Just Out of Reach (of my two empty arms)

by Lowetide

Ethan Bear made an inspired pass to Connor McDavid on the tying goal last night, but the Edmonton Oilers couldn’t hold the lead and have now lost three in a row for the first time all season. It’s a test for the upstart Oilers, who said goodbye to first place and could slide more by this time next week. No one said it was going to be easy and this club is once again firmly entrenched in the school of hard knocks. What was the problem last night? How much time do you have?

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. 

  • New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Q&A: 10 subscriber questions for Oilers rookie defenceman Ethan Bear
  • New Lowetide: Five loud noises Ken Holland could make to help the Oilers immediately
  • Lowetide: Complete Oilers top 20 prospects list, winter 2019
  • Jonathan Willis: Oilers recall Caleb Jones, one of their most plausible trade chips
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: ‘These games are not coming back’: Oilers lament frustrating week at home
  • Jonathan Willis: Dave Tippett rewarded for his bets on the resilience of Mikko Koskinen, Oilers
  • 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: Eight assets the Oilers could use to acquire Taylor Hall
  • Lowetide: Oilers’ No. 5 prospect, Winter 2019 — Raphael Lavoie
  • Lowetide: Oilers’ No. 4 prospect winter 2019: Tyler Benson
  • 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

AFTER 34 GAMES

  • Oilers in 2015: 14-18-2, 30 points; goal differential -17
  • Oilers in 2016: 17-12-5, 39 points; goal differential +5
  • Oilers in 2017: 15-17-2, 32 points; goal differential -8
  • Oilers in 2018: 18-13-3, 39 points; goal differential +3
  • Oilers in 2019: 18-12-4, 40 points; goal differential +1

The Oilers are not yet at the halfway mark of the season and have 40 points. For a team that managed just 78 and 79 points in the two previous seasons (after 82 games), it’s a good spot. The current streak is difficult but there’s plenty of time to correct. Does this team have enough talent to stay in the Pacific Division race?

OILERS IN DECEMBER

  • Oilers in December 2015: 6-0-0, 12 points; goal differential +7
  • Oilers in December 2016: 2-1-3, seven points; goal differential +1
  • Oilers in December 2017: 3-3-0, six points; goal differential +4
  • Oilers in December 2018: 5-1-0, 10 points; goal differential +7
  • Oilers in December 2019: 2-3-1, five points; goal differential -6

The December record continues to be futile and runs out of time with the previous four seasons. Edmonton will need to win a couple they should lose in order to save this month.

WHAT TO EXPECT IN 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 1-2-1)
  • On the road to: MIN (Expected 1-0-0) (Actual 0-1-0)
  • 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: 2-3-1, 5 points in 6 games

I have the Oilers losing the next four games, and if that happens the December record will be 2-7-1 and the season record will be 18-16-4 as the team arrives at the midway point of the season. It could happen just this way. Oilers fans will be beside themselves with a seven game losing streak but the schedule offers no relief for some time.

WHOSE FAULT WAS IT?

On the first goal against, faceoff is in the Minnesota end, off an icing play. Wild win the faceoff but Kassian semi wins a battle and moves the puck along the wall, left side, and there’s a moment where McDavid thinks about engaging Kunin before the youngster calms the play. He sends it behind the net to Soucy, who sends a hope pass to center. Ethan Bear reaches the puck and tries to shoot it in, but there are two Minnesota forwards on him and the puck slides into Edmonton’s end. Mike Smith grabs it behind the net, and sends a high hard shot off the glass that lands in a tough spot because no one knows where the hell it will land and when it does it’ll be a 50/50 puck. It doesn’t reach Kassian at the blue line and lands right in front of Nurse almost as he passes the puck in real time. It bounces past Nurse and now the Oilers are in real trouble. Wild winger has the puck, Bear is in the middle, other winger driving to the net and Nurse is trying to deal with Jordan Greenway who is a load. Pass goes down low and shot goes wide. Puck goes back to the point, shot, Greenway blocks out Nurse but Smith sees the puck and gets a glove on it. The video clearly shows, for me, that Smith should have had it. Chaos starts and ends with Smith. Remember: Oilers lose this game by one goal.

