooner at wing in the top 6 for a material stint – Spooner/Rattie as 1st line wingers and ChIasson or Puljujarvi with Rieder as 2nd line wingers.

    Spooner has a good history of top 6 production – lets give the struggling player a good stretch of games with an elite center and the benefits may simply prove fruitful.

  19. OriginalPouzar says:

    Glovjuice: Yuk. And, EB is not gonna be a top pair for sure. No shame in that for a #10 though. If he tops out at 3, 4 (at worst); this is still all you can expect for a #10.

    Bouchard may very well never become a top pairing d-man at even strength but that is far from a “sureity” – that is simply your opinion of how the future will play out.

  20. OriginalPouzar says:

    Hopefully both Russell and Chiasson are activated for Saturday.

    Hopefully the coach does NOT put Chiasson back with McDavid but puts him with Drai and Rieder for secondary scoring – they’ve scored together this year. I don’t see it happening as coach will likely run with the McDavid/Drai combo for now as they are hot.

    When McDavid/Drai goes cold, as they do, I’d like to run:

    Khaira/McDavid/Rattie
    Rieder/Drai/Chiasson
    Spooner/Nuge/Puljujarvi
    Lucic/Brodz/Kassian

    Joe G/P. Russell (Yamamoto to AHL)

  21. OriginalPouzar says:

    ‪Team Russia vs. Team USA at 2 mountain today. Should be a great game and I’m looking forward to watching Oilers prospects Samorukov and Kemp. Samorukov trending to an all-star nod!‬

  22. Glovjuice says:

    OriginalPouzar: I choose option 2.

    I’m not sure I’m on board with “third line center is an issue” in a lineup that has McDavid, Drai and Nuge as centers.While expensive, that lineup arguably has the best 3rd line center in the NHL and the best center depth in the NHL.

    I’m just fine trying Ryan Spooner at wing in the top 6 for a material stint – Spooner/Rattie as 1st line wingers and ChIasson or Puljujarvi with Rieder as 2nd line wingers.

    Spooner has a good history of top 6 production – lets give the struggling player a good stretch of games with an elite center and the benefits may simply prove fruitful.

    I’m fully supportive of the three big C’s down the middle and trying Spooner 1L. It has to be tried based on his scoring history. Not a fan of the trade but it must be tried. If we had one more winger (say Ebs level) the 3 big C’s works very well. One more winger please. How about Macleod?😀

  23. OriginalPouzar says:

    McLeod, as in Ryan McLeod?

    I’m not sure he probjects to be a top line forward but potentially. I would say reasonable expectations for McLeod is a middle 6 forwards/3C when fully developed.

    Of course, Ryan McLeod should not really be thought of as an NHL option for the 2019/20 season and, no, when he lights up the scoresheet during the first half/75% of training camp, that will not mean he is NHL ready.

    I’m looking forward to seeing how McLeod does in Bakersfied next year (should be a good influx along with Maksimov and Safin up front as well as Berglund and Samorukov and, hopefully Bouchard, on the back-end – potentially Persson).

  24. Professor Q says:

    Glovjuice: I’m fully supportive of the three big C’s down the middle and trying Spooner 1L. It has to be tried based on his scoring history. Not a fan of the trade but it must be tried. If we had one more winger (say Ebs level) the 3 big C’s works very well. One more winger please. How about Macleod?😀

    I mean, the one thing about that LT-Community Proposal of an Ott-Edm trade:

    Get rid of Lucic and another few contracts. Yes, you lose Yamamoto, Nurse, essentially 4 1sts, other picks, but if all goes well you have 2-3 years of strong wingers, and potentially enough space to sign Panarin and/or Bobrovsky (if they don’t hate each other and Koskinen doesn’t cost too much, and Talbot walks or is traded this season). 3 strong wingers, in that case, and potentially for more than just those 2-3 years if signed correctly.

    But it’s a lot of chance. That’s a lot of chance one might not be able to risk. But not as bad as I first read, except for gutting the team and taking away the only real pieces that could be used to replace those holes.

  25. russ99 says:

    OriginalPouzar: I choose option 2.

    I’m not sure I’m on board with “third line center is an issue” in a lineup that has McDavid, Drai and Nuge as centers.While expensive, that lineup arguably has the best 3rd line center in the NHL and the best center depth in the NHL.

    I’m just fine trying Ryan Spooner at wing in the top 6 for a material stint – Spooner/Rattie as 1st line wingers and ChIasson or Puljujarvi with Rieder as 2nd line wingers.

    Spooner has a good history of top 6 production – lets give the struggling player a good stretch of games with an elite center and the benefits may simply prove fruitful.

    Spooner’s only good season production wise in Boston was due primarily to his linemates.

    That 16 points in 20 games with the Rangers was a hot streak which hasn’t been replicated since.

    Kind of tired of fans putting every player we acquire into the top six scoring forward or the puck moving defensemen pigeonholes, Spooner is not that, just as Zykov was not that either.

    There’s way more scouting and statistical evidence that Spooner is a bottom six center than he’s a top six scoring winger.

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