Hard Nose the Highway

The Edmonton Oilers are winning a large number of games by doing the hockey version of dancing on the head of a pin: Grab a couple of power-play goals, play kitty bar the door at five on five, and hope the goalie is Bernie Parent. It’s a riff off the 2016-17 team, but with the added degree of five on five difficulty.

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, less than two coffees a month offer here. There is also a Christmas gift offer here.

  • New Lowetide: How many value contracts do the Oilers have and are any more on the way?
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Ken Holland responds to allegations that Mike Babcock mistreated players in Detroit
  • Jonathan Willis: How will Hart voters choose between Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl?
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: How the Oilers turned team defence from a weakness into a strength
  • Lowetide: Analyzing the Oilers’ latest roster shuffle and the defencemen involved
  • Lowetide: Oilers’ No. 4 prospect winter 2019: Tyler Benson
  • Minnia Feng: Unsolicited advice for the Oilers: Chinese proverbs edition
  • Jonathan Willis: Are the Oilers good now? Subtle changes add up to sustainable gain
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: How Mikko Koskinen is seizing his opportunity to take over the Oilers’ crease
  • Lowetide: Eight assets the Oilers could use to acquire Taylor Hall
  • Lowetide: Oilers No. 3 prospect winter 2019: Ethan Bear
  • Lowetide: Oilers’ No. 2 prospect winter 2019: Philip Broberg
  • Lowetide: Oilers’ No. 1 prospect winter 2019: Evan Bouchard

OILERS AFTER 31 GAMES

  • Oilers in 2015: 14-15-2, 30 points; goal differential -7
  • Oilers in 2016: 15-11-5, 35 points; goal differential +6
  • Oilers in 2017: 13-16-2, 28 points; goal differential -6
  • Oilers in 2018: 17-12-2, 36 points; goal differential +2
  • Oilers in 2019: 18-10-3, 39 points; goal differential +6

This year’s team owns the same goal differential as the 2016 club, but has been able to add three more wins and four more points from the margin. Either the Oilers are going to stretch that goal differential or there’s a market correction on the way. Either way, those 39 points are banked well before midseason. Good sign.

OILERS IN DECEMBER

  • Oilers in December 2015: 3-0-0, six points; goal differential +3
  • Oilers in December 2016: 2-0-1, five points; goal differential +3
  • Oilers in December 2017: 2-1-0, four points; goal differential +4
  • Oilers in December 2018: 2-1-0, four points; goal differential -1
  • Oilers in December 2019: 2-1-0, four points; goal differential -1

The goal differential is a concern, we have to assume that will improve when Kassian and Nuge return. This team hasn’t endured a poor start in five Decembers of the McDavid era.

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM DECEMBER

  • On the road to: VAN (Expected 1-0-0) (Actual 1-0-0)
  • At home to: OTT, LAK, BUF, CAR (Expected 2-1-1) (Actual 1-1-0)
  • On the road to: MIN (Expected 1-0-0)
  • At home to: TOR (Expected 0-1-0)
  • On the road to: DAL, STL (Expected 0-2-0)
  • At home to: PIT, MTL (Expected 1-1-0)
  • On the road to: VAN (Expected 0-0-1)
  • At home to: CAL, NYR (Expected 1-1-0)
  • Overall expected result: 6-6-2, 14 points in 14 games
  • Current results: 2-1-0, 4 points in 3 games

Oilers are now ahead of my overall projection but I had them 3-0-0 at this point in the month. It’s already been a strange month, like wandering through the moors of Devon early on a foggy morning.

OILERS 2019-20

All numbers via NST, five on five unless I’m talking about points.

LINE 1 James Neal-Connor McDavid-Josh Archibald played 11:28, going 7-10 Corsi, 3-8 shots, no goals, 2-1 HDSC.

James Neal had two shots, both HDSC, didn’t cash but was dangerous. I would like to see him spend 20 games with McDavid-Draisaitl. Tippett didn’t play him for the final seven minutes of the game. That’s a tell. Connor McDavid had one HDSC, several brilliant passes for chances, won seven of 14 in the dot. He was incredible on the power play, absolute fire. He needs 29 alongside at five on five to cash those passes. Josh Archibald was solid without the puck but wasn’t able to take advantage of a cherry assignment with the captain. Had a nice look but no sale. Lots of PK time for Archibald.

LINE 2 Jujhar Khaira-Leon Draisaitl-Sam Gagner played 10:25, going 7-11 Corsi, 4-7 shots, 0-1 goals and 1-4 HDSC.

Jujhar Khaira had one great chance and a couple of giveaways, won a lot of battles along the wall. He and Draisaitl could play keepaway along the offensive boards until the cows come home. Leon Draisaitl was outstanding on the power play, it’s like he and McDavid, who are split apart five on five currently, are in the movie “Same Time Next Year” and making the most of each precious moment in time spent together. Maybe there’s a better movie reference here but I’m tired and it is late. Won four of nine in the dot. Sam Gagner lost his man on the disallowed goal, made some quality passes and then didn’t see the ice for the final 6:28. That’s a tell, ladies.

LINE 3 Joakim Nygard-Riley Sheahan-Patrick Russell played 11:04, going 5-11 Corsi, 0-5 shots, no goals and 1-2 HDSC.

Joakim Nygard’s speed was on display during the game, he drew a penalty and was part of a two promising sorties. Riley Sheahan will never score a goal as an Oiler, he gets a chance a game I swear. Poor in the faceoff circle, two giveaways, didn’t play much on the PK. I wonder if Tippett was backing him off (as he did with Klefbom) on the PK so he could run this line against Anze Kopitar (7:40). Patrick Russell had an open net chance, lots of great puck pursuit and looked solid in 2:04 with McDavid. I swear to God Tippett sees something in him.

LINE 4 Markus Granlund-Gaetan Haas-Alex Chiasson played 6:34, going 1-5 Corsi, 0-2 shots and 0-1 HDSC.

Markus Granlund took a penalty and didn’t move the needle offensively, but he was effective in impeding progress and spent one minute on the PK. Gaetan Haas had a strong game, blocked shots, derailed progress tipping passes and even earned 1:03 on the PP. He played 3:04 against Anze Kopitar. Alex Chiasson scored on the power play, picked up an assist and was productive on the evening.

