Shy Town

The Edmonton Oilers didn’t play very well in Chicago. The young blue were exposed, the bottom six didn’t execute, the team’s best players missed some 10-bell chances. There’s not much to fret over, Edmonton was running some fine luck through five games and maybe didn’t get enough in the Windy City. They wasted a fabulous Mike Smith performance, but other than that I’d say it was a night where the correct team got the two points. There’s justice in that, if not satisfaction.

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, there is a Puck Drop Special offer here.

  • New Dom Luszczyszyn: Is the Oilers’ hot start for real?
  • New Lowetide: How will the Oilers compensate when James Neal’s scoring cools off?
  • 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: 5-1-0, goal differential +6

Yesterday in this section I wrote “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”. Edmonton would appear to be the better team based on early results, but you never know” and it happened just this way. The key for Dave Tippett and his Oilers? Don’t turn one loss into five. A big game tomorrow in Edmonton, another on Friday.

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 (3-1-0)
  • 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: 5-1-0, 10 points after 6 games

I predicted the Oilers would start 3-2-1 (seven points) and the team romped to a 5-1-0 (10 points) record in the opening chapters. Don’t you dare walk around gloom and doom, this is a fabulous start. I once saw a presentation by a man named W. Mitchell and it was maybe the most emotional life story I’ve ever witnessed. If you’re feeling bad about the Oilers, read that damned book. This has been a good start.

This was a fun game to watch because all of those new players faced some tough moments and had to put bad shifts behind them and perform well the next turn. Not all succeeded. NTS has the stats, everything is five-on-five unless noted, B flat and follow the changes.

LINE 1 Leon Draisaitl-Connor McDavid-Zack Kassian played 15:40 together, 14-20 Corsi, 8-11 shots, no goals and 5-3 HDSC’s.

Leon Draisaitl had an assist, two HDSC and three shots on goal. Connor McDavid had three HDSC, skated miles and played over 26 minutes (as did Leon). Both big men looked exhausted at times, but in Tippett’s defense they had five HDSC’s between them. Zack Kassian had three shots, one HDSC and was very physical.

LINE 2 Tomas Jurco-Nuge-James Neal played 8:11 together, 8-5 Corsi, 5-5 shots, no goals and 1-0 HDSC.

Tomas Jurco had a HDSC and man he drove to the net under heavy fire at least once. This is a man trying to establish himself. You have to respect that, but he needs to score. Nuge had a PP assist, PK’d like a demon and delivered a Nuge night overall. James Neal scored again, now eight in six games. My goodness Flames fans are going to be having nightmares about that damned trade this winter.

LINE 3 Jujhar Khaira-Riley Sheahan-Josh Archibald played 7:13 together, going 9-7 Corsi, 7-5 shots, 0-1 goals and 1-3 HDSC. This line was on the ice for the Kane goal.

Jujhar Khaira had a shot, was physical, but also hesitant and slow to recognize danger. Took 4 pims. Riley Sheahan had a great early chance, I would have rated it high danger. Solid on the dot. Josh Archibald had a stunning point blank chance and missed the net. His mark (Patrick Kane) got the first goal with Archibald also in photo. He’s not a fan favourite three games in.

LINE 4 Joakim Nygard-Markus Granlund-Alex Chiasson played 5:52 together, 5-7 Corsi, 4-2 shots, no goals and 1-0 HDSC.

Joakim Nygard played an aggressive game, had a shot and a takeaway. His speed is wasted on a depth line. Markus Granlund had two shots, a HDSC and won three of four faceoffs. Alex Chiasson had a shot, a couple of looks and a blocked shot. He did spend time with McDavid and showed well in a depth role.

OILERS 19-20

PAIRING ONE Darnell Nurse and Ethan Bear spent 16:30 together, going 16-21 Corsi, 13-10 shots, no goals and 6-5 HDSC. Nurse spent 8:15 with McDavid, just over seven minutes against Kane.