The second goal again begins in the Minnesota end, with Jujhar Khaira trying a pass into the middle along the left wall. It wasn’t a brilliant play (he should have eaten the puck) but the Oilers are at worst three on two with Archibald the third man back. Nurse holds his position in the neutral zone and Bear, a rookie, takes a step toward the middle (which in this case is fatal). Two heartbeats later Bear is playing a three on two like a two on two and Eric Staal sends a lovely pass to Jason Zucker who rips it shelf. Rookie defensemen will break your heart, Bear is a quick learner. Postgame had Dave Tippett talking about Khaira but if you look at the play it’s nothing dangerous until Bear steps into the middle.

Third goal against starts with Kassian sending a long pass from his own zone to Leon far left side in the neutral zone on the fly. It’s a tough pass, Leon grabs it and hits the blueline at the same time as the blur that is Connor McDavid. They gain entry, Leon sends the pass to the far right side just past the Minnesota blue line where Kassian finds the puck, shoots it, and has position after Suter blocks the shot. Kassian does one of those wide Mike Grier turns, dumps it to McDavid along the right side wall and now we’re cooking with petrol. McDavid sends a nifty pass into the slot for Darnell Nurse, who has it, and then doesn’t have it. He gets a shot off but it’s errant, wide left and now we’re pretty certain possession will change. Should be no problem because everyone has time to scoot. Wild get the puck out and again send a terrific pass (Rask to Foligno) that catches McDavid and Bear (plus Leon!) in the neutral zone. A nice give and go with Hartman and Foligno drills it home. I think Smith needs to stop that puck, but once again the defensive sorting is poor from 97, 29 and 74. That’s a team GA.

Fourth goal against starts with the Oilers in their own end off an icing, puck heads north with McDavid and Kassian. McDavid attempts the Pete Mahovlich split the seam move and Minnesota gets possession. Again the Oilers get caught, this time due to a line change. Darnell jumps off and Adam Larsson jumps on (not sure why it was Larsson) but it’s too late, there’s a jailbreak. Donato shoots, Smith doesn’t stop it and it’s 4-2. Smith needs to stop one of these, terrible line change.

Fifth goal is described by poster Bling, from the comments section last night. Here’s what he wrote: That 5th Wild goal was interesting. I encourage everyone to watch the replay. Nygard-Nuge-Chiasson Larsson-Klef. Failure to advance the puck past our side of the neutral zone by Nuge. Then Larsson breaks up a play along the right boards, there is another Oiler there (I think Nuge), but somehow the puck doesn’t get cleared. From there it goes to the left corner. A 2v2 puck battle is lost by Klef and Nygard. This is when chaos unfolds. Chiasson is covering the RHD (to Smith’s left), but he rotates to the other side of the ice to thwart what would have been a one-timer by Zucker. This would have been okay, but Nygard was late on rotating to Staal, who unfurled a wicked one-timer. Amazing play by Zucker to not force what would have been a shot block by Chiasson. Here’s the funny thing. I watched this play a few times. How long do you think Staal was open? 3 seconds! It’s a hard game. Rare goal where (I think) everyone on the ice is to blame.

Sixth goal against is Mike Smith behind his net. He sends a tough pass to Darnell Nurse, both because there was some heat on it and because there was a Wild forward bearing down. Nurse doesn’t get good wood on his pass, and there’s a turnover far left side at the goal line. Haas takes the first forward in, Jones is 10 miles from Kunin and that’s all she wrote. Smith’s decision making behind the net, a forced error on Nurse and a rookie blue in coverage. I’m going to stare at the goalie.