I am finding myself noticing both Haas and Patrick Russell doing more good things and seeing more success in recent games. Both are grabbing a stronger hold on their jobs with each passing shift. Both are forechecking demons.

PAIRING ONE Kris Russell-Adam Larsson went 11-16 Corsi in 18:09, 3-6 shots, 0-1 goals, 2-3 HDSC and 1-10 offensive-defensive zone faceoffs.

Kris Russell had a strong game, drawing a penalty, forcing the play to the outside and blocking a couple of shots. Adam Larsson had three giveaways but in all honesty I thought he was outstanding. Had one great scoring chance, moved well, was physical along the wall (he was a clamp on several occasions), and blocked out his man (Doughty) beautifully on the goal against. I’m not going to say he’s back but that was a truly encouraging game. This pair faced the Kopitar line (8:49) the most, bent but did not break.

PAIRING TWO Darnell Nurse-Ethan Bear went 12-13 Corsi in 15:55, 7-9 shots, no goals, 3-1 HDSC and 5-9 offensive-defensive faceoffs.

Darnell Nurse had three shots, one huge chance and a giveaway. A very physical evening, he was a hammer several times. Had a nice chance at the end of a PP early third period. A solid crosscheck on Dustin Brown while on the PK had an impact. Misfired on an empty net at the end of the game pass, causing absolute chaos over the last 90 seconds. Ethan Bear drew a penalty and made several of his patented passes, but also could be found dumping it out and playing things safe. I wonder if that was Tippett asking the skill players to be doubly sure on sorties.

PAIRING THREE Oscar Klefbom and Joel Persson played 11:52, going 6-14 Corsi, 4-8 shots, no goals, 1-4 HDSC and 4-0 offensive-defensive faceoffs.

Oscar Klefbom played under 20 minutes overall and was less noticeable as a result. Tippett clearly reduced his PK time, that should benefit the team in the coming days. I mentioned his recent runaway pinches and those appear to have disappeared, the guy is splendid so expect him to be back playing big minutes as soon as Sunday. Persson is still matriculating, he just needs to play games and find ways to get the puck out under duress. I like him but there will be growing pains. It’s a giant leap. Klefbom is a good partner for him.

GOALIE Mikko Koskinen was the star of the show, stopping 35 of 36, .972. He made several enormous saves and the calm look returned. He made a dandy save against Dustin Brown with less than four minutes left. I’d run him again Sunday.

BAKERSFIELD CONDORS

Condors (9-9-2-1) will be in tough on the road against the Stockton Heat (13-5-1-2), but Shane Starrett is back and he’s a big part of the Bakersfield team. I believe the Oilers will want to see him in Edmonton for a couple of starts this season, so it’s important for him to show well in the coming days.

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307 Responses to "Hard Nose the Highway"

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  1. OriginalPouzar says:

    Marody/Currie line along with Lagesson and Bouchard with great possession and draw a PP.

    Malone, Benson, Currie (on point), Day, Joe G (top line and Bouch were on the ice for a long shift to draw the PIM).

  2. OriginalPouzar says:

    Bouch, Jones, Yamamoto, Marody on the second unit – couldn’t see the 5th, think it was probably Jurco.

    Condors maintain pressure after the PP is over but end up giving up a 3 on 2 and trail 1-0.

  3. Harpers Hair says:

    JimmyV1965: From what I understand, 2020 is supposed to be an exceptional draft and very deep.Will the 15th pick be as good as JT Miller? Probably not. It’s more likely though than many drafts. It doesn’t preclude the good value of that trade though. The late picks in 2015 are just entering the league now. Way to early to judge those picks.

    The late round picks in 2015 have pretty much emerged.

    The difference between a third round pick and later picks is miniscule…just depends on how how good your scouts are.

    For example, in 2015, Vancouver picked Adam Gaudette in the fifth round.

    He would go on to win the Hobey Baker award and is now an NHL regular with 80 games played.

  4. jp says:

    maudite:
    Anyone that would toss a 1st round pick prior to expansion draft for a player you’d likely have to protect if you extended…is nuts.

    JimmyV1965: I’m not advocating we trade the first round pick, I’m not arguing against it either, but any plan to improve the team should not be derailed by the expansion draft.Good teams will lose a good player. That’s reality. Bad teams won’t. We’ve been there and it’s sucks.

    I’d add that the Oilers don’t currently have even 4 forwards one would worry about losing. Expansion draft is not a concern until they at least have 4F of note (and even then it would assume the Oilers protect 4F/4D rather than 7F/3D to begin to be an issue).

  5. Reja says:

    JimmyV1965: From what I understand, 2020 is supposed to be an exceptional draft and very deep.Will the 15th pick be as good as JT Miller? Probably not. It’s more likely though than many drafts. It doesn’t preclude the good value of that trade though. The late picks in 2015 are just entering the league now. Way to early to judge those picks.

    Holland walked into a dream scenario just like riverboat Pete, who for reasons that are unexplained sat on his duh I’m the GM ass when the iron was hot. Holland snap out of it and go get Josh Anderson he’s ripe for pickings.

  6. OriginalPouzar says:

    tileguy: Stop it, just stop it. I wanted to say something last night about your going ones about Mikes glove hand but let it slide. The 2 shots that hit his glove and came out, one was a hard shot from the high slot the other was a screened shot and thankfully his glove was in the right position.This whole weak glove hand story was started by McCurdy from an exhibition game last year where he equated his glove hand to a frying pan. It was true back then but not now. All goalies do not catch and hold every single shot, when they bounce out it is more of good positioning of said glove hand than poor catching skills. Mikko has flashed the leather many times this year, In Mikko we trust!

    No, I won’t “stop it” just because you want me to – sorry!

    I have never once in my life complained specifically about Mikko Koskinen’s glove had until yesterday and, in fact, believe that verbal is entirely over-blow and have posted as such many times.

    Further, I was not piling on to Mikko at all last night – I gave him kudos many times throughout the game and after and posited he was a big part of the win.