Darnell Nurse had two shots, a giveaway, drew a penalty, took a penalty, blocked a shot. His coach loves him and man does he make opponents pay. Ethan Bear had a tough night with the skilled Hawks, including Kane and DeBrincat. That play where the defenseman can’t let the winger drive to the net off the wing is played out dozens of times a week, Bear didn’t get caught but he did give up the lane. He remains a refreshing outlet passer.

PAIRING TWO Oscar Klefbom and Joel Persson played 11:40 together, going 8-14 Corsi, 2-9 shots, 0-1 goals and 1-3 HDSC. Klefbom spent 8:15 with McDavid, 2:19 against Kane.

Oscar Klefbom had one shot and two blocked shots, this pairing was under fire despite playing with 97 and not playing against the Kane trio. Joined McDavid and Draisaitl in looking a little tired at the end of a road trip. Joel Persson struggled, had a giveaway and got run over a couple of times. I think there’s a hitch in his giddyup when it comes to recognizing danger. How quickly he can adjust will dictate usage. I’d stay the course.

PAIRING THREE Kris Russell and Matt Benning played 9:51, going 9-9 Corsi, 7-5 shots, 0-1 goals and 2-1 HDSC.

Kris Russell is his usual self, played a little RH side and showed he is better on the left. Matt Benning played well enough to grab more time that never came. I think Tippett should give some of the Nurse minutes to this pair.

GOALIE Mike Smith was the team’s best player, stopping 32 of 34, .941. Stopped 8 of 9 HDSCs and the Oilers wasted a strong goaltending performance. He played the second goal strangely.

CONDORS GAME TODAY

Bakersfield is in action tonight, Kailer Yamamoto is announcing his presence with authority in California. The skill lines are populated currently with Zack Kassian and Tomas Jurco, and Yamamoto is one of the men who could put pressure on one or both all season long. Tyler Benson and Cooper Marody are off to good starts, and the defensive pairings are still figuring themselves out. Sounds like Shane Starrett will be out for a time, look for Stuart Skinner tonight and yesterday’s recall Dylan Wells to get increased time. Would you like a GDT for tonight’s game?

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

At 10 this morning, TSN1260, we start a short week with Jonathan Willis from The Athletic. Oilers first loss, possible lineup changes, can James Neal score 109 goals this season? Dom Luszczyszyn has an excellent article at The Athletic on the Oilers chances (link above) and he’ll join us shortly after 11 to discuss. Then, Corey Graham and Andrew Peard stop by the studio to talk about a strong weekend for the Oil Kings. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!

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244 Responses to "Shy Town"

« Older Comments
  1. OriginalPouzar says:

    Huge cycle shift for the McLeod/Cave/Gagner line – line change in process.

  2. OriginalPouzar says:

    Lagesson takes the puck down low, to Joe G. to the front of the net where Kailer was driving hard and almost buried another.

  3. OriginalPouzar says:

    Ugly goal for the Heat – off Lagesson’s leg and in.

  4. Munny says:

    leadfarmer:
    People really underestimate Yamamoto
    He’s got a motor that won’t quit
    He’s going to have an Nhl career
    And not because our depth sucks

    Agreed.

    OriginalPouzar: Guess they aren’t injured. I’m not happy with Maksi being healthy scratched. He’s a “real prospect” unlike a guy like Esposito, Malone, Peluso, Cave, etc.

    Agreed.

  5. Munny says:

    Flyers get on the board. 2-1

    Niskanen’s first as a Flyer.

    Flames out-shooting 31-16. Looch hasn’t cost them this one. Yet.

  6. jp says:

    OriginalPouzar: Holt talking about how deep the Condors all mentioned them healthy scratching Maksimov and Hebig.

    Guess they aren’t injured.I’m not happy with Maksi being healthy scratched.He’s a “real prospect” unlike a guy like Esposito, Malone, Peluso, Cave, etc.

    Wow. That team is absurd, despite their current record.

    And thanks for the updates, the PBP and the general news..

  7. OriginalPouzar says:

    After a good first 7-8 minutes of the 2nd for the Heat, the Condors have taken over the game again.

    3 solid possession shifts in a row.

  8. jp says:

    OriginalPouzar: 2020, hopefully.