So let’s add it all up: Two poor decisions by Smith behind his net and goals (the first for sure, plus either the third or fourth or both, and the sixth doesn’t happen without his stickhandling) he should have had full stop. Two poor decisions by a rookie defenseman (Bear) and one by another (Jones). One slow reaction by your two best players (97 and 29). A bad reaction to a line change (I’ll say Larsson but who knows?) plus Bling’s Nygard-Nuge-Chiasson Larsson-Klef moment. Who you going to blame?

Folks, rookie defensemen have been breaking hearts since Joe Hall had the sniffles. Line change buggery is occupational hazard. But your goalie? He needs to be better than Mike Smith was last night. And your best players? They can’t be caught in the neutral zone and have to be checking like demons in a game where losing first place and officially entering the slump region is on the line. Did you hear Connor McDavid take ownership last night, saying he needs to be better? If you take one thing away from last night, make it that McDavid quote. That’s what leadership looks like.

NUMBERS

Natural Stat Trick has the info here, I’m not going to do the usual but it’s all in the notes. Of note: Oilers did win the five-on-five Corsi battle (51-50) for the first time in ever. If you’re looking for something positive, here’s a thing:

Lots of things are true this morning. For instance, it seems every damned chance the other side gets lands in the net. It won’t always be this way. Also, very good NHL players aren’t cashing like they should in recent days, that too shall pass. What then, do we know for sure?

Well, Edmonton is now 34 games into the season, so we can find out what they are by comparing numbers to the rest of the league (again NST).

  • Corsi for five on five: 47.80 (No. 26)
  • Fenwick for five on five: 48.35 (No. 22)
  • Shots for five on five: 47.77 (No. 26)
  • Goals for five on five: 45.77 (No. 26)
  • Expected goals for five on five: 48.66 (No. 22)
  • Shooting percentage: 8.54 (No. 9)
  • Save percentage: .9075 (No. 27)
  • PDO: 993 (No. 21)

I’ve had several people ask me why this blog is so five on five focused when the special teams have been driving results. The reason I focus on the five on five is because it’s the biggest game state. It is fabulous to see Edmonton first in PP goals (32) and sixth (16) in PK goals against, but the heart of the game is at even strength and the main portion is five on five. Edmonton is not good at it, and here’s news the goaltending is only part of the issue.

What’s the biggest problem for the Oilers? I think it’s McDavid on ice (37-29, +8) and McDavid off ice (28-48, -20) for a total (65-77, -12) that is well shy of contention. Same as it ever was. Others have differing opinions but that’s my opinion.

WHAT TO DO ABOUT MIKE SMITH

I mentioned on The Oilcan Podcast for The Athletic the other day that at some point the organization might have to move away from Mike Smith. That could involve IR or running with three goalies, but your stopper has to give you a fighting chance in every game. This doesn’t look good in a week where Mikko Koskinen is also fighting it, but it’s no sin to hedge a bet on an old goaltender. Shane Starrett can’t stay healthy and it seems the recent goalie shuffle has everyone in place, but at some point a waiver opportunity or a small trade may come available. I think Ken Holland would be wise to at least contemplate adding some insurance at the position.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

At 10 this morning, we have a rocking show and lots to talk about on TSN1260. Steve Lansky from BigMouthSports takes us through last night’s game and the weekend tilt against Toronto, plus WJ’s. Matthew Iwanyk will talk about the EE grabbing a new coach from the top of the pile and we’ll read your text messages to 10-1260. @Lowetide on twitter, let’s kickstart this weekend in style!

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yeraslob

Pretendergast:
Went to Flames Leafs last night, don’t judge I hated it too but puck is puck.

Their goalie outduelled the Leafs but it wasn’t close imo. The Leafs have the quick strike and were dominant early but they are clearly a glass cannon. Freddy covered alot but he was below meh this game.

Flames are just a deeper team, Looch was invisible but Johnathan Hockeyplayer dazzled. The way they are playing means they should win the division. Hate to say it.

Biggest thing was that the seats were about 60 40 leafs to flames fans. Hope that doesn’t happen Saturday. Gross.

