2019-20 Game One: Canucks at Oilers

I loved watching the rookies emerge each season. In the fall of 1972, I spent countless hours discovering the rookie crop (here). Bill Barber was exactly what the Flyers needed, a pure scorer. Steve Vickers made the Rangers and played so well Emile Francis traded Dave Balon. Gregg Sheppard, from North Battleford, SK was a top Boston rookie and an outstanding two-way center. The California Golden Seals (my other favourite) had a young man named Stan Weir surprising with his offensive prowess. Murray Wilson was fast, Terry O’Reilly was tough, Tom Bladon had a great shot, Steve Shutt barely played and might have been the best of the whole damned bunch by the time all of their careers were done. Shutt was a wonderful player.

Today, another season begins and I believe this year in Edmonton will be a lot about rookies before the campaign ends. Ethan Bear is in the NHL tonight, and there’s a watershed on the way.

THE ATHLETIC!

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: Ken Holland has a plan for the Oilers’ top prospects.
  • New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: At home with Ken Holland: Packing away the championship memories and preparing for a new challenge
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Q&A: Oscar Klefbom on being a mentor, his strategy for staying healthy and saying goodbye to a friend.
  • Daniel and Jon: Ten bold (and not so bold) predictions for the Oilers this season
  • Lowetide: The Oilers are poised to break a 25-year-old franchise record this season
  • Lowetide: Jesse Puljujarvi’s fast start leads the way for Oilers prospects as 2019-20 gets underway
  • Lowetide: Joakim Nygard and Gaetan Haas bid for final Oilers spots during a strange game in Calgary
  • New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: An educated guess at the Oilers’ opening-night roster
  • Lowetide: Jay Woodcroft’s Bakersfield Condors might be bound for glory
  • 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?
  • 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
  • Corey Pronman: Oilers No. 9 farm system.
  • Lowetide: Oilers top 20 prospects summer 2019.

PROJECTED LINEUP

Joakim Nygard-Connor McDavid-James Neal. This line may never take a spin, but it was in existence for a time yesterday at practice. McDavid is a good bet for 40 goals, can Neal and Nygard combine for 25? Let’s set the total for the line at 65 total.

Leon Draisaitl-RNH-Zack Kassian. I like this line a lot, it’s been discussed at length for a long time. Dave Tippett has effectively married forwards 2 and 3 (Leon, Nuge) and forwards 1 and 4 (McDavid, Neal). 40 for Leon, 20 for Nuge, 10 for Kassian? Can this second line score 70 goals?

Markus Granlund-Gaetan Haas-Alex Chiasson. Are there 30 goals on this line?

Jujhar Khaira-Colby Cave-Josh Archibald. Are there 30 goals on this line?

Darnell Nurse-Adam Larsson. I like the idea of this pairing and they did perform well against elites in 2017-18. Can they do it again?

Oscar Klefbom-Ethan Bear. Klefbom is primed to emerge as a big player on this team, they just need to have playoff success and get him famous. Bear is in a great spot, needs to keep it by having an impact.

Kris Russell-Matt Benning. I’m fascinated by this pairing. Can they have success? I think so.

Mike Smith (Mikko Koskinen). My spidey senses say Smith gets tonight’s start, Koskinen the Saturday assignment.

Tomas Jurco, Patrick Russell, Brandon Manning

OILERS IN OCTOBER

  • Oilers in October 20150-1-0, goal differential -2
  • Oilers in October 2016: 1-0-0, goal differential +3
  • Oilers in October 2017: 1-0-0, goal differential +3
  • Oilers in October 2018: 0-1-0, goal differential -3

It’s all or nothing since Connor McDavid arrived. I didn’t like the Euro idea, don’t think teams with issues should be crossing the Atlantic a few days before the season. History recalls the first game of the season rarely ends with a close score during these years.

WHAT TO EXPECT IN OCTOBER

  • At home to: Vancouver, Los Angeles (Expected: 1-1-0) 
  • On the road to: NYI, NJD, NYR, CHI (Expected 2-1-1) 
  • At home to: Philadelphia, Detroit (Expected 1-1-0)
  • On the road to: Winnipeg, Minnesota (Expected 1-1-0)
  • At home to: Washington, Florida (Expected 1-1-0) 
  • On the road to: Detroit, Columbus (Expected 1-1-0)
  • Overall expected result: 7-6-1, 15 points in 14 games 
  • Current results: 0-0-0, 0 points after no games

The schedule is there for the Oilers to get off to a dandy start to the year. Six of the first 10 games are winnable in my opinion. I have tonight as a loss.

OPENING 23-MAN ROSTER

1 G Mike Smith, 37. Smith started slowly but had a .912 save percentage after the All-Star break. I’m not sure he won the starters job for opening night but Koskinen may have lost it.

2 G Mikko Koskinen, 31. Delivered in October and November (.924) 2018 but struggled afterward. Oilers need him to perform well, Koskinen will get plenty of chances.