    I agree in general, but there’s a point where best laid plans can be altered.

    What if he has 15 points in those first 9 games? And half the Oiler forwards still haven’t hit the scoresheet?

    If he remains consistently dominant, as reports seem to indicate so far, I’m fine with a November or December call-up.

  9. OriginalPouzar says:

    Condors take a 4-1 lead to the third – kind of a blah 2nd period – not a ton of action.

  10. drglen says:

    JimmyV1965:
    I thought Bear looked tired. The only reason I say that is the few times I saw him on the bench. The NHL is a grind.

    Persson doesn’t have the tools to play top four I believe, but Klef floats all boats right now. Nurse continues to impress. The building blocks are there for a good defence though.

    We really need Larsson back. Playing Bear two of three games would be an ideal way to ease him into the lineup.In the Buffalo game against Florida, Kruger sat young guys like Olafsson and Dahlin for a good chunk of the third period.He said he did it because they were tired.

    I think Kassian is bleeding opportunities on the first line. He’s missing too many set ups, missing on his passes, getting in the way occasionally and not finishing.

    The second line could be very effective with another winger who could help drive play.Jurco looks meh and Neal is more of a straight up finisher.

    I think once the Kassian effect dries up, we will see Neal moved up. Not yet though, he’s still looked much more good than bad, and willing to cruch or be crunched to get that puck in the corner or end boards.

    We need more from Jurco… it might not be there. ..

  11. pts2pndr says:

    OriginalPouzar: 2020, hopefully.

    If he continues like this he will, barring injuries be up at the trade deadline assuming the Oilers are in a playoff position and it will be on merit. I wish the young man all the best.

  12. drglen says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    The Oilers didn’t play great last night.

    Both McDavid and Drai were off with their hands (Drai with numerous passes picked off and McDavid still bobbling pucks).

    The bottom six, for the first time this year, at least to my eye, wasn’t able to keep and/or build momentum but were getting caved.It’ll happen and I do expect some changes for Wed (P. Russell back in for sure I would think).

    Smith was excellent but, at the same time, the 2nd goal, a back-breaker, was largely on him.Yes, there were mistakes that led to it by other but Smith started to come out to play the puck and when reverting to the net wasn’t able to set – it was a bad goal on Smith.

    At the same time, the Oilers had MANY chances – 3 clear breakaways (two by their stars), a cross-bard and a couple other great saves by Crawford.

    No breaks/luck or finish last night – they could have won the game.

    Oh well, 10/12 points is great.

    Now, lets get back at er’ and grind out a win against Philly.

    Yes in spite of it all, we still could have won that game, and I think they know that.

    bottom six was worse, … and Haas was out. Haas comes back, who leaves? I think you bring back Haas and P russell, and pull Khaira and Archibald, and mix and match. Granland is looking better to me ( breakaway aside).. I also think team is better with Chaisson in the lineup.

  13. drglen says:

    so… are we thinking that Kailer might get a call up this year even?

  14. drglen says:

    Munny,

    go flyers.

  15. godot10 says:

    Woodguy v2.0:
    Here’s something relatively interesting.

    Here is EDM’s 5v5 goal share last year with 97, 93 and 29 on the ice.

    29’s time with either 97 or 93 will be lumped into their time.29’s GF% is only his time away from both.

    18/19
    97 – 51%(77-75)
    93 – 44% (29-37)
    29 – 40% (14-21)
    None of 29, 97, 93 on ice 37% (26-45)

    Now this year:
    97 – 58% (7-5)
    93 – 67% (4-2)
    29 – 0% (0-2)
    None of 29, 93, 97 on ice 14% (1-6)

    The improvement 5v5 is all in the top 2 lines.

    The bottom six is much worse so far.

    Very small sample so hopefully it rises, but “Ken fixed the bottom 6” doesn’t hold water yet.

    The bottom six has contributed to only one powerplay goal against. Probably about 5 fewer goals against.

    Yeah, Holland’s bottom six cannot score, but they help out on the PK.

    As long as Net special teams > net goal deficit (with McDavid off). the Oilers should compete for a playoff spot.