    At the same time, he had an issue catching the puck 3 times. Sorry, in my opinion all three of the non-catches (yes, there were three) were mistakes and not something we pretty much ever see from other goalies. It is very rare for an NHL goalie to get his glove on a shot but not be able to catch it.

    It was noticeable last night and two out of the three times the puck ended up behind him in the net.

    I have not posited that this will be a problem going forward and have even posted that I’m sure Mikko and Dustin have identified it and worked to find out the issue last night.

    I haven’t dwelled on it today except when I’m told that “to stop”.

    Mikko has been awesome all year and was huge last night in the win – he made some mistakes, as goalies do night in and night out – it is noticeable when it was the same mistake three times and not one that is made by goalies very often.

  7. Scungilli Slushy says:

    Harpers Hair: The late round picks in 2015 have pretty much emerged.

    The difference between a third round pick and later picks is miniscule…just depends on how how good your scouts are.

    For example, in 2015, Vancouver picked Adam Gaudette in the fifth round.

    He would go on to win the Hobey Baker award and is now an NHL regular with 80 games played.

    You are the Tikkanen of this blog for sure.

    Thanks for helping me to increase my ability to accommodate people who can’t seem to function positively. At least online.

  8. OriginalPouzar says:

    Kemp with a shot on net and plus 1 in a 2-0 win.

    Kesserling with a shot and even in a 6-3 loss.

    Rodrigue stops 46 of 51 in a 6-3 loss.

    I looked away to do some legal work and the Condors are now down 2-0.

  9. OriginalPouzar says:

    ScungilliSlushy: Mr Hall is a corker for sure, I’m starting to think we should hope someone in the Pacific or West signs him.

    The contract will almost certainly be a bad one for the team, contender talk or not.

    I actually do hope they obtain Hall – deplete that prospect pool a bit – then re-sign him and give themselves cap problems in 2-3 years when guys like Makar need to get paid and their current value contracts (MacKinnon) come due.

    I don’t think they need Hall and can become a massive year over year contender without him – Hall could make them ridiculous if he could play 70 plus games but he comes with the risk of becoming a cap anchor – that’s what I’m banking on.

  10. OriginalPouzar says:

    Missed the Condors goal – Jurco from Currie they say.

  11. Harpers Hair says:

    Scungilli Slushy: You are the Tikkanen of this blog for sure.

    Thanks for helping me to increase my ability to accommodate people who can’t seem to function positively. At least online.

    Happy to help.

  12. Harpers Hair says:

    OriginalPouzar: I actually do hope they obtain Hall – deplete that prospect pool a bit – then re-sign him and give themselves cap problems in 2-3 years when guys like Makar need to get paid and their current value contracts (MacKinnon) come due.

    I don’t think they need Hall and can become a massive year over year contender without him – Hall could make them ridiculous if he could play 70 plus games but he comes with the risk of becoming a cap anchor – that’s what I’m banking on.

    You know full well that if Sakic acquires Hall it will be on a very team friendly deal.

    BTW, MacKinnon said this week he will take less on his next contract to keep the band together.

    The Avalanche, who crushed the Bruins in Boston tonight, are set up to be the WC powerhouse for years.

  13. OriginalPouzar says:

    Welcome back Caleb – Jones ties it up on a PP with a couple minutes left in the second.

  14. OriginalPouzar says:

    Up and down on the out of town scoreboard.

    The cancuks failing to finish off their collapse in OT was annoying.

    The Sharks losing by 6 goals is nice to so as well as Minny losing by four – crush some spirits.

    Likely not catching STL but they lose to the leafs to keep them in site but the Avs keep rolling with a win.

    NSH up by a goal after two and the flames loss to LAK will be later tonight.

  15. digger50 says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    Kemp with a shot on net and plus 1 in a 2-0 win.

    Kesserling with a shot and even in a 6-3 loss.

    Rodrigue stops 46 of 51 in a 6-3 loss.

    I looked away to do some legal work and the Condors are now down 2-0.

    Well……bill them anyway🙂

  16. OriginalPouzar says:

    HarpersHair: No Chiasson, no Granlund, buy out Gagner….boom.

    Its not “boom” as that leaves the team two players short – you’ve subtracted 3 and only added one.

    At the very minimum $1.4M is added for those two players (and that is Cave or equivalent) but more than likely $2M plus.

  17. OriginalPouzar says:

    jp:
    I’d add that the Oilers don’t currently have even 4 forwards one would worry about losing. Expansion draft is not a concern until they at least have 4F of note (and even then it would assume the Oilers protect 4F/4D rather than 7F/3D to begin to be an issue).

    I would be concerned about losing:

    McDavid
    Drai
    Nuge (UFA but hope for re-sign, yes, likly prior)
    Kassian (assuming re-signed)
    Khaira
    Benson (maybe bust in two year, maybe legit top 6)
    Yamamoto (maybe bust in two years, maybe legit top 6)

  18. Harpers Hair says:

    OriginalPouzar: Its not “boom” as that leaves the team two players short – you’ve subtracted 3 and only added one.

    At the very minimum $1.4M is added for those two players (and that is Cave or equivalent) but more than likely $2M plus.

    Chiasson, Granlund and Gagner are taking up $6.6 million in cap space…basically dead money..

    A smart GM could figure this out in the shower on a September morning.

  19. Munny says:

    OriginalPouzar: Sorry, in my opinion all three of the non-catches (yes, there were three) were mistakes and not something we pretty much ever see from other goalies. It is very rare for an NHL goalie to get his glove on a shot but not be able to catch it.

    I don’t believe this bit is true.

  20. Harpers Hair says:

    OriginalPouzar: I would be concerned about losing:

    McDavid
    Drai
    Nuge (UFA but hope for re-sign, yes, likly prior)
    Kassian (assuming re-signed)
    Khaira
    Benson (maybe bust in two year, maybe legit top 6)
    Yamamoto (maybe bust in two years, maybe legit top 6)

    Nuge has a horse racing stable at Hastings Race Track in Vancouver.

    I wouldn’t get your hopes up.

  21. Munny says:

    OriginalPouzar: Jurco from Currie they say.

    Jurco… there’s no doubt he can score at the AHL level. He’s got a nice record.