3 LD Oscar Klefbom, 26. Four more years at just over $4 million, he’s a grand value contract. Per 82gp: 8-24-32. One of my favourite moments in preseason came on the night Tippett came to the podium postgame and raved about him.

4 LD Darnell Nurse, 24. Great skater, physical. Coverage and passing are not strength, he is going to be a big part of this team’s success or failure in 2019-20. Per 82gp: 7-19-26. 

5 LD Kris Russell, 32. The Oilers appear to be serious about moving him to LH side. A strong season could increase his trade value.

6 LD Brandon Manning, 29. One of the ongoing conversations over the summer was Manning as a No. 7D option. It came true, or at least to open the season.

7 RD Adam Larsson, 26. Shutdown defender is key to any success Oilers may have this year. His on ice five-on-five goal differentials since arriving in Edmonton: 71-55, 48-48, 45-77.

8 RD Ethan Bear, 22. He is one of the major surprises on this roster today. Bear drew rave reviews for his conditioning during camp, and is slated to be the first (among many) who will have a chance to win the No. 2 RHD job this season.

9 RD Matt Benning, 25. He remains on the roster despite trade rumours going back to summer. Benning’s goal differentials by season (five-on-five) since arriving in the NHL: 42-32, 50-47, 43-34.

10 LC Connor McDavid, 22. His speed and skill at full tilt boogie is intoxicating. In your lifetime there will be very few truly unique feats to delight you. This man in a hockey game is one of them. A giant walks among us. Per 82gp: 37-69-106

11 LC Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, 26. Per 82gp, he has scored 22-36-58, perfect for a No. 2 center. The issue for Nuge is finding quality linemates who can be effective on a line that will face tough competition.

12 RC Gaetan Haas, 27. RH center who has speed and two-way skills, we don’t know if his skills are a match for the NHL game. He’ll play tonight on the No. 3 line. Does not qualify as a rookie. Oilers are vulnerable here, Haas is a gigantic reach based on the fact his NHL resume is 48 minutes of five-on-five time in preseason.

13 LC Colby Cave, 24. He brings some nice things, including PK ability, faceoff ability and he gets chances in the offensive zone. The problem is he doesn’t score on any of them. Coach Tippett likes him for his utility and looking at the depth chart after Nuge it’s easy to understand.

14 LW Leon Draisaitl, 23. The big man scored 50 goals last season, a feat that puts him on a higher level. Don’t expect another 50, but something close to career average (per 82gp: 29-44-73) is reasonable. A real gem. He might play center tonight.

15 LW Joakim Nygard, 26. He has speed, giving Nygard a major advantage over other hopefuls. His SHL scoring pace (he was among the league leaders) shouldn’t be overlooked. He is getting a major push early in the season. Does not qualify as a rookie.

16 LW Markus Granlund, 26. He’ll be in the Rieder role, PK man who can score some, check some and maybe move from pivot as required. He did very little in preseason.

17 LW Jujhar Khaira, 25. Khaira is a rugged two-way forward who has shown signs of being a solid PK man. Per 82gp: 8-14-22, he has performed well in preseason in a checking role.

18 LW Tomas Jurco, 26. He has had some success (per 82gp: 9-11-20) in the NHL but it has been four years since he was a regular in the league. Looked good in preseason.

19 RW Zack Kassian, 28. Per 82gp as an Oiler, he scored 10-14-24, which is excellent production for a role player but doesn’t warrant No. 1 line work. He has been splendid in preseason.

20 RW James Neal, 31. I think Ken Holland made out like a bandit with this trade, even if it doesn’t work out. I think 16 goals is a reasonable expectation. Neal might play with McDavid tonight, could have a storybook beginning to his career.

21 RWAlex Chiasson, 28. Over the last three seasons, he output per 82gp is 16-15-31, and eight of his 22 goals a year ago came on the power play. He’s a bit of an odd match in this forward group (counting on 22 goals again is unwise). It’ll come down to where he plays and how much power-play time he gets.

22 RW Josh Archibald, 26. One of my favourite offseason additions, Archibald can PK, score goals, skate and play a physical style. No real negatives. 

23 RW Patrick Russell, 26. The numbers and reports from Bakersfield had him playing well in all situations, and we saw it in real life during the preseason. Impressive preseason. Does not qualify as a rookie.

INJURED

1 LC Riley Sheahan, 27. He can win faceoffs and PK, and if Sheahan scores 10 goals during the year Edmonton should consider this a successful signing. Currently in concussion protocol.

2 RD Joel Persson, 25. Along with Bear, he qualifies as a rookie. Persson’s puck moving ability looked solid, and his speed was impressive during preseason. On the night Tippett put him on the No. 1 PP unit, he was hurt before the Oilers got a chance to see him. Of course.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

At 10 this morning, TSN 1260. The NHL season begins!! We’re lucky to have Bruce McCurdy from the Cult of Hockey at the Edmonton Journal as a guest at 10:20. We’ll look ahead to the season, and talk about hockey traditions. Kris Abbott from OddsShark will talk NHL odds and we’ll chat NFL Week 5. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!

