Everyone remembers the first game against the Chicago Blackhawks. It was in historic Chicago Stadium and it was the first game in Oilers NHL history. The game here, the Wednesday night in late November 1979, that’s a good one to remember. Close game, Oilers get two quick ones in the third and then an EN goal. Old Tony Esposito, with webs sewn everywhere to stop the puck and legends on every line. It was a wonderful time in Edmonton.
Here’s a fun game to play when you’re bored. At 11:45 of the first period in that November game, Wayne Gretzky and Stan Mikita took penalties. How many players do we need to get from those two men through today, and then back to 1915, using only teammates?
Well, Gretzky played with Alexei Kovalev, whose last season was 2012-13. Jonathan Huberdeau was Kovalev’s teammate, so it took two men to get us to today. What about backwards? Well, Stan Mikita played with Ted Lindsay in his rookie season, and Lindsay played with Syd Howe when he was a freshman. Syd Howe played as a rookie with Frank Nighbor, that takes us to 1915. So, to get through 104 NHL seasons, it’s Nighbor to Howe to Lindsay to Mikita to Gretzky to Kovalev to Huberdeau. I’ve done this forever. It can be a blast.
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, there is a Puck Drop Special offer here.
- New Lowetide: Raphael Lavoie delivers high-octane offence to lead Oilers prospect performances.
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Mike Smith is charged up, and that’s a big reason behind the Oilers’ surprising 5-0 start
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: 4 positives in the Oilers’ 4 wins that may not be sustainable
- Lowetide: Oilers’ Oscar Klefbom playing tough minutes with inexperienced partners — and looking good doing it
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: ‘He’s addicted to getting better’: What the Oilers are saying about Connor McDavid’s amazing start
- Eric Duhatschek: The lasting impact of The Gretzky Effect, 40 years after his NHL debut
- Jonathan Willis: Oilers who could win (or lose) NHL jobs early in 2019-20
- Lowetide: Several unproven players are earning NHL jobs and increasing roster quality and depth. No balance photo, but some traction early.
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Why Riley Sheahan could be a key ingredient the Oilers have been missing
- Jonathan Willis: Bet on James Neal rebounding with Oilers, just not all the way
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: How Joel Persson went from being a part-time teacher three years ago to patrolling the Oilers blue line (this is exceptional).
- Lowetide: Keeping an eye on Jesse Puljujarvi: Which teams could emerge as potential trade partners?
- 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
- Corey Pronman: Oilers No. 9 farm system.
- Lowetide: Oilers top 20 prospects summer 2019.
OILERS IN OCTOBER
- Oilers in October 2015: 2-4-0, goal differential -4
- Oilers in October 2016: 5-1-0, goal differential +7
- Oilers in October 2017: 2-4-0, goal differential -7
- Oilers in October 2018: 3-3-0, goal differential -6
- Oilers in October 2019: 5-0-0, goal differential +8
At some point the Oilers will run into bad luck early and the game will get away from them, and we’ll see an “L”. Tonight, Edmonton would appear to be the better team based on early results, but you never know. I think that top line, combined with competent goaltending, is close enough to the 2016 team for us to draw a direct comparable.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM OCTOBER
- At home to: Vancouver, Los Angeles (Expected: 1-1-0) (Actual 2-0-0)
- On the road to: NYI, NJD, NYR, CHI (Expected 2-1-1) Actual (3-0-0)
- 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: 5-0-0, 10 points after 5 games
Could the Oilers post 20 points in this month? Say, 9-3-2? That would be 4-3-2 from here. I’d say 8-4-2 is completely reasonable. That would mean going 3-4-2 from here.
2019-20 EDMONTON OILERS
Mrs. Lowetide and I are sitting in our family room, the dog has stolen my coyote blanket and is sleeping beside her. Traitor. This has been a good year, I’m thankful for many blessings and aware that good fortune has walked beside me for many years now. There are regrets and things I’d love to do over, but one suspects we all have those life experiences along the way. The kids are working/going to school, I’ve concluded the world they’ll live in is exactly nothing like the one I’ve traveled. There’s good and bad in that statement. I worry about them, this young group coming up. I guess my Mom and Dad worried about us too, it just seems as though the earth is moving underneath our feet more in these last few years. Stay close to those you hold dear, know that family can be anyone in your circle of influence. I suspect we’re going to be going back to tight knit families, Grandma and Grandpa living with the kids and their kids and maybe that’s okay. Be well. Take care of yourself. Happy Thanksgiving!
OILERS ’19-20 (’16-17) AT FIVE ON FIVE
- Corsi: 47.87 (49.99)
- Fenwick: 47.92 (50.96)
- Shots: 45.32 (51.06)
- Goals: 52.17 (54.25)
- Expected Goals: 50.66 (50.57)
- Scoring chances: 49.45 (50.06)
- Shooting percentage: 13.04 (8.28)
- Save Percentage: 90.9 (92.72)
- PDO: 103.1 (101.0)