    The weird thing is that it hasn’t translated to the NHL.

    But he needs linemates and he’s never been able to earn them or keep them when given the opp.

    He’s got decent hands, ok speed, good mobility and quickness, and a head for the game it seems.

    Should be more there, there.

  22. OriginalPouzar says:

    Great save on a SH 2 on 1 shot by Yamamoto – used Esposito as the decoy and ripped one far side that the goalie made a glove save on.

  23. deardylan says:

    X trying to bait and hook Y into fight and ruin the night? Thank gosh Y isnt biting…

  24. OriginalPouzar says:

    HarpersHair: You know full well that if Sakic acquires Hall it will be on a very team friendly deal.

    BTW, MacKinnon said this week he will take less on his next contract to keep the band together.

    The Avalanche, who crushed the Bruins in Boston tonight, are set up to be the WC powerhouse for years.

    I do NOT know full well that it will be a team friendly deal and I don’t imagine its less than $9M per year for term and that is the type of deal that could crater a team if he performs the way he has over the last 5 years.

    I’m very aware of what Mackinnon has said about his next contract 4 years from now when the market is likely $15M for him. Maybe he takes $14M.

    Yes, I agree, Colorado is set up to be a powerhouse for a long time. They don’t need Hall – that’s exactly why I’d love them to give up some solid assets to get him and then sign him for a big contract for term. That could make them all but unstoppable but it also could be a major anchor precluding that power house.

    If he plays the next 5 years like he did the last 5 – anchor.

  25. Reja says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    Lavoie finishes with the lone goal – plus 1 with 3 shots in a 5-1 loss.

    Steal of the draft. He’s going to be in Oilers silks quicker then folks think.

  26. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    Harpers Hair: The late round picks in 2015 have pretty much emerged.

    The difference between a third round pick and later picks is miniscule…just depends on how how good your scouts are.

    For example, in 2015, Vancouver picked Adam Gaudette in the fifth round.

    He would go on to win the Hobey Baker award and is now an NHL regular with 80 games played.

    Ethan Bear was taken in the 5th by EDM in 2015.

    True story.

  27. OriginalPouzar says:

    HarpersHair: Chiasson, Granlund and Gagner are taking up $6.6 million in cap space…basically dead money..

    A smart GM could figure this out in the shower on a September morning.

    That does not matter in the context of the discussion.

    Not signing Chiasson and Granlund and buying out Gagner does not just get rid of the cap that we could have used to sign other players. Remove that cap but add the cap of two replacement players – not less than $1.4M and likely $2M or more (plus Gagner’s buyout hit).

  28. OriginalPouzar says:

    Munny: I don’t believe this bit is true.

    I can’t recall the last time I saw a goalie have a puck bounce off his catching glove – it is not common.

  29. Munny says:

    Harpers Hair: You know full well that if Sakic acquires Hall it will be on a very team friendly deal.

    I know what you’re saying. I feel exactly the same way about Holland. Don’t you?

  30. Reja says:

    Harpers Hair: Nuge has a horse racing stable at Hastings Race Track in Vancouver.

    I wouldn’t get your hopes up.

    Your relentless. when Nuge grabs the cup 4th up it’ll be a fine evening.

  31. Harpers Hair says:

    Woodguy v2.0: Ethan Bear was taken in the 5th by EDM in 2015.

    True story.

    Absolutely.
    That s why crying over one third round pick is nonsense.
    Good players can emerge from almost anywhere after the first 15 picks in the first round.

  32. Harpers Hair says:

    Reja: Your relentless. when Nuge grabs the cup 4th up it’ll be a fine evening.

    I would wager he will be a feature player for the Seattle franchise..
    Nine years of losing and playing with palookas is wearing on him.

    See his exit interview last season for reference.

  33. Scungilli Slushy says:

    Harpers Hair: Happy to help.

    Thanks!

  34. Harpers Hair says:

    Munny: I know what you’re saying. I feel exactly the same way about Holland. Don’t you?

    No.

  35. OriginalPouzar says:

    Lagesson a blast from the blueline to bring the Condors back in the game – down 4-3 somewhat late in the 2nd.

    Bouchard picks up the apple.

  36. OriginalPouzar says:

    Safin with 1G/1A for Wichita – he’s creeping up on a PPG.

    Hebig with a couple of apples.

    Hopefully Safin can get a recall to the Condors at some point.

  37. OriginalPouzar says:

    Lagesson a blast from the blueline to bring the Condors back in the game – down 4-3 somewhat late in the 2nd.

    Bouchard picks up the apple.

  38. Scungilli Slushy says:

    Harpers Hair: You know full well that if Sakic acquires Hall it will be on a very team friendly deal.

    BTW, MacKinnon said this week he will take less on his next contract to keep the band together.

    The Avalanche, who crushed the Bruins in Boston tonight, are set up to be the WC powerhouse for years.

    They are. They do have cap concerns coming up, have been a budget team, they haven’t ‘had’ great revenue historically. They won’t keep them all, if smart can restock by trading off good players.

    Signing Hall might be good over time for the Good Guys.

  39. Scungilli Slushy says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    Lagesson a blast from the blueline to bring the Condors back in the game – down 4-3 somewhat late in the 2nd.

    Bouchard picks up the apple.

    I’m thinking Lagesson might be the best partner for Bouchard in the future.

  40. Lowetide says:

    Harpers Hair: Nuge has a horse racing stable at Hastings Race Track in Vancouver.

    I wouldn’t get your hopes up.

    If only Nuge had been a team player, someone who put the greater good ahead of selfish personal goals.

    In all seriousness, the day RNH leaves town I’ll be sad. He has been a wonderful player to watch these years.

  41. New Improved Darkness says:

    There’s a lot of pop music that holds my interest for the first two minutes of a three minute single. Repetition is not my middle name. Laurie Anderson and Tom Waits are inventive enough to keep me interested. Listened to some Moby after the mentions here. Pretty good. Not dialing out after the first two minutes.

    But there’s another category, which I might call “elites” where mere repetition ascends to the sublime. Such as the Everly Brothers.