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723 Responses to "2019-20 Game One: Canucks at Oilers"

« Older Comments
  1. Crazy Pedestrian says:

    Oilers icing the puck a lot…

  2. drglen says:

    StixMalone:
    Is Khaira the new Lucic?

    I know right… cement hands tonight..

  3. russ99 says:

    B S,

    First real game in the new system, looks to me they’re for the most part in the right places but we need to be smarter when we get the puck back.

  4. B S says:

    Younger Oil:
    Has Cave had a shift yet that hasn’t had an icing in the duration of it?

    Has he had a shift yet where he hasn’t missed at least one easy clearing attempt?

  5. Glovjuice says:

    StixMalone:
    Is Khaira the new Lucic?

    Yeah, not sure where the good skating for a big guy comes from with JJ. MAYBE ten years ago but not now.

  6. BONE207 says:

    1st place teams close these kind of games out

  7. Bag of Pucks says:

    drglen: I know right… cement hands tonight..

    To be fair, they’re the best kind of hands for punching faces.

  8. Professor Q says:

    Glovjuice: Yeah, not sure where the good skating for a big guy comes from with JJ. MAYBE ten years ago but not now.

    He was taking the puck coast to coast solo, skating through the Canucks one by one, in the first two periods. He’s good.

  9. drglen says:

    10 bucks says smith scores

  10. B S says:

    russ99,

    New system is why guys miss their mark, or are slow to make a pass. Hemmed into their own zone with the puck on their stick ten feet from the blue line and no Canucks on top of them and not moving that puck is not a systems problem, it’s a player problem. It could be a one off, or season opener nerves, but it’s not good.

  11. Crazy Pedestrian says:

    Canucks win a lot of damn faceoffs…
    Conversely, oilers lose a lot of damn faceoffs…

  12. Suntory Hanzo says:

    The ‘ol wear out their top players play…

    Box Protection!

  13. drglen says:

    need a draw here.. who do we put out..

  14. drglen says:

    Suntory Hanzo:
    The ‘ol wear out their top players play…

    Box Protection!

    I know right… the ol… ‘ hope they don’t score’ defense.

  15. drglen says:

    mCD wins the draw!

  16. B S says:

    russ99,

    And yeah, I’m overreacting, but it’s frustrating to watch.

  17. Derek says:

    The Edmonton Rope a Dopes

  18. drglen says:

    I thought I heard iron there… ?

  19. Crazy Pedestrian says:

    Well we won the game, but damn those Sedins..err…Canucks can cycle the puck…

  20. Oil2Oilers says:

    Bear with me that was better than I expected

  21. russ99 says:

    Been quite a while since a goalie stole one for us.

    Lots of positives, lots to work on.

  22. StixMalone says:

    First place in the division!

  23. Material Elvis says:

    Leon Draisaitl: He Ain’t No Joe Colbourne

  24. OilersFuture says:

    Draisaitl is on pace for 246 points am I doing this right ?

  25. razor says:

    Looks like Benning has redeemed himself this game from that awful preseason. Two points. Solid D. Good passing. Just solid performance.

  26. Crazy Pedestrian says:

    ‘Nucks continue playing like that all year, they’re definitely in the playoffs.

    …makes me sick just thinking about.

  27. thehop says:

    How about that depth scoring…….

    sheesh

  28. BONE207 says:

    drglen:
    I thought I heard iron there… ?

    There was iron and the Oilers thought it was good.

  29. Genjutsu says:

    Like Charlie says . . . WINNING!

  30. B S says:

    OilersFuture,

    The math doesn’t lie.

  31. drglen says:

    Damn lucky to walk out of there with two points.

    Smith gotta play Saturday..

    .. Sam, don’t sell your house.. in fact.. don’t even unpack your suitcase.

  32. Bling says:

    Kassian, Drai, and Nuge were incredible.

    Klefbom was very poised out there, really liked that pairing.

    The problem with a Nurse/Larsson pairing is who is going to outlet the puck. Today, the answer was nobody.

  33. Material Elvis says:

    russ99:
    Been quite a while when a goalie stole one for us.

    Lots of positives, lots to work on.

    He was good. That puck moving ability is a huge asset.

  34. drglen says:

    Bling:
    Kassian, Drai, and Nuge were incredible.

    Klefbom was very poised out there, really liked that pairing.

    The problem with a Nurse/Larsson pairing is who is going to outlet the puck. Today, the answer was nobody.

    totally agree on Klefbom…

  35. Reja says:

    Good call Tippett on Smith first star easily.

  36. Bag of Pucks says:

    Looked like a team playing for a new coach. Too tentative and methodical. Not a lot of flow. It’ll come. Nice to bank points while they’re sorting it out.

  37. northerndancer says:

    Nice win. Just like they wrote it up. Great for the fans of the game.

  38. Sierra says:

    Looked like a bunch of guys playing together for the first time

  39. Bag of Pucks says:

    Sierra:
    Looked like a bunch of guys playing together for the first time

    Fo sho

  40. drglen says:

    So… balanced bottom six scoring just like Holland designed it….. .. Kassian… McDavid.. Leon . oh. wait..