  16. godot10 says:

    Jethro Tull: Either Connor ran the goalie or he didn’t. It was the refs phrasing I was questioning. I would have had no problem had he said, “call on the ice stands, accidental goal tender interference – no goal.”
    Or that the net came off – it was a close thing.

    He distinctly said the goalie had been run, which suggests a certain callousness. If it was accidental, ie; he was pushed into Crawford, it’s a goal.If it wasn’t the net coming off, it’s a goal.

    Any discretion doesn’t sound like the league protecting goalies. But I get what you’re saying, the rules as they stand are such.

    Goaltender interference is only a penalty if it is egregious. Otherwise it is not. McDavid’s was deemed accidental.

    So your either/or is incorrect. There three possible states, not just two.

  17. ArmchairGM says:

    OriginalPouzar: Bouch is playing with Lagesson

    Would like to see the two of them in Edmonton later in the year, perhaps as a pairing.

  18. Lightgestalt says:

    Munny: kumm

    That would constitute cannibalism – or maybe animals can gain weight through emotional eating, too?

    https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Kummerspeck

    On the other hand, maybe you are right and Kummerspeck is also the kind of bacon you eat in excess when you are sad and then put on Kummerspeck as a consequence …

  19. Lowetide says:

    New for The Athletic: Ethan Bear’s early success with the Oilers and what it might mean at the trade deadline

    https://theathletic.com/1296179/2019/10/16/ethan-bears-early-success-with-the-oilers-and-what-it-might-mean-at-the-trade-deadline/

  20. OriginalPouzar says:

    ArmchairGM: Would like to see the two of them in Edmonton later in the year, perhaps as a pairing.

    Potentially. Lagesson, absolutely, I think he can replace Russell at 3LD at any time.

    Bouchard, well, we’ll have to see how things go. He’s doing OK at the AHL level but isn’t dominating at either end of the rink quite yet.

    His ELC is subject to slide if he doesn’t play 10 NHL games – that should not preclude a call-up if one is merited but it is a factor to consider.

  21. Dominoiler says:

    Apologies, I don’t have time to read the comments to see the general feeling, but felt Mike Smith deserved more of a fire bombing for that 2nd goal against, it was putrid no?..

    He played quite well aside from that moment, but it was costly..

  22. OriginalPouzar says:

    gotta think Mikko gets the net tonight.

    Khaira had a tough game with the puck last game and made some “curious” decisions. He has been very effective on the PK though and its important that most of these bottom 6 guys can help on the PK.

    Gotta think they get Russell back in and likely Haas. I really don’t know who comes out.

    I could see Nygard moving up to 2LW and Jurco getting a night off.

  23. OriginalPouzar says:

    Any interest in scaling back Persson’s responsibility for a night and giving Benning some more minutes?

    Klefbom/Benning

    Nurse/Bear

    Russell/Persson

  24. Dominoiler says:

    lol.. Sorry, stuck in oiler fan mindset of always having something to complain about.. It was the only thing I’d nitpick from Ltd narrative..

  25. Pouzar says:

    drglen: I think once the Kassian effect dries up

    Keep waiting. He’s be damn good since he was put on that top line and despite the cat calls shouldn’t be going anywhere. Leads the team in CF%, xGF%, and 3rd in GF%.

  26. jp says:

    Dominoiler:
    Apologies, I don’t have time to read the comments to see the general feeling, but felt Mike Smith deserved more of a fire bombing for that 2nd goal against, it was putrid no?..

    He played quite well aside from that moment, but it was costly..

    It was putrid, but he played very well otherwise (and you can’t complain about he overall product even including the gimme).

    I’ve been surprised at the (modest) blame directed at Oilers skaters over that goal. IMO their mistakes on the play are inconsequential as they didn’t lead to a dangerous chance against. The goalie (any goalie) should have stopped it, period.

  27. jp says:

    Pouzar: Keep waiting. He’s be damn good since he was put on that top line and despite the cat calls shouldn’t be going anywhere. Leads the team in CF%, xGF%, and 3rd in GF%.

