If things go well, the Dave Tippett ‘knock knock’ story about Ethan Bear will become a memorable part of a successful coach-player relationship. Kind of a modern Tommy Lasorda ‘Bulldog’ story involving Orel Hershisher.
Those stories are fun, but the hard work of winning an NHL job is still in play. After Thursday’s effort in Winnipeg, Bear is maybe a little closer to ‘knock knock’ and a job in the world’s best league.
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 Athletic, we are celebrating our 2-year anniversary this week. To mark the occasion, you can get 40% off subscriptions here.
- New Lowetide: Jay Woodcroft’s Bakersfield Condors might be bound for glory
- New Jonathan Willis: Ethan Bear, Tomas Jurco outshine the competition in second-to-last Oilers preseason game
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Joakim Nygard managing his anger as he eyes spot on Oilers.
- Jonathan Willis: Assessing the Oilers’ roster as the final positional battles are sorted out
- Jonathan Willis: Oilers cut Evan Bouchard and Shane Starrett. Is Ethan Bear on the cusp of making the team?
- Lowetide: Oilers’ bottom-six forwards, penalty kill shine in loss to Arizona Coyotes
- Lowetide: Injuries and prospects: A brief Oilers history of devastating derailments
- New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Connor McDavid’s nearing return and four other things we’ve learned from Oilers camp
- New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: How five months in Kelowna changed Leon Draisaitl’s hockey career
- Lowetide: Matt Benning may be vulnerable to a trade as Ken Holland works to tweak Oilers roster
- Lowetide: Three players who helped their Oilers hopes and three who didn’t do enough to separate in Edmonton’s fourth preseason game
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Dreadful showing means several Oilers players are on the chopping block with cuts looming
- Jonathan Willis: How quickly must the Oilers’ top AHL prospects claim NHL jobs before they become suspect?
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: McDavid and more: Five thoughts through the first week of Oilers camp
- Lowetide: Why Kailer Yamamoto’s delayed training camp may benefit his Oilers career
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Q&A: Brandon Manning on how his contract is hurting him, proving his worth at camp and being a mentor
- Jonathan Willis: Four players who helped, three who hurt their Oilers hopes in Edmonton’s second preseason game
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: How an offseason adding more pop in his stick and skates has James Neal primed for first Oilers season
- Lowetide: A big night for Oilers defencemen Joel Persson, William Lagesson and Evan Bouchard
- Lowetide: Handicapping Oilers prospect progress: The development of Ethan Bear, Caleb Jones and William Lagesson
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Eight key questions for the Oilers to solve at training camp
- Jonathan Willis: Predicting the winners of the Oilers’ top-six and top-nine forward jobs out of camp
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: In, out or on the bubble: Breaking down positional battles at Oilers camp
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Alex Chiasson prepares to return to scoring form for Edmonton Oilers
- Jonathan Willis: Oilers’ defensive hopes will rest on the new shutdown pair of Darnell Nurse and Adam Larsson
- Jonathan Willis: How much money will Darnell Nurse make on his next NHL contract?
- Corey Pronman: Oilers No. 9 farm system.
- Lowetide: Oilers top 20 prospects summer 2019.
LINE 1 Tomas Jurco-Connor McDavid-James Neal.
Six points for the line on the night, McDavid was absolutely flying for most of the evening. Neal picked up two assists and was around the puck a lot, but he doesn’t so much pursue it as wait for it to come his way. Jurco probably won a job with a pair of goals, he’s been quality (3-2-5 in three games). I wonder if we see this line during the regular season.
LINE 2 Joakim Nygard-Leon Draisaitl-Anton Burdasov.
Two assists for Draisaitl (now 3, 1-3-4) and one for Burdasov on the night, the trio was -2 at even strength but six shots on goal among them was solid. I like Burdasov, he arrived too late is all. If they signed him, can they be sure of him? Needed to get that paperwork done earlier. Nygard (4, 1-0-1) hasn’t done enough to earn a job on a skill line and I don’t know how he fits bottom six. I’d be hesitant to flush that speed, though.
LINE 3 Patrick Russell-Colby Cave-Zack Kassian
Five shots by the line, plenty of good work and often with the puck two time zones from the Edmonton net. Russell (6, 1-1-2) and Cave (5, 0-1-1) spent some time on the PK, too. Cave may need 100 high danger scoring chances per goal. Kassian (3, 1-1-2) looked fine to my eye this fall and I expect he’ll stay on a skill line (possibly over Gagner).
LINE 4 Jujhar Khaira-Gaetan Haas-Josh Archibald.
Haas (3, 0-1-1) finally delivered some good moments, getting a nice assist on the second Bear goal, winning seven of 11 faceoffs and spending some time on an effective PK. Khaira (4, 0-2-2) was impressive again, both points this preseason shorthanded. Archibald (4, 0-1-1) skated miles, the team has a different look when he’s on the ice (speed and aggressive puck pursuit).
PAIRING 1 Oscar Klefbom-Ethan Bear.
Klefbom (4, 0-5-5) makes everything easier, he’s like a cheat code on skates. He played well, mentored Bear and the duo won possession, goal differential and posted three points between them. Is this an opening night pairing? Bear (3, 2-2-4) was rock solid to my eye even before the goals. Strong passing, including lovely feed into the slot for Neal who tipped the puck and drew a penalty. I think he made the team last night.
PAIRING 2 Kris Russell-Matt Benning
Russell (2, 0-0-0) looked like Russell, defended a lot and worked hard below the hash marks. Benning (4, 0-0-0) was okay save for the one play everyone will remember (Perreault was effective in a tight space, Benning caught unaware). Maybe Benning is the No. 7 D opening night. I don’t believe that will happen, but these young blue are chasing him down.
PAIRING 3 Brandon Manning-William Lagesson
I was disappointed that Lagesson (3, 0-0-0) got Manning (3, 0-0-0) as his partner. That’s a tough assignment for a guy ho is still applying for the job. Lagesson is a better defenseman than Manning, it isn’t close. I like his instincts on the pinch, he’s kind of “opposite everyone else” on the team in that he’s conservative. Manning, I believe, will have to return to the minors and tweak a few things if he’s going to be an NHL regular again.
Mike Smith stopped 18 of 21, .857, the Dr. Seuss goal was kind of a fluke and the other two involved goal mouth scrambles. I’m a fan of Matt Benning, but that goal by Bourque (via fine work by Perreault) was a down arrow. Smith hasn’t grabbed the starting job, but he did get into two games this week and after the illness that was a priority. I imagine Koskinen gets Saturday and the opener.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, we kickstart the weekend with a full boat of guests. TSN 1260, we’ll have Steve Lansky from Big Mouth Sports to talk Auston Matthews, the advent of social media and Live Mic CFL. Julian Edlow from Draft Kings gets us ready for the football weekend. Matt Iwanyk will tee up the Eskimos game in Ottawa tomorrow (must win!) and Frank Seravalli pops by to chat NHL and the season to come. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!