    All I Have To Do Is Dream/Cathy’s Clown

    When I go through a Rolling Stone Top 100, that’s a track I’ll actually finish. Same with Roy Orbison.

    I’m more likely to actually play Zakir Hussain & Rakesh Chaurasia. Manic drum solos. Some weird mixture of authentic and westernized (the William Tell Overture makes a brief appearance on a drum around 44:00 minutes in).

    I had a whole bunch of favourite Indian music tracks on my list, but one or more accounts were terminated, and most of my links from a year ago are dead now.

    Jagadodharana: Veena S. Balachander At 9:30, just for the briefest moment, he bends and fuzzes his tone enough to make you think he’s about to riff on Spirit in the Sky.

    The famous electric bassist Mark Egan cites Balachander as a major influence on his music. At one time, Balachander held the record for cutting the highest number of records (21 in India, and 6 outside India). The 12-LP set encompassing the 72 melakartas is a piece of work that has no parallel.

    I don’t listen to Balachander as much as I should for the same reason I don’t listen to Bartok as much as I should: I am not worthy. But more to the point, it takes a lot of energy to keep up, so I am only worthy when I’m unusually energetic, which certainly isn’t every day.

  42. OriginalPouzar says:

    NSH win a win which isn’t ideal but not a huge deal.

    Dallas keeping it going up by 3 on the Isles – not ideal.

    At least the flames are down 2-0 in the first to the Kings – don’t trust that score though.

  43. OriginalPouzar says:

    Ooop, hottest flame, Milan Lucic cuts the lead to 2-1.

  44. Harpers Hair says:

    Lowetide: If only Nuge had been a team player, someone who put the greater good ahead of selfish personal goals.

    In all seriousness, the day RNH leaves town I’ll be sad. He has been a wonderful player to watch these years.

    Agree completely..
    He’s been an absolute prince to the team and my family.
    But I can’t imagine he wants to end his career playing with schlubs.
    He pretty much said so last spring.

  45. Munny says:

    OriginalPouzar: I can’t recall the last time I saw a goalie have a puck bounce off his catching glove – it is not common.

    It is to my recall. There are plenty of times… when a laser is released, or a good screen is set up, or a quick cross ice pass one timer, a spectacular roofie in tight, whatever, that goalies all around the NHL only get a piece of the puck. This is phenomena we see all the time.

    As for common, that depends on the definition of common, but it is certainly common to all goalies,.as it is situation driven. And like all ice events, they can come and go in bunches.

    Are they good plays? Depends. When it’s the best anyone could do because of what’s happening then yes. If you should have done better (weak shot for eg). then no.

  46. Lowetide says:

    Harpers Hair: Agree completely..
    He’s been an absolute prince to the team and my family.
    But I can’t imagine he wants to end his career playing with schlubs.
    He pretty much said so last spring.

    Don’t lose hope, maybe he’ll sign with the schlubs because he wants to play in Vancouver. Could happen.

  47. Johnny skid says:

    Harpers Hair: Agree completely..
    He’s been an absolute prince to the team and my family.
    But I can’t imagine he wants to end his career playing with schlubs.
    He pretty much said so last spring.

    funny thing you of all people calling someone a schlubs because that would be a description that fits you perfectly…

  48. Harpers Hair says:

    Lowetide: Don’t lose hope, maybe he’ll sign with the schlubs because he wants to play in Vancouver. Could happen.

    Wanna put the Oilers winger depth up against the shlubs in Vancouver?
    Don’t think you’ll like the results.

  49. Lowetide says:

    Harpers Hair: Wanna put the Oilers winger depth up against the shlubs in Vancouver?
    Don’t think you’ll like the results.

    Canucks have a fine young team and far better depth than the Oilers. Of course, Edmonton has McDavid and Leon and that’s better than Pettersson and Boeser. So, it’s going to be a fun seven years!!

  50. tileguy says:

    Munny,

    Perhaps tomorrow we can all look for instances where the puck hits the glove but is not caught and decide if it was a mistake or a good save.

  51. OriginalPouzar says:

    HarpersHair: I would wager he will be a feature player for the Seattle franchise..
    Nine years of losing and playing with palookas is wearing on him.

    See his exit interview last season for reference.

    Seems like he’s doing alot of winning this year – more than, say, Bo Horvat – been a loooong time since those 6 playoff games. At least avoiding the collapse to the Sabres has allow his team to hang on to that 2nd wild card position, for now.

    I’m sure he’s hating the PP time with those league leading palookas.

  52. Kinger_Oil.redux says:

    Harpers Hair: Absolutely.
    That s why crying over one third round pick is nonsense.
    Good players can emerge from almost anywhere after the first 15 picks in the first round.

    – I’m just to go ahead and you credit for just an all pro jab

    – whether it was intentional or not I see what you did there. What comes after the 15th pick? I think we have one just after the 15th pick once didn’t we?

    – Props. And if I just read into that it doesn’t matter if it was an unintentional all world allusion that may or may not have been misconstrued

  53. Munny says:

    I keep telling myself, don’t put on the Flamers game.

    One should be careful about what one lets past one’s eye.

    But moths like their flame…

    Wut?

    *runs for the Listermint*

  54. Ryan says:

    Woodguy v2.0: Ethan Bear was taken in the 5th by EDM in 2015.

    True story.

    I can’t go back pages in the comment section on my iPad.

    Per our previous discussion, the short answer is that there’s no evidence to support Godot’s theory.

    Now, Godot’s a smart guy and a he’s a keen observer of the game.

    However, from a cursory look at Corsica and MoneyPuck (results for expected save percentage are similar but slightly discordant) do not suggest that Tippet deploys a system that pushes shots to high danger areas that inflate goalie save percentage.

    Corsica has the delta on SV minus expected SV as:

    (5v5)

    Smith: -1.28
    Koskinen: +0.39

    From his last year with the yotes.

    Smith: + 0.27
    Domingue: – 0.34

    Props to Corsica for finally working on iPad.

    However, there’s a huge spike in 4v5 Sv % this season

    Smith: +5.8
    Koskinen: + 4.3

  55. Munny says:

    tileguy,

    Why wait till tomorrow?

  56. OriginalPouzar says:

    Good idea not getting to excited about that two-goal Kings lead…

    Condors getting crushed by the Heat – 7-3 now.

