It was billed as a miserable final game in enemy territory, another evening spent watching the rising Calgary Flames against the frustrating team to the north. And then, in the wink of an eye, things got real in a quick hurry. After a round of Hail Mary, full of grace, it was over an hour of the kind of worry that only comes during truly massive life moments. I spent part of those 60 minutes trying to find a few lines from ‘Stop All the Clocks’ that might fit this morning’s blog. Call off the poets, hasten down the wind. Connor McDavid’s injury may not be catastrophic. We wait. It’s been hospital walls since midnight, but at least we’re not in emergency.
The Athletic Edmonton features a fabulous cluster of stories (some linked below, some on the site). Great perspective from a ridiculous group of writers and analysts. Proud to be part of the group. INSANE NEW OFFER IS HERE!
- New Lowetide: The Oilers have a trio of Condors blue pushing and all three are tracking well. How does this group compare to the Petry, Chorney, Wild college men from a decade ago?
- New Lowetide: The Edmonton Oilers, the republic of Finland and the 2019 draft.
- New Lowetide: Will the new GM continue the Oilers aggressive pursuit of college free agents?
- New Jonathan Willis: Connor McDavid’s frustration should be seen by the Oilers as a warning of possible disaster.
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Oilers have another problem to solve: Lifting the cloud over a clearly frustrated Connor McDavid
- Lowetide: What’s going on with Connor McDavid’s with or without you numbers?
- New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: The four blows that set up the knockout of the Oilers from playoff contention.
- New Jonathan Willis: The Oilers’ failures of 2018-19 will cost people their careers.
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Chipped teeth, playing DJ and lots of Game of Thrones: A week in the life of Darnell Nurse.
- New Lowetide: Kailer Yamamoto’s first pro season a cause for concern.
- Lowetide: The Edmonton Oilers and the giant talent pool that is the USHL.
- Lowetide: How the Oilers can shop for a big bang on a small budget
- Jonathan Willis: How the Oilers can turn their prospect depth into the blueline of a contender.
- Lowetide: What Mark Hunter’s draft record in Toronto means for his Oilers GM candidacy.
- Lowetide: The Oilers made a rare move and shopped the QMJHL at the 2018 draft. It could happen again.
- Lowetide: The Edmonton Oilers draft early, the WHL is loaded and there’s a lot of history.
- Lowetide: The Edmonton Oilers and the OHL.
OILERS AFTER 82
- Oilers in 2015: 31-43-8, 70 points; goal differential -38
- Oilers in 2016: 47-26-9, 103 points; goal differential +36
- Oilers in 2017: 36-40-6, 78 points; goal differential -38
- Oilers in 2018: 35-38-9, 79 points; goal differential -31
The record will show, for all time, Leon Draisaitl climbed the mountain and cashed 50 in a season. Frank Mahovlich hit 49, so did Gordie Howe, but 50 is a special place. The names who did it previously as Oilers include Gretzky, Kurri, Messier and Anderson. Wonderful company. Well done, young man.
I had wine last night, really good wine and it hit the spot. A nice evening got better when Leon scored 50, but time stood still when 97 got tripped and then crashed into the post. The slow motion replay didn’t help, the lip readers and carnival barkers chimed in and honestly by midnight I was regretting the wine.
Things stopped just short of becoming Wild Bill’s Circus Story. I saved a couple of tweets (I was going to use them here) but several twitter followers noticed and now I’m worried that it could send some negativity out into the ether. So, I won’t quote the tweets planned here, instead delivering the words that would have followed.
Twitter is basically the Los Angeles shown in the original Blade Runner movie. People say things on twitter that are either “first thoughts run through no filter” or troll messages. In a moment like last night, we aren’t at our emotional best, so when a message about McDavid comes through that can be seen as critical or laughing, then it’s easy to allow the vitriol to rise.
However, if the individual tweets a “clearly wasn’t meant as…” follow up, I think you have to take them at his or her word. We all develop a past, so if it is chronic behaviour that’s a different story. The examples I saved last night, in my opinion, were not troll comments but rather tweets that hit hard in the moment and could have been rephrased. I wanted to point that out, because there seems to be a growing twitter police who aggressively pursue any and all tweets and assume the worst. It’s happened to me, in one instance I was accused of writing something that I clearly did not, and it took several back and forths to set things right. Fortunately, in that exchange, the other individual was mature and re-read what I wrote.
If you want to get into twitter fights, then go your best. Otherwise, it might be an idea to wait a heartbeat. Sometimes it’s a wayward thought poorly expressed. I think we’d all like a chance for that second tweet to be read. Agreed?
It’s garbage bag day at the Oilers, that means exit interviews and media avails for the players. These are usually mildly interesting or less, but in light of last night’s injury one imagines the entire organization has been soberly reminded of what the future may bring.
Many fans believe the organization is going to ‘get it right’ and hire a competent general manager. One who will bring the team into this century in terms of analytics and analysis.
Many fans believe it’ll be status quo with a new man at the helm. I’ve read in recent days that hiring Ken Holland would be unwise, as his Detroit Red Wings are also in cap hell and on the outside.
My own feeling is this: Interview Ken Holland, and Ron Hextall and Pat Verbeek and Mike Gillis and Kelly McCrimmon. Don’t stop there! Interview Keith Gretzky, Dean Lombardi, Ross Mahoney, Al Murray.
WHAT YOU REALLY REALLY WANT
When it comes to this management hire, I don’t think Oilersnation is going to get what it wants. Those who want Verbeek or McCrimmon may get their guy (or similar), but I’m willing to bet a 2-4 Craig MacTavish and others will remain in the front office.
I will also tell you that Ken Holland as GM for two years, with Keith Gretzky remaining as AGM with the promise of the top position by 2021, is an option that will receive heavy consideration (if Holland is available).
I endorse no specific road. I will tell you my own opinion is less rigid than everyone who interacts with me on this issue. I can see all of these working, if the Edmonton Oilers stop careening from one pole to the other.
You can have speed, skill and win puck battles. You can have big men on the ice but they have to skate. You can sign players who can help on the penalty kill and play a skill position.
I believe we’re going to see a lot of movement this summer. That’s fine. If the Oilers add speed, skill, penalty killing and goaltending, music! If the Oilers continue down a road that trades away everyone 25-29 in favor of <21 and >30, in favor or size over smarts, we’ll all meet back at the lottery this time next season. It’s as simple as finding a template that works, and starting as you mean to go.