For the third season in a row, it takes the flames a season changing event (stick throwing, 9-1 drubbing, racist coach) to get their heads out of their collective asses. And they go from shlubs to NHL players, just in time to make the playoffs. Of course, in typical flames fashion, they graciously accept their first round playoff participation pendants and happily hit the links in April.

OriginalPouzar

Should be a fun game tonight.

Here is hoping that the team limits the avoidable mistakes and manage the game better.

Mikko needs to stop the one’s he should and maybe even a couple he shouldn’t.

I’ll be at my cousin-in-laws for a holiday thing but will be watching.

I miss Matty Benning.

SwedishPoster

Jesse with his first NT goal today against Sweden. Another former Oiler prospect scored, goalie Frans Tuohimaa. Also his first NT goal. A few years ago hecouodn’t cut it in swedish second tier and now he’s with Team Finland. Goalies.

Wilde

Bakersfield Condors v. Grand Rapids Griffins; December 13, 2019; Game Totals

49 CF – 33 CA (59.76%)
23 FF – 13 FA (63.89%)
5 GF – 3 GA

Top F: Benson (2.31 GS) – 2 shot attempts + 2 assists / 2 goals / / 18CF-8CA / 2GF-0GA

Top D: Lowe (1.44 GS) – 7 shot attempts + 1 assists / 1 assist / / 25CF-16CA / 2GF-2GA

SwedishPoster

leadfarmer:
https://mobile.twitter.com/NHLFlyers/status/1205599966317752321/photo/1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1205599966317752321&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fs9e.github.io%2Fiframe%2F2%2Ftwitter.min.html%231205599966317752321

And damn
Kids out for the season but probably career is done
Terrible news

Yeah that’s a tough one. Comes off as one of the nicest guys among swedish hockey players as well. Really good guy from all accounts.

Wilde

Bakersfield Condors v. Grand Rapids Griffins; December 13, 2019; after 2 Periods

41 CF – 25 CA
18 FF – 8 FA
5 GF – 3 GA

Top F: Benson (2.21 GS) – 2 shot att + 1 asst / 2 goals / / 11CF-6CA / 2GF-0GA

Top D: Lowe (1.44 GS) – 1 shot att + 1 asst, 1 assist / / 20CF-14CA / 2GF-2GA

Wilde

Bakersfield Condors v. Grand Rapids Griffins; December 13, 2019; first run

Gambardella – Malone – Yamamoto
Benson – Marody – Currie
Maksimov – McLeod – Cave
Stukel – Esposito – Peluso
Lowe – Persson
Lagesson – Bouchard
Samorukov – Day

Bakersfield Condors v. Grand Rapids Griffins; December 13, 2019; after Period One

24 CF – 7 CA
10 FF – 4 FA
2 GF – 1 GA

Top F: Stukel (1.46 Game Score) – 1 shot attempts, 0 (primary) shot assist / 1 goal / / 10CF-0CA / 1GF-0GA

Top D: Lowe (1.83 Game Score) – 6 (primary) shot attempts, 1 shot assist / 1 (primary) assist / / 16CF-4CA / 2GF-1GA

OriginalPouzar

Yamamoto/Malone

Lagesson

to start OT

—————

Yamamoto draws a PP early – that’s what he does.

Sierra

JimmyV1965: This seems eerily familiar

Déjà vu

OriginalPouzar

and Joe Valeno ties up the game at 5 early in the 3rd.

My key tonight was Starrett playing well and, well…

OriginalPouzar

Won’t be tonight as A. Dater advised the Avs definitely won’t be trading for Hall this evening.

My guess is that trade has been agreed to and they are talking extension/contract tonight.

I wouldn’t be surprised if a team like the Penguins sneak in – Galchenyuk as a piece going back for the cap – of course, 1st round pick plus solid prospect.

OriginalPouzar

Condors going full Oilers – bounce off the back-boards and they give up a goal in the last 10 seconds.

Up 5-4 after two.