  57. Harpers Hair says:

    OriginalPouzar: Seems like he’s doing alot of winning this year – more than, say, Bo Horvat – been a loooong time since those 6 playoff games. At least avoiding the collapse to the Sabres has allow his team to hangon to that 2nd wild card position, for now.

    I’m sure he’s hating the PP time with those league leading palookas.

    Meh.
    If his future is playing with Benson and the corpse of Yamamoto, I’m sure he’ll walk.

  58. flyfish1168 says:

    OriginalPouzar: How have you seen him on the PK?

    Covers well with use of his big body. But slow to get to the point. I like to see players with being good at more than one thing. His face off been not good lately. That hurts since that is to be why he was brought in.

  59. Reja says:

    That was one nasty elbow. LA will rally in third.

  60. Munny says:

    Harpers Hair: Meh.
    If his future is playing with Benson and the corpse of Yamamoto, I’m sure he’ll walk.

    Funny or drunk? I can’t decide…

  61. Harpers Hair says:

    Munny: Funny or drunk?I can’t decide…

    Both.

  62. Yeti says:

    New Improved Darkness: The famous electric bassist Mark Egan cites Balachander as a major influence on his music.

    Love both Egan and Balachandra. Never knew there was a link.

  63. Sierra says:

    OriginalPouzar: When Benning is back, he won’t be hurt…….

    You post umpteen times in every thread about Hall’s limited games played and yet you make a stupid post like this in response to Benning’s repeated trips to IR.

  64. Munny says:

    Reja:
    That was one nasty elbow. LA will rally in third.

    Effin better. I’m holding you to this, Reja.

  65. Reja says:

    Harpers Hair: I would wager he will be a feature player for the Seattle franchise..
    Nine years of losing and playing with palookas is wearing on him.

    See his exit interview last season for reference.

    We all know you would bolt for the cash will see what Nuge does yappy.

  66. Reja says:

    Munny: Effin better. I’m holding you to this, Reja.

    That’s one nasty elbow launch for no apparent reason he might have ended that kids career. Even the paid Flames trolls Burke and Hrudey didn’t know what to say.

  67. jp says:

    Harpers Hair: I would wager he will be a feature player for the Seattle franchise..
    Nine years of losing and playing with palookas is wearing on him.

    See his exit interview last season for reference.

    Harpers Hair: Agree completely..
    He’s been an absolute prince to the team and my family.
    But I can’t imagine he wants to end his career playing with schlubs.
    He pretty much said so last spring.

    Huh.

  68. OriginalPouzar says:

    tileguy:
    Munny,

    Perhaps tomorrow we can all look for instances where the puck hits the glove but is not caught and decide if it was a mistake or a good save.

    Perhaps tomorrow you can engage in conversation that interests you and ignore those that don’t?

  69. Harpers Hair says:

    Lucic with his second point.

  70. Reja says:

    Munny: Effin better. I’m holding you to this, Reja.

    After the boys seen that nasty elbow launch there going head hunting if the score dictates it.

  71. Harpers Hair says:

    jp:
    Huh.

    What don’t you understand?

  72. OriginalPouzar says:

    HarpersHair: Meh.
    If his future is playing with Benson and the corpse of Yamamoto, I’m sure he’ll walk.

    and that is your right and your pejorative.

    Of course, you are sure of many things happening that don’t seem to.

  73. jp says:

    Harpers Hair: Nuge has a horse racing stable at Hastings Race Track in Vancouver.

    I wouldn’t get your hopes up.

    Harpers Hair: Wanna put the Oilers winger depth up against the shlubs in Vancouver?
    Don’t think you’ll like the results.

    It’s a shame the Canucks will still have $15M+ in essentially dead cap space owed to Eriksson, Beagle, Roussel and Luongo when Nuge is slated to hit the open market.

    But yeah, winger depth.

  74. jp says:

    Harpers Hair: What don’t you understand?

    ” I would wager he will be a feature player for the Seattle franchise.. But I can’t imagine he wants to end his career playing with schlubs.”

    Or you think Seattle will be Vegas?

  75. OriginalPouzar says:

    Sierra: You post umpteen times in every thread about Hall’s limited games played and yet you make a stupid post like this in response to Benning’s repeated trips to IR.

    I said when Benning comes back in to the lineup it will be a boon.

    You said he’s hurt and this is true.

    Of course, when he comes back, he will be healthy – I thought it was implied from my post.

    When he comes back, once he’s healthy, it will be a boon. End stop, my opinion.

    Nothing said about potential future injuries and certainly not in the context of signing a player to a long term contract for huge money.

  76. HT Joe says:

    Harpers Hair: But I can’t imagine he wants to end his career playing with schlubs.
    He pretty much said so last spring.

    Man, if RNH leaves and the Oilers fail to re-sign Kassian, the Oilers top 12 will have 2 actual NHL players. Yowza. This year may be Connor’s and Leon’s best last chance for a deep playoff run.

  77. Harpers Hair says:

    jp:
    It’s a shame the Canucks will still have $15M+ in essentially dead cap space owed to Eriksson, Beagle, Roussel and Luongo when Nuge is slated to hit the open market.

    But yeah, winger depth.

    It’s a shame that Beagle and Roussel are very valuable players and Eiriksson can easily be bought out by then.

    But I don’t think there’s any chance Vancouver would be interested in Nuge.

    They already have three fabulous centers in Petterson, Horvat and Gaudette.

    Nuge will sign in Seattle.

  78. Twinkle Mo' Fo' Toes says:

    Reja: That’s one nastyelbow launch for no apparent reason he might have ended that kids career. Even the paid Flames trolls Burke and Hrudey didn’t know what to say.

    What happened, who was involved?

  79. OriginalPouzar says:

    HTJoe: Man, if RNH leaves and the Oilers fail to re-sign Kassian, the Oilers top 12 will have 2 actual NHL players. Yowza.This year may be Connor’s and Leon’s best last chance for a deep playoff run.

    Because the Oilers would just take that $8M plus the $4M from Russell not being under contract and do nothing?