  41. tileguy says:

    Bling:
    Kassian, Drai, and Nuge were incredible.

    Klefbom was very poised out there, really liked that pairing.

    The problem with a Nurse/Larsson pairing is who is going to outlet the puck. Today, the answer was nobody.

    Today, the answer was Smith.

  42. BONE207 says:

    So …
    Drai on pace for 246 points
    Kass 164
    CONNOR 82 goals.
    Is that enough for this fickle crowd?

  43. Pescador says:

    BONE207:
    Cooking some beef jerky for the dog.
    What did I miss?

    Forget the dog, I’ll get some of that jerky

  44. northerndancer says:

    Sierra:
    Looked like a bunch of guys playing together for the first time

    Agree. Canucks on the other hand threw the bisquit around like frat boys in the cafeteria. Different styles for sure. Oilers looking for those shorties. Canucks hitting the long ones.

  45. geowal says:

    I can definitely get used to Smith clearing the puck…maybe try not to ice it though.

  46. northerndancer says:

    On the other hand, some nice hits and muscle by the Oil. Even the new guys. I couldn’t see the names on my peasant vision. And couldn’t listen to the 30 second audio delay. lol

  47. northerndancer says:

    geowal:
    I can definitely get used to Smith clearing the puck…maybe try not to ice it though.

    He is such a gamer. Always hated when he would win against us. Must be fun to play with, though. At least when winning.

  48. geowal says:

    BONE207:
    So …
    Drai on pace for 246 points
    Kass 164
    CONNOR 82 goals.
    Is that enough for this fickle crowd?

    I picked up Draisaitl in my pool at #16….looking good!

  49. northerndancer says:

    geowal: I picked up Draisaitl in my pool at #16….looking good!

  50. Pescador says:

    Professor Q: He was taking the puck coast to coast solo, skating through the Canucks one by one, in the first two periods. He’s good.

    Ya but c’mon that’s not what the crowd in hear was saying
    Sooo, y’know

  51. northerndancer says:

    BONE207:
    So …
    Drai on pace for 246 points
    Kass 164
    CONNOR 82 goals.
    Is that enough for this fickle crowd?

    Advanced analytics?

  52. BONE207 says:

    Pescador: Forget the dog, I’ll get some of that jerky

    Yes, I spend $20 on meat, season it, air fryer & cut it into bite size chunks & he bites me when I pet him. Thankfully Mom is more forgiving & appreciative.

  53. Crazy Pedestrian says:

    geowal:
    I can definitely get used to Smith clearing the puck…maybe try not to ice it though.

    He’s gonna have to when the nurse/Larsson pair is out. Hell even when the Russel/Benning pair is out as well!

    Anyone notice that Bear was benched for most of the third? And I don’t think Haas even cracked 5 min of playing time. What’s up with that???

  54. drglen says:

    Crazy Pedestrian: He’s gonna have to when the nurse/Larsson pair is out. Hell even when the Russel/Benning pair is out as well!

    Anyone notice that Bear was benched for most of the third? And I don’t think Haas even cracked 5 min of playing time. What’s up with that???

    was bear benched in 3rd? I didn’t see that. Maybe last 4 minutes there.. We needed stronger board work/corner work from him to protect that lead… but.. otherwise good game .. the only guy who made breakout passes. But he’s going to have to ‘make sure’ at the end of the a close game like that. I’m sure playfair will be giving him some coaching.

  55. McSorley33 says:

    BONE207,

    Now do the bottom 6

  56. BONE207 says:

    northerndancer: Advanced analytics?

    Futurecast…via accuweather

  57. Material Elvis says:

    thehop:
    How about that depth scoring…….

    sheesh

    On a positive note, the penalty killing was pretty good. They took too many, of course. Not a lot of offensive talent but enough to win. The Oilers breakout was predictable, up the boards stuff, and the wingers were often not in position to make a clearing play or they were too slow to the puck and allowed the Canucks defense to pinch. They are going to have to be WAY better at this if they want to win without offensive depth. Cave, Haas, Khaira, Archibald, have nothing going offensively. Neal is way better than Looch; he had a few good looks tonight and made a couple of smart passes.

  58. drglen says:

    well, it will be interesting to hear tipps post game.. I wonder how honest he will be.. ..

  59. Pouzar says:

    Thoughts:

    1. Archibald: Yeah…not good
    2. Bear: Absolutely refuses to just “bang it up the boards”…retrieves puck and always looks to make a play.
    3. Bear aside, waaaaay too much “up the boards” break out.
    4. Mike Smith. Great game. 2nd best puck mover on the team.
    5. Bottom 6 is horrible.
    6. Matt Benning. Plus Tree.
    7. Drai was a beast. All over the place.
    8. McDavid. Chicken Dinner.