OriginalPouzar

Benson with another on a rebound of a Day shot….

OriginalPouzar

Not long after GR tie the game up on a quick strike breakaway – Sammy puts one on net and Benson bangs home the rebound out of mid-air. Marody with the 2nd apple.

Dicky94

jtblack,

I agree! Lets go all in! Get to the playoffs and let McDavid do his thing! Slow and steady does not win the race. Probably a good thing I’m not a GM.

OriginalPouzar

Cave from Day and McLeod to put the Condors back up in front – missed the goal though.

The line, as per usual, is Maksimov/Cave/McLeod – at least it was earlier in the game.

Oz

Ha Mcleod assists on Cave’s go ahead goal

Oz

OriginalPouzar:
As I say that, Condors give up a goal – nice play though finished off by Valeno.

OP I have watched some of the last few games and I am less than impressed with K Lowe. Valeno was his man on the first power play. Not just this play but it is frequent result for him. What I see is he plays an old style of defensive hockey skates behind his net and rims it around the wall, and most of the time we lose possession as a result. His “words of wisdom” for his team mates at the beginning of his shift bring to mind “smartest man in the room” likeness. Some on this board have mentioned he is holding his partners and I agree 100%
Other players that have stood out for me
KY is a buzz saw and an aggressive skater and playmaker and I would like him to finish the year in the AHL to improve his ability to handle the bigger players in the NHL.
Benson, Marody and Gamberrilla are good playmakers,and their defensive coverage is good.
R Mcleod is fast, good forechecker, good defensively, but has not scored or assisted in the time I have watched
Lagesson plays his size and weight and I would like him to see some NHL time.
Bouchard is the defenseman with the most offensive upside and what a great skater. He gets back fast. Best not to rush him up to the NHL even though he plays right side.
Thanks for the reports from yourself and Wilde

jtblack

VGS wins in OT

jtblack

McSorley33:
No point in getting too excited – this team is doing what most of us thought they would do.

Painful to watch Mike Smith, no doubt.

I am hoping Holland ( hey lookit – his old team did not go winless in 13 ! ) is actually
a seller at the deadline.

Maybe grab a 3rd rounder for Sheahan.

We need to focus on prospects and next year.

I have changed my view on this. I am not opposed to selling at this years deadline, But I am opposed to a SLOW build.

This season is McDavids 5th. He will have been in the playoffs once or twice.

Edm needs 1 more Top 6 river pushed before puck drop in Sept. Whether its Hall or something close. Van paid dearly for JT miller but Miller had made an immediate impact.

Ken Cant “wait” 2 or 3 years and hope some of these prospects pan out. He needs to add NHL forwards that can score and have skill.

OriginalPouzar

As I say that, Condors give up a goal – nice play though finished off by Valeno.

OriginalPouzar

Condors just dominating early – couple of goals by all over Grand Rapids – they take a penalty and Starrett comes up with a couple nice saves.

This is how things were supposed to go with this team.

So often this year the Condors have dominated early and any chance against goes in.

Not unlike what we’ve seen from the Oilers lately (except actual Condor domination and losing).

JimmyV1965

McSorley33:
No point in getting too excited – this team is doing what most of us thought they would do.

Painful to watch Mike Smith, no doubt.

I am hoping Holland ( hey lookit – his old team did not go winless in 13 ! ) is actually
a seller at the deadline.

Maybe grab a 3rd rounder for Sheahan.

We need to focus on prospects and next year.

This seems eerily familiar

jtblack

Vgs 2 Dal 2.
5 mins left in 3rd

jtblack

DRAFT 2020

RIDLEY GRIEG – Brandin Wheat Kings

27 pts in 28 games.
107 shots
Late birthday (August).

From my hometown. watched him since Bantam. Supreme Skill. Currently ranked as a B prospect.

I expect him to tear it up after New Years. Keep an eye on him

Edm needs skilll. If Ridley is avail anytime after Round 2, I hope Edm grabs him.