    Agreed, he’s been doing it for 50 odd games now, I don’t expect it to just stop.

    He’s 49-16-12-28 +7 in 2019. That’s an 82-27-20-47 pace. Patrick Maroon. It works.

    I do think he would work well with Nuge too though, and Neal with McDavid. Even without a drop-off in Kassian’s play we could see them flipped I think.

  28. Pouzar says:

    My word….catching up on the comments now….am I really going to have to defend Kassian on line 1 now?

    Also…Jurco isn’t scoring but that line is working. Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water here.

    Jurco-Nuge-Neal (5v5)

    GP: 5
    TOI: 39:19 min

    CF% 56.16
    GF% 75% (3-1)

    Time peeps. Give it time.

  29. jp says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    Any interest in scaling back Persson’s responsibility for a night and giving Benning some more minutes?

    Klefbom/Benning

    Nurse/Bear

    Russell/Persson

    I think it’s worth a look but Coach T hasn’t given Benning a sniff up the depth chart. I wouldn’t bet on it now.

  30. ArmchairGM says:

    Dominoiler:
    Apologies, I don’t have time to read the comments to see the general feeling, but felt Mike Smith deserved more of a fire bombing for that 2nd goal against, it was putrid no?..

    He played quite well aside from that moment, but it was costly..

    It was his 3rd such incident in 4 games, for sure he needs to cut down on these mistakes. And I think he has – I noticed that he generally passed to one of his defensemen in the past 2 games, rather than past them into the neutral zone. If he can avoid too many miscues with the puck and maintains his strong play stopping them, I think he’ll be just fine.

  31. ArmchairGM says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    Any interest in scaling back Persson’s responsibility for a night and giving Benning some more minutes?

    Klefbom/Benning

    Nurse/Bear

    Russell/Persson

    I’d like to see that. Benning deserves a shot at 2RD IMO.

  32. Pouzar says:

    Looking at Klef-Persson numbers.

    Why would we consider moving anyone anywhere?
    The numbers are good and Benning is killing it on 3rd pair (GF%)

  33. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    godot10: The bottom six has contributed to only one powerplay goal against.Probably about 5 fewer goals against.

    Yeah, Holland’s bottom six cannot score, but they help out on the PK.

    As long as Net special teams > net goal deficit (with McDavid off). the Oilers should compete for a playoff spot.

    Agreed.

    I wrote something similar later in the thread:

    PK GA/60 is a big deal.

    Especially when the PP is hitting.

    4v5 SV% is off the charts right now. Will be interesting to look at it in late Nov.

    Makes up for some shittiness 5v5.

    Need to be good PK and not be shitty 5v5 though.

    Its an improvement.

    Linky: https://lowetide.ca/2019/10/15/shy-town/comment-page-1/#comment-871593

  34. jp says:

    ArmchairGM: It was his 3rd such incident in 4 games, for sure he needs to cut down on these mistakes. And I think he has – I noticed that he generally passed to one of his defensemen in the past 2 games, rather than past them into the neutral zone. If he can avoid too many miscues with the puck and maintains his strong play stopping them, I think he’ll be just fine.

    He does seem to have cut down on the puck handling mistakes, you’re right.

    It’s near impossible to complain about his numbers even with the miscues (3-1 2.51 .917). He’d be among the best in the league with out those 3 GA (1.76 .942).

  35. ArmchairGM says:

    jp: I think it’s worth a look but Coach T hasn’t given Benning a sniff up the depth chart. I wouldn’t bet on it now.

    He’s had a few shifts. Small samples, but good things happened when he played up the depth chart. They always do, despite ppl writing him off as a 3rd pairing guy.

    5:22 with Nurse, 2 GF, 0 GA
    2:49 with Klefbom, 1 GF, 0 GA

    Mostly fluke, but he did get an assist on one of the goals while with Nurse.

  36. ArmchairGM says:

    jp: He does seem to have cut down on the puck handling mistakes, you’re right.

    It’s near impossible to complain about his numbers even with the miscues (3-1 2.51 .917). He’d be among the best in the league with out those 3 GA (1.76 .942).