  60. Pescador says:

    Oil2Oilers:
    Bear with me that was better than I expected

    Bear passing was brilliant tonight,
    What a first game for the rookie,
    I know tonight was not his first NHL but it might as well have been.
    This is not the same player from 2 years ago, not even close.
    I’m honestly stunned by that performance,
    NHL second pairing mins no less

  61. geowal says:

    Crazy Pedestrian: He’s gonna have to when the nurse/Larsson pair is out. Hell even when the Russel/Benning pair is out as well!

    Anyone notice that Bear was benched for most of the third? And I don’t think Haas even cracked 5 min of playing time. What’s up with that???

    Bear had 15 minutes…afraid of the rookie with the game tight? I get that.
    2 minutes for Haas though…that sounds like an injury or something to me, unless he tried to shoot on the wrong net to start.

  62. drglen says:

    Material Elvis,

    I thought the third period PK was better, but it was nail biting shooting gallery in the first 2 periods on the PK. … I don’t know maybe the plan is to let the goalie stop the shot.. but it seemed pretty easy for Vancouver to pass around.. no pressure to make mistakes…. except for Nuge… he was excellent on the PK>

  63. BONE207 says:

    McSorley33:
    BONE207,

    Now do the bottom 6

    Easy peasy….
    82 games…0 goals for/0 goals against

  64. Pouzar says:

    geowal: I picked up Draisaitl in my pool at #16….looking good!

    Yer fellow poolies like to drink?

  65. Genjutsu says:

    Pouzar:
    Thoughts:

    1. Archibald: Yeah…not good
    2. Bear: Absolutely refuses to just “bang it up the boards”…retrieves puck and always looks to make a play.
    3. Bear aside, waaaaay too much “up the boards” break out.
    4. Mike Smith. Great game. 2nd best puck mover on the team.
    5. Bottom 6 is horrible.
    6. Matt Benning. Plus Tree.
    7. Drai was a beast. All over the place.
    8. McDavid. Chicken Dinner.

    Archie out for the Dane on Saturday night?

  66. Material Elvis says:

    Crazy Pedestrian: He’s gonna have to when the nurse/Larsson pair is out. Hell even when the Russel/Benning pair is out as well!

    Anyone notice that Bear was benched for most of the third? And I don’t think Haas even cracked 5 min of playing time. What’s up with that???

    Haas isn’t a penalty killer. Then the Oilers were down and Tipp shortened the bench. You would, too, if you had Leon and Connor on your bench. Leon was over 27:00 tonight.

  67. drglen says:

    geowal,

    lol… nah.. I think it was more like .. ‘what the hell do you think you’re doing’.” Tipp must have seen that the 4th line matchup was so much in Vancouver’s favor tonight he couldn’t really play them that much.

    on that note.. what did we think of Granland’s game? … (Not much i’m afraid.)

  68. pts2pndr says:

    Lowetide: Lowetide: 88 points. Goals for JP: 12
    Mrs. Lowetide: 95 points. Goals for JP: 15

    I am all for Mrs Lowetide! Sorry LT😉

  69. Crazy Pedestrian says:

    drglen: was bear benched in 3rd? I didn’t see that.Maybe last 4 minutes there..We needed stronger board work/corner work from him to protect that lead… but.. otherwise good game .. the only guy who made breakout passes. But he’s going to have to ‘make sure’ at the end of the a close game like that.I’m sure playfair will be giving him some coaching.

    You’re probably right. Didn’t really notice him too much at all in the third period. Probably a good thing. Not noticing a defenceman is better than noticing them for the wrong reasons. I will agree though that he’s currently the best passing dman on the team. If he can hold a roster spot for a long enough, it would be a treat to see him and Bouchard throwing the puck up the ice to Connor and Leon all game! And imagine the power-play possibilities…

  70. drglen says:

    Pouzar,

    yep..

    nuge also a great game.

  71. Pouzar says:

    Pescador: Bear passing was brilliant tonight,
    What a first game for the rookie,
    I know tonight was not his first NHL but it might as well have been.
    This is not the same player from 2 years ago, not even close.
    I’m honestly stunned by that performance,
    NHL second pairing mins no less

    +1

  72. Rebillled says:

    Smith was great tonight.

    What an upgrade holy mackerel.

    and Jesus was full fury on the winner. Music!

  73. Dac189 says:

    BONE207: Easy peasy….
    82 games…0 goals for/0 goals against

    Actually, I’d be pretty happy with that

  74. Scungilli Slushy says:

    Lots of wobble but that is the closest the Oilers have looked like a normal NHL team in years.

    Did what they had to, defended well for the most part, and the talent got it done against an organized opponent.

    I would also describe them now as a quick skilled team with size and toughness.

    Seems to have moved in the right direction so far.

    In all high level sports execution of the basics consistently is what I see as separating teams, the great teams consistently do it and move play the right direction.

    Pinning down the details is all that is left and will define if Tippet succeeds.

    There is enough on the roster for sure IMO.

  75. McSorley33 says:

    Mike Smith was really good.

    But that looked a lot like last years team. ( Leon & McDavid )

    Not sure what the story with Haas is…..but Colby Cave, wow.