OriginalPouzar

Lucky bounce – puck pops out off the side board glass to Jake Stukel in the slot and its 2-0 Condors.

Persson with the apple.

OriginalPouzar

Joe G. snipes one home – well, that’s an aggressive use of the word “snipe” – from outside the circles underneath Picard’s armpit – weak goal but we’ll take it.

JimmyV1965

ashley: Goalie assessment is tough because it requires large sample sizes.20+ games to really get a feel for what is going on, but no team has 20 games to play with if they think someone is bad.

For Smith last night, Goals 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 were 10 bell chances right out of the Dubnyk era.So Gregor’s simplistic statistical analysis above is faulty.Those stats quoted do not supportthe conclusion that the goalie was bad.That is a leap of logic.

That said, most NHL goalies will save half of those 10 bell chances.Smith didn’t manage to stop any of them last night.Maybe a bad night?Or maybe declining performance?Hard to say with an incredibly small sample.Time will tell.For what it’s worth, Koskinen also looked bad the previous game playing in front of this unstructured squad.

We threw away Dubnyk for just such performances and he was actually a good goalie on a team with really bad structure.

My point is that there are lots of holes here and structural ways to prevent 10 bell chances even with this roster.Goalies and defenders are easy targets for unsophisticated criticism, but most of the fault lies with the team structure/discipline last night, particularly the forwards who were anticipating poorly and slow in transitions.Tippett had them all back defending deep on transitions during the early season run and he needs to find a way to get them back there.

Regressing to bad habits is normal for any player and team.This losing streak is on Tippett, and it’s up to him to get the structure back in place and turn it around.The goalies save percentage will follow suit.

Why do I think Koskinnen played well letting in six goals and Smith played poorly giving up six goals? I feel the team is playing poor defence right now as well. But is this true? Are they any worse than earlier in the season? I seem to remember a few games we should have lost but got bailed out by the goalies. Bruce would know this for sure, but I’m pretty confident the the Cult of Hockey has the Oilers with more Grade A scoring chances during this three game losing streak than the opposition. So why do their goalies make the saves and ours don’t?

OriginalPouzar

Benson/Marody/Currie
Joe G./Malone/Yamamoto

who

Bling: I think him and Persson are missed.

Both guys are, in a way, cut from the same cloth — though, of course, Benning is the more established of the two.Neither are uber slick out there, but both guys move the puck well and make smart little plays.

Really? Cut from the same cloth?
I don’t think they could be any more different.
I guess they both shoot right and have limited skating ability. But Peerson is a timid, passive defender whereas Benning is willing to hit anything that moves. Even if he gets the worst of it most times.

Bling

All I want for Christmas is a game breaker and a river pusher.

OriginalPouzar

OriginalPouzar:
Really hoping that Starrett is back tonight (or at least back this weekend).

A couple solid starts for him could give management some options – some options that could help now but also could be used next year……..

Could…..

Starrett starting tonight!

Given recent events, I’ve very happy about this.

Gerta Rauss

Dicky94:

It would be a good way to get the fan base excited on a Saturday night against the Leafs.

Yeah, we wouldn’t be talking about Mike Smith tomorrow morning, that’s for sure

I’m fine chasing Hall in free agency in June but I’m reluctant to acquire him in season right now- I think the cost will be too dear

Dicky94

Gerta Rauss,

It would be a good way to get the fan base excited on a Saturday night against the Leafs.

Gerta Rauss

AVS talking heads discussing the Hall scratch as well during the 1st intermission-said he took the pregame warm up and looked ready to go-we wait

Gerta Rauss

Dicky94:
Hall going to be an Oiler tonight?

Hall a late scratch in COL-stay tuned

Oilerguy

No one has mentioned that Hall was held out of game today vs Colorado according to TSN?

Dicky94

Hall going to be an Oiler tonight?

OriginalPouzar

Woodguy: Kadri was the key for the Leaves frustrating McDavid.

I wish EDM got him.