    For sure, his overall numbers are better than I expected. I just hope he can maintain them, but if he starts passing to Bear instead of past him, those numbers should improve.

    Smith was credited with 3 giveaways in his 1st 2 games and zero in the 2nd 2 games.

  37. Pouzar says:

    ArmchairGM: They always do, despite ppl writing him off as a 3rd pairing guy.

    He does have some nice fancies with Oscar in 3 years worth of data. Color me surprised.

    I think WG has done some extensive posting on Benning playing up the lineup.

  38. jp says:

    ArmchairGM: For sure, his overall numbers are better than I expected. I just hope he can maintain them, but if he starts passing to Bear instead of past him, those numbers should improve.

    Smith was credited with 3 giveaways in his 1st 2 games and zero in the 2nd 2 games.

    +1

  39. jp says:

    ArmchairGM: He’s had a few shifts. Small samples, but good things happened when he played up the depth chart. They always do, despite ppl writing him off as a 3rd pairing guy.

    5:22 with Nurse, 2 GF, 0 GA
    2:49 with Klefbom, 1 GF, 0 GA

    Mostly fluke, but he did get an assist on one of the goals while with Nurse.

    That’s truly just scraps though. And he wasn’t put in a position to compete for a top 4 job through camp.

    The results speak for themselves though, so I think it’s worth a try.

  40. Ryan says:

    ArmchairGM: He’s had a few shifts. Small samples, but good things happened when he played up the depth chart. They always do, despite ppl writing him off as a 3rd pairing guy.

    5:22 with Nurse, 2 GF, 0 GA
    2:49 with Klefbom, 1 GF, 0 GA

    Mostly fluke, but he did get an assist on one of the goals while with Nurse.

    It’s interesting, Benning has been consistently the most heavily sheltered Oilers dman in terms of ‘on the fly starts/60’ under multiple coaches over this season and last.

    I wonder if it’s because they they think he’s poor at defending, puck retrieval, or zone exits with control?

  41. Ryan says:

    jp: That’s truly just scraps though. And he wasn’t put in a position to compete for a top 4 job through camp.

    The results speak for themselves though, so I think it’s worth a try.

    This season, Tippett is sheltering Benning with 20 more ‘on the fly starts/60’ than Bear!!!

    20 on the fly starts equate to some very long sideburns.

  42. jp says:

    Ryan: It’s interesting, Benning has been consistently the most heavily sheltered Oilers dman in terms of ‘on the fly starts/60’ under multiple coaches over this season and last.

    I wonder if it’s because they they think he’s poor at defending, puck retrieval, or zone exits with control?

    It is interesting. There’s zero question 3 coaches now are coming to the same conclusion on Benning, despite the sparkling on ice results.

    The sheltering is definitely making life easier for Benning, though I don’t think it can fully explain his consistent success in goal differential and underlying metrics.

  43. ArmchairGM says:

    Ryan: It’s interesting, Benning has been consistently the most heavily sheltered Oilers dman in terms of ‘on the fly starts/60’ under multiple coaches over this season and last.

    I wonder if it’s because they they think he’s poor at defending, puck retrieval, or zone exits with control?

    That’s a good question. I don’t know the answer.

  44. OriginalPouzar says:

    ArmchairGM: It was his 3rd such incident in 4 games, for sure he needs to cut down on these mistakes. And I think he has – I noticed that he generally passed to one of his defensemen in the past 2 games, rather than past them into the neutral zone. If he can avoid too many miscues with the puck and maintains his strong play stopping them, I think he’ll be just fine.

    That second goal was all on Mike Smith, despite some mistakes from the skaters – it was a non-chance and Smith made a mistake trying to be overly aggressive. It was a back-breaker and somewhat dims and otherwise great performance from Smith.

    Smith’s playing making is important and material. Stopping the puck and letting his d-man release to the boards for a short pass from Smith (as opposed to having to go behind the net to pick the puck up) is a huge boon for the transition. We need Smith to continue to do that – the neutral zone stretch asses are not necessary.

    Mike just needs to be a little more careful that’s all.

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