    There were some awful, awful performances in that bottom 6

    McDavid and Leon are Just so good.

    Kass might have been the best forward.

  76. Pescador says:

    BONE207: Yes, I spend $20 on meat, season it, air fryer & cut it into bite size chunks & he bites me when I pet him. Thankfully Mom is more forgiving & appreciative.

    $20 ON STEAK FOR THE DOG???!!!
    Crikey, if he ever runs away I’m house broken, I don’t shed & I listen real well

  77. geowal says:

    Pouzar: Yer fellow poolies like to drink?

    There was a lot of beer references in the chat thingy. Pat Kane went 5. Fine player but…not there anymore.

  78. Pouzar says:

    Genjutsu: Archie out for the Dane on Saturday night?

    In a cocaine heartbeat if it were up to me.
    3 horrible attempts at clearing the zone and 1 of those costing the team a goal.

  79. drglen says:

    Genjutsu: Archie out for the Dane on Saturday night?

    ya, that’s not a bad idea. Odd thing is though, I thought Arch was the best of that trio in the pre season.. he did of a couple good pressures, but too much mistakes.. missed clears… we can’t afford these 2 minute shooting gallery shifts. Russell might get in. Probalby not.. first game.. win.. roster probably gets a pass.

  80. Pescador says:

    drglen:
    Pouzar,

    yep..

    nuge also a great game.

    Nuge is a puck wizard

  81. drglen says:

    Scungilli Slushy:
    Lots of wobble but that is the closest the Oilers have looked like a normal NHL team in years.

    Did what they had to, defended well for the most part, and the talent got it done against an organized opponent.

    I would also describe them now as a quick skilled team with size and toughness.

    Seems to have moved in the right direction so far.

    In all high level sports execution of the basics consistently is what I see as separating teams, the great teams consistently do it and move play the right direction.

    Pinning down the details is all that is left and will define if Tippet succeeds.

    There is enough on the roster for sure IMO.

    ah.. I don’t know. Jack and Bob agree team looks more structured.. . no lack of big bodies and toughness… but the goalie and the crossbar saved this game for us and the bottom six were basically overpowered. Agree though that some of that is ‘details’ ( like get the puck out)

    I don’t know , in these tight checking games.. I don’t see where that bottom six scoring is going to come from… .. unless they draw the penalty which is a definite possibility.

  82. Pouzar says:

    Pescador: Nuge is a puck wizard

    No pts though.
    Not gonna crack 50 like that.

  83. Material Elvis says:

    Russell coming in for Archibald is a good idea. If Yurcho is back, I’d give Khaira a night off, too.

  84. drglen says:

    Material Elvis:
    Russell coming in for Archibald is a good idea.If Yurcho is back, I’d give Khaira a night off, too.

    Nyggard at least found some edge at the end there ( great hit.. near boarding call actually) .. but Jurc’s gotta replace him on the 1.5 period top line… .. .. Was it just me or was Nyggard getting knocked down a lot too.. he’ll have to figure that out. khaira had some brutal moments though.

  85. Material Elvis says:

    drglen: Nyggard at least found some edge at the end there ( great hit.. near boarding call actually) .. but Jurc’s gotta replace him on the 1.5 period top line… .. .. Was it just me or was Nyggard getting knocked down a lot too.. he’ll have to figure that out.khaira had some brutal moments though.

    Yes, Jurco pushes Nygard down to third line: Nygard-Nuge-Chiasson(Gagner). I was very disappointed with Khaira’s defensive play.

  86. YKOil says:

    Did not see Archibald well. Most of the bottom 6 was limited. Was okay with Khaira’s game but it didn’t impress me; pedestrian level play but that was a plus for most of this group.

    Klefbom has a nice game but the defense is still limited.

    Liked Neal. Huge upgrade over what I saw from Lucic last year.

    Cannot be playing McDavid, Drai et al that many minutes. We are doomed if that continues.

  87. Pescador says:

    Shot attempts per Robbie Brown
    70 – Van
    42 – Edm
    Oy vey

  88. BONE207 says:

    Pescador: $20 ON STEAK FOR THE DOG???!!!
    Crikey, if he ever runs away I’m house broken, I don’t shed & I listen real well

    I would hazard a guess that you’d find a cozy spot in Mama’s lap as well you sly dog.

  89. Ribs says:

    Top players and goalie steal the game and everyone else looks suspect. They are who we thought they were *shrug*.

    It’s nice to see Kassian looking engaged. I predict he will score many goals this season if McDavid ends up playing a lot of games.

  90. Pescador says:

    YKOil:
    Did not see Archibald well.Most of the bottom 6 was limited.Was okay with Khaira’s game but it didn’t impress me; pedestrian level play but that was a plus for most of this group.

    Klefbom has a nice game but the defense is still limited.

    Liked Neal.Huge upgrade over what I saw from Lucic last year.

    Cannot be playing McDavid, Drai et al that many minutes.We are doomed if that continues.