  80. jp says:

    Harpers Hair: It’s a shame that Beagle and Roussel are very valuable players and Eiriksson can easily be bought out by then.

    But I don’t think there’s any chance Vancouver would be interested in Nuge.

    They already have three fabulous centers in Petterson, Horvat and Gaudette.

    Nuge will sign in Seattle.

    Beagle and Roussel will be mid-30s by then. They’re overpaid for what they do now.

    Easy buyout? Capfriendly tells me a 2021 Eriksson buyout will cost $4M then $1M vs $6M X 1. His is almost as bad as the Lucic deal. And he’ll be 36.

    Do you think Pettersson and Gaudette will be playing C full time by then? I guess Gaudette will need to start winning more than 30% of his face-offs.

    And here I thought Nuge was fabulous.

  81. flyfish1168 says:

    Lowetide: Canucks have a fine young team and far better depth than the Oilers. Of course, Edmonton has McDavid and Leon and that’s better than Pettersson and Boeser. So, it’s going to be a fun seven years!!

    Quinn Hughes maybe the difference. I don’t think we have anyone close to him in our system.

  82. Harpers Hair says:

    Reja:
    That was one nasty elbow. LA will rally in third.

    Looks like LA is buying the pizza,

  83. Harpers Hair says:

    jp: Beagle and Roussel will be mid-30s by then. They’re overpaid for what they do now.

    Easy buyout? Capfriendly tells me a 2021 Eriksson buyout will cost $4M then $1M vs $6M X 1. His is almost as bad as the Lucic deal. And he’ll be 36.

    Do you think Pettersson and Gaudette will be playing C full time by then? I guess Gaudette will need to start winning more than 30% of his face-offs.

    And here I thought Nuge was fabulous.

    Good grief.
    Beagle and Roussel have two years left on their contracts.
    This is not an issue.

  84. Munny says:

    Harpers Hair,

    Yup. Extra cheese.

  85. Harpers Hair says:

    OriginalPouzar: Because the Oilers would just take that $8M plus the $4M from Russell not being under contract and do nothing?

    They’ll likely piss it away on Granlunds.

  86. Lowetide says:

    flyfish1168: Quinn Hughes maybe the difference. I don’t think we have anyone close to him in our system.

    He’s crazy good no doubt.

  87. Bank Shot says:

    Harpers Hair: They’ll likely piss it away on Granlunds.

    Oh gawd. Someone gets frisky every time the Canucks win two in a row. lol

  88. JimmyV1965 says:

    Harpers Hair: Wanna put the Oilers winger depth up against the shlubs in Vancouver?
    Don’t think you’ll like the results.

    This ain’t saying much. The Canucks winger depth is meh. The Oilers likely have the worst in the league. Boesser and Miller are great. The rest are meh.

  89. Munny says:

    Harpers Hair: Looks like LA is buying the pizza,

    Three in a row for the Flamingos.

    Still only 4-5-1 in their last 10. And on the outside of the playoffs looking in.

    They plays the Avs next.
    Then Zona on a back-to-back.

  90. JimmyV1965 says:

    Lowetide: Canucks have a fine young team and far better depth than the Oilers. Of course, Edmonton has McDavid and Leon and that’s better than Pettersson and Boeser. So, it’s going to be a fun seven years!!

    Now let’s compare dmen depth.

  91. JimmyV1965 says:

    Harpers Hair: It’s a shame that Beagle and Roussel are very valuable players and Eiriksson can easily be bought out by then.

    But I don’t think there’s any chance Vancouver would be interested in Nuge.

    They already have three fabulous centers in Petterson, Horvat and Gaudette.

    Nuge will sign in Seattle.

    It’s kinda sad when you drop names like Rousell and Beagle as winger depth. Both guys at $3 mill for two more years after this. Frankly, I’d rather have Chiasson for one more year at $2.2 mill.

  92. who says:

    OriginalPouzar: Are you sure on point 1 because he was only worth the cap hit you are willing to give him once in the last 5 years – I’m not sure he was worth the $6M cap hit more than twice (was 65 points worth $6M)?

    No. I’m not sure.
    And if someone younger and cheaper is available I would prefer that.
    Problem is, someone younger and cheaper may cost more in assets. The biggest asset sent away in my proposal is probably the 2020 first rounder. And we are taking back a pick that will probably only be 10 to 15 spots lower. Plus we are clearing the cap space to sign Hall.
    I’m betting there is a bigger value in Halls contract at 8.5 than there is in Neals at 5.75.
    This move also doesn’t cost a significant piece on the NHL roster for the next 3 years, so it shouldn’t hurt their ability to contend right away.

  93. northerndancer says:

    Twinkle Mo’ Fo’ Toes: What happened, who was involved?

    Rinaldo head shot on the LA’ Nikolai Prokhorkin. Blind hit as Prokhorkin was preoccupied with puck and another Flame. Rinaldo has been suspended at leasst 5 times already in his career. 17:04 in the second period. Ugly.

  94. jp says:

    Harpers Hair: Good grief.
    Beagle and Roussel have two years left on their contracts.
    This is not an issue.

    They both have 2 years after this one. All 4 contracts I mentioned will still be on the books (if they aren’t bought out) if Nuge reaches UFA. Sounds like it could be an issue.

  95. jp says:

    OriginalPouzar: Are you sure on point 1 because he was only worth the cap hit you are willing to give him once in the last 5 years – I’m not sure he was worth the $6M cap hit more than twice (was 65 points worth $6M)?

    I’ve been surprised to see you question whether Hall is/has been worth even $6M during his current contract so I thought I’d have a look.

    His $6M X 7 year deal was signed on the heels of the lockout shortened 2013 season where he finished top 10 in scoring. What was Hall’s cap hit, total points, points per game and GF% relative to team (and rank among NHL forwards in each category)?