    For sure, Khaira was not great but he was not the problem

  91. Gerta Rauss says:

    Pescador: $20 ON STEAK FOR THE DOG???!!!
    Crikey, if he ever runs away I’m house broken, I don’t shed & I listen real well

    It’s the biting he’s concerned about

  92. pts2pndr says:

    drglen: I know right… cement hands tonight..

    No he van skate and check and doesn’t make 6 mil a year! Give him a break.

  93. pts2pndr says:

    drglen: ya,that’s not a bad idea.Odd thing is though, I thought Arch was the best of that trio in the pre season.. he did of a couple good pressures, but too much mistakes.. missed clears… we can’t afford these 2 minute shooting gallery shifts.Russell might get in. Probalby not.. first game.. win.. roster probably gets a pass.

    Let’s not be too quick to judge. Best learning experience is making mistakes. Best way to remedy same is to use it as a learning experience and not punish. If problem persists then action is required.

  94. pts2pndr says:

    Ribs:
    Top players and goalie steal the game and everyone else looks suspect. They are who we thought they were *shrug*.

    It’s nice to see Kassian looking engaged. I predict he will score many goals this season if McDavid ends up playing a lot of games.

    The object of the exercise was for the third and fourth line not to give away gains from lines one and two and for the PK to be solid, Mission accomplished!

  95. Pescador says:

    Gerta Rauss: It’s the biting he’s concerned about

    No promises

  96. Pescador says:

    BONE207: I would hazard a guess that you’d find a cozy spot in Mama’s lap as well you sly dog.

    Not my fault, mama’s just so nice

  97. Reja says:

    Smith was in playoff form last night and I believe he’ll rub off on Kosh. I still think Kosh gets the start against the Kings and he impresses.

  98. elgruntus says:

    geowal:
    2 minutes for Haas though…that sounds like an injury or something to me, unless he tried to shoot on the wrong net to start.

    Hope he used Air Miles to get all those relatives to the game

  99. ArmchairGM says:

    OilersFuture:
    Draisaitl is on pace for 246 points am I doing this right ?

    Can you say German Gretzky?

  100. ArmchairGM says:

    razor:
    Looks like Benning has redeemed himself this game from that awful preseason. Two points. Solid D. Good passing. Just solid performance.

    You mean we don’t hate Benning anymore? I’m confused – yesterday we were throwing him out like an old dish rag.

  101. ArmchairGM says:

    Bling: The problem with a Nurse/Larsson pairing is who is going to outlet the puck. Today, the answer was nobody.

    I called it weeks ago. They may be the two best defenders of the blue, but putting them together presupposes that the other team has the puck all the time, which is less than ideal. We saw it last night: in 16:31 together last night, they posted a 21.21 CF%, 19.05 FF%, 25.00 SF% and a 16.74 xGF% – but no goals for or against.

    This pairing won’t last.

  102. ArmchairGM says:

    BONE207:
    So …
    Drai on pace for 246 points
    Kass 164
    CONNOR 82 goals.
    Is that enough for this fickle crowd?

    Don’t forget Benning: on pace for 164 points and +246!

  103. Professor Q says:

    So, Draisaitl gets 3 points and is leading the League.

    Somehow, Matthews gets 1st Star of the Night, Reilly Smith gets 2nd, and McDavid gets 3rd, by the NHL.

    Okay then. Even the official NHL is sleeping on Drai and can’t see a dominant performance when it’s right before them. He should be 1st Star.

  104. ArmchairGM says:

    Crazy Pedestrian: He’s gonna have to when the nurse/Larsson pair is out. Hell even when the Russel/Benning pair is out as well!

    Persson can’t come back soon enough… although Benning did a decent job of suppressing shots and creating offense.

    It’s notable that both Larsson and Nurse did much better apart than together, although the sample is tiny and usage isn’t taken into account.

  105. Reja says:

    ArmchairGM: Can you say German Gretzky?

    Malkin.

  106. Professor Q says:

    ArmchairGM: Persson can’t come back soon enough… although Benning did a decent job of suppressing shots and creating offense.

    It’s notable that both Larsson and Nurse did much better apart than together, although the sample is tiny and usage isn’t taken into account.

    I personally thought that Bear played better than Hughes, despite all the Hughes praise going on last night. Hughes isn’t as good of a skater as people think and he was very weak along the boards.

  107. ArmchairGM says:

    Crazy Pedestrian: Anyone notice that Bear was benched for most of the third? And I don’t think Haas even cracked 5 min of playing time. What’s up with that???

    Bear wasn’t benched in the third. He played a regular shift with Klefbom except when Klefbom-Russell played together on the PK and in the last few minutes.

  108. frjohnk says:

    Drai looks to be quicker this year. He was super “lazy” last night. What a beast!

    Noticed Kassian was backchecking very well. Nice hands on those two points he got.

    I love Mike Smiths intensity. He is gonna get burnt a few times this year with the way he plays the puck, but his puck handling is an asset.

    I noticed Nygard a few times. Neal as well. Rest of forwards not so much.