    2013 – last year of ELC
    Pts/GP 1.11 (6th)
    Points 45GP 50TP (9th)
    GF%rel 10.6 (51st of 302)

    2013-14
    Cap Hit $6M (25th-29th)
    Pts/GP 1.07 (6th tied)
    Points 75GP 80TP (7th tied)
    GF%rel 8.7 (60st of 345)

    2014-15
    Cap Hit $6M (25th-33rd)
    Pts/GP 0.72 (59-62nd)
    Points 53GP 38TP (135-139th)
    GF%rel 15.1 (6th)

    2015-16
    Cap Hit $6M (29th-38th)
    Pts/GP 0.79 (33rd)
    Points 82GP 65TP (20th)
    GF%rel 12.9 (24th)

    2016-17
    Cap Hit $6M (35th-48th)
    Pts/GP 0.74 (46-52nd)
    Points 72GP 53TP (68-77th)
    GF%rel 10.7 (31st)

    2017-18
    Cap Hit $6M (40th-53rd)
    Pts/GP 1.22 (7th)
    Points 93 (6th)
    GF%rel 13.7 (18th)

    2018-19
    Cap Hit $6M (44-59th)
    Pts/GP 1.12 (16-17th)
    Points 37 (153-161st)
    GF%rel 13.2 (25th)

    2019-20
    Cap Hit $6M (62-75th)
    Pts/GP 0.86 (40-44th)
    Points 25 (33-42nd)
    GF%rel -1.0 (190th)

    I feel like the only seasons you could claim he wasn’t worth his $6M contract were the two where he missed significant games with injury. I’d argue he was at minimus fair value for his contract in 5 of the 7 years (early returns this year).

    Whether he’ll be worth $8.5M or $9M or $11M going forward I don’t know, but I don’t think your 1 of 5 years criticism is at all fair.

  96. Admiral Ackbar says:

    Lived in Van for 8 years and Canuck fans ruined that team for me. They were absolutely insufferable for all those years the team was actually good. The amount of hockey ignorance combined with arrogance about their city made it maddening. I didn’t like the team because it had too many snivelling cowards that folded like lawn chairs in the playoffs. I hated the team because of their annoying fans.

    I could actually like this iteration of the Nucks but guys like HH pop their head out like a prairie dog (not the furry kind) and start beaking after half a season of above-.500 hockey. Good grief. And he comes to an Oiler blog to do it, no less.

    This is why I enjoy the schadenfreud whenever anything bad happens to that city. Whatever can happen to those ridiculous fans will please me. That they’ve never won anything of significance is endearing.

  97. Admiral Ackbar says:

    But please, HH, please keep telling us how Horvat, Boeser, and Miller are gamebreakers. All sub-2.0/60min @ 5×5 players.

    Also, keep wagering. How did you make out in November on your Yotes bet?

  98. Side says:

    Harpers Hair: They’ll likely piss it away on Granlunds.

    Given your predictions so far this season have been 0/6 at least, I am convinced the Oilers won’t piss it away on Granlunds.

    Excellent.

  99. Munny says:

    If Hall gets 8.5 from us—thought experiment stop throwing stuff—does that set Nuge’s next contract at the same… and is that doable and desirable?

  100. Munny says:

    jp: Whether he’ll be worth $8.5M or $9M or $11M going forward I don’t know, but I don’t think your 1 of 5 years criticism is at all fair.

    I agree. Stellar post on the whole.

  101. Craig Zonit says:

    Munny,

    Nuge is a wonderful player but no one has ever mentioned his name and the Hart trophy in the same sentence. I don’t think they would come in at the same, Austins tradition be damned.

  102. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    Ryan: I can’t go back pages in the comment section on my iPad.

    Per our previous discussion, the short answer is that there’s no evidence to support Godot’s theory.

    Now, Godot’s a smart guy and a he’s a keen observer of the game.

    However, from a cursory look at Corsica and MoneyPuck (results for expected save percentage are similar but slightly discordant) do not suggest that Tippet deploys a system that pushes shots to high danger areas that inflate goalie save percentage.

    Corsica has the delta on SV minus expected SV as:

    (5v5)

    Smith: -1.28
    Koskinen: +0.39

    From his last year with the yotes.

    Smith: + 0.27
    Domingue: – 0.34

    Props to Corsica for finally working on iPad.

    However, there’s a huge spike in 4v5 Sv % this season

    Smith: +5.8
    Koskinen: + 4.3

    Evolving-hockey.com is a good site too.

    Naturalstattrick.com has this stuff as well.

  103. Primetime says:

    Munny:
    If Hall gets 8.5 from us—thought experiment stop throwing stuff—does that set Nuge’s next contract at the same… and is that doable and desirable?

    I can’t see RNH being able to ask for any more than say, Johansen or Duchene in Nashville…$8.0/year
    If by that time we have actually found some scoring wingers, and Drai takes his own line, RNH may be even cheaper as the best “3rd line” centre in hockey.

    Problem if he is that affordable and we aren’t winning in the playoffs yet, lots of teams will be interested and his eye may wander for a fresh start

  104. OriginalPouzar says:

    Hopefully we receive confirmation this morning that Nuge and Kassian are indeed playing tonight (along with Klefbom and Neal).

    Fingers crossed that Smith brings a solid game tonight.

  105. Scungilli Slushy says:

    Harpers Hair: It’s a shame that Beagle and Roussel are very valuable players and Eiriksson can easily be bought out by then.

    But I don’t think there’s any chance Vancouver would be interested in Nuge.

    They already have three fabulous centers in Petterson, Horvat and Gaudette.

    Nuge will sign in Seattle.

    Can you describe for us the fabulous depth on D the Dys have? Being an Oilers fan and them being such a shit show for so long, I don’t know their pipeline.

  106. Scungilli Slushy says:

    Of teams that are strong right now, trading and signings have been made them what they are. It’s not all draft and wait. You can’t always draft exactly what you want and the number of prospects that pan out as hoped isn’t high.

    The Oilers have 3 first line centres ( Nuge is one even if not elite if he has wingers) and no proper wingers. They have more D on the verge than room for them.

    The Avs Bruins and Pens have been fairly active traders. I’m interested to see what Holland does. A proper top line winger and 3C makes a pretty balanced if imperfect team, maybe balance photo balanced.

  107. Jethro Tull says:

    Harpers Hair: They’ll likely piss it away on Granlunds.

    Wins the thread. People don’t want the cap space spent on piss cutters like Hall, then say a GM with a history of signing Granlunds won’t sign more Granlunds.

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