    Tippet found out why Hitch and Todd loaded up Drai and McDavid so much together. They are magic together.

    EDIT: forget Nuge. I liked his game as well

  109. frjohnk says:

    Professor Q: I personally thought that Bear played better than Hughes, despite all the Hughes praise going on last night. Hughes isn’t as good of a skater as people think and he was very weak along the boards.

    I think Hughes is a fantastic skater, with the puck he is going to be a good one, without it, well….

    Love how Drai threw him down with 1 arm like how I throw a newspaper into the backseat.

    With ease.

  110. Abbeef says:

    pts2pndr: The object of the exercise was for the third and fourthline not to give away gains from lines one and two and for the PKto be solid,Missionaccomplished!

    Agreed!
    I am hoping the bottom six improves from 40 some goals to 80. That is just less than a goal a game, so a game here or there without a goal is expected. The key is that we aren’t bleeding the chances when they are out (like the end of the first). We know the big guns will produce and that is the strength of the team. The PK looked better, the PP got chances, the goaltending was awesome, and the stars were stars (especially Drai, I thought McDavid was poor by his standards other than the goal). Lots of room for improvement but also pretty close to the recipe for Oiler wins that has been talked about.

  111. ArmchairGM says:

    Genjutsu: Archie out for the Dane on Saturday night?

    Archibald had a bad game, but his numbers are better than Khaira’s and Cave’s, who were his linemates all game. I don’t think it’s fair to target him.

  112. Pouzar says:

    I noticed Bear retrieving the puck and instead of rimming it around the boards he would take possession and look to make a play. That’s a skill even before he can attempt those beautiful passes. Very encouraged by his play.

  113. ArmchairGM says:

    Reja: Malkin.

    Malkin didn’t get over 200 points.

  114. Dr. Taboggan says:

    Love love love Drai & McD. Just amazing players.

    The corgis and shot clock were pretty discouraging. Barely cracking 20 shots is just not good enough.

  115. russ99 says:

    ArmchairGM,

    Going to grade Nurse – Larsson on a bit of a curve tonight with shot metrics, dumb 2nd period penalties and bad own zone puck play hemmed us in our zone way too much.

    This is one of those games where shot metrics alone without shot quality data (we kept their shots from the outside and contested for the most part) doesn’t tell the whole story.

  116. hunter1909 says:

    Professor Q: dominate

    dominant.

    What faculty do you teach from, basket weaving?

  117. Professor Q says:

    hunter1909: dominant.

    What faculty do you teach from, basket weaving?

    The Intricacies of Woodguy’s Phone is a particularly involved course.

  118. Pescador says:

    Pouzar:
    I noticed Bear retrieving the puck and instead of rimming it around the boards he would take possession and look to make a play. That’s a skill even before he can attempt those beautiful passes. Very encouraged by his play.

    Perfect assessment,
    This is what I noticed as well, he was quick to retrieve the puck, when it was on his stick his decision making was fast and decisive.
    9 times out of 10 he chose the simple outlet & it was tape to tape, sometimes hitting the forward in stride.
    Still some wrinkles to iron out but overall very happy with that season debut.

  119. ArmchairGM says:

    russ99:
    ArmchairGM,

    Going to grade Nurse – Larsson on a bit of a curve tonight with shot metrics, dumb 2nd period penalties and bad own zone puck play hemmed us in our zone way too much.

    This is one of those games where shot metrics alone without shot quality data (we kept their shots from the outside and contested for the most part)doesn’t tell the whole story.

    All my data is 5v5, no PK included. And I included xGF%, which takes into account shot quality / scoring chances. It was BAD.

  120. Profit says:

    russ99,

    Yeah – the commentators even hit on that once. Lots of zone time to end the first for the Canucks but they couldn’t get a shot in until the last second or so. 5 guys back, give up the points and contest the middle of the ice.

    Got burnt twice from the point, but I think that’s actually a decent strategy.

  121. jp says:

    ArmchairGM: Persson can’t come back soon enough… although Benning did a decent job of suppressing shots and creating offense.

    It’s notable that both Larsson and Nurse did much better apart than together, although the sample is tiny and usage isn’t taken into account.

    What do you foresee happening once Persson comes back?

  122. Andy Dufresne says:

    Reja:
    Smith was in playoff form last night and I believe he’ll rub off on Kosh. I still think Kosh gets the start against the Kings and he impresses.

    It would make some sense to start Koskinen against a weaker opponent like LA. However, I wonder if Tippett is going to make him “earn” his starts.

    Koskinen was weak in pre-season. Smith was good in pre-season and played great in the opening game. Does Smith keep the net until he faulters or there is a back to back.

    Message would be, you better play well/great when you get your chance or you might not see the net again for a whiule.

  123. jp says:

    Andy Dufresne:
    Koskinen was weak in pre-season. Smith was good in pre-season and played great in the opening game. Does Smith keep the net until he faulters or there is a back to back.

    Smith was .868 SV% and Koskinen was .864. They were both putrid.

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