COL owned TOR in that trade.

I was hopeful of a Kadri to Edmonton type deal – wasn’t super-comfortable but was potentially illing to give up Adam Larsson in the deal.

I was extremely happy the trade to the flames got nixed.

Scungilli Slushy

Scungilli Slushy: He’s Toto convince the hot shots to play like champions and not Oilers.

Jail break hockey isn’t a winning formula, but they seem like donkeys buying into that.

It’s not unusual, Leafs are there as well bcs was talent.

But talent means nothing if it doesn’t produce.

Just like being really smart. Where did it get you?

Toto?

You’re phone apparently has migrating powers. Should say ‘has to’.

Scungilli Slushy

Woodguy v2.0: He’s really good.

He needs to get them back to where he got them before.

He’s Toto convince the hot shots to play like champions and not Oilers.

Jail break hockey isn’t a winning formula, but they seem like donkeys buying into that.

It’s not unusual, Leafs are there as well bcs was talent.

But talent means nothing if it doesn’t produce.

Just like being really smart. Where did it get you?

Scungilli Slushy

The cap is good overall for the league, but guaranteed contracts seriously reduce fan enjoyment.

Watching bad players take cap and quality away is not a highlight of my NHL experience.

Please read that watchers.

Can’t play, no pay, like the rest of us.

Restovus, the new NHL Holiday!!

Woodguy v2.0

Rebillled:
We can never have nice somethings.

Guess Smith was healthy earlier?

That being said, no Kadri Leafs tomorrow means a win for McDavids team.

Go Beat The Leafs!

Kadri was the key for the Leaves frustrating McDavid.

I wish EDM got him.

COL owned TOR in that trade.

Rebillled

We can never have nice somethings.

Guess Smith was healthy earlier?

That being said, no Kadri Leafs tomorrow means a win for McDavids team.

Go Beat The Leafs!

Bling

OriginalPouzar:
Not sure who misses Matt Benning more, me as an Oiler fan or the Oilers.

Elite 3RD – balances the defensive group.

I think him and Persson are missed.

Both guys are, in a way, cut from the same cloth — though, of course, Benning is the more established of the two. Neither are uber slick out there, but both guys move the puck well and make smart little plays.

jp

ashley: Goalie assessment is tough because it requires large sample sizes.20+ games to really get a feel for what is going on, but no team has 20 games to play with if they think someone is bad.

For Smith last night, Goals 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 were 10 bell chances right out of the Dubnyk era.So Gregor’s simplistic statistical analysis above is faulty.Those stats quoted do not supportthe conclusion that the goalie was bad.That is a leap of logic.

That said, most NHL goalies will save half of those 10 bell chances.Smith didn’t manage to stop any of them last night.Maybe a bad night?Or maybe declining performance?Hard to say with an incredibly small sample.Time will tell.For what it’s worth, Koskinen also looked bad the previous game playing in front of this unstructured squad.

We threw away Dubnyk for just such performances and he was actually a good goalie on a team with really bad structure.

My point is that there are lots of holes here and structural ways to prevent 10 bell chances even with this roster.Goalies and defenders are easy targets for unsophisticated criticism, but most of the fault lies with the team structure/discipline last night, particularly the forwards who were anticipating poorly and slow in transitions.Tippett had them all back defending deep on transitions during the early season run and he needs to find a way to get them back there.

Regressing to bad habits is normal for any player and team.This losing streak is on Tippett, and it’s up to him to get the structure back in place and turn it around.The goalies save percentage will follow suit.

So Koskinen is an uber star since he has decent numbers playing behind this team?

OriginalPouzar

Really hoping that Starrett is back tonight (or at least back this weekend).

A couple solid starts for him could give management some options – some options that could help now but also could be used next year……..

Could…..

OriginalPouzar

ptspndr: Nurse was off the ice before the puck was turned over. When he went for the line change the puck was headed in a good direction in full control of the best player in the game. He was not at fault.

That was the McDavid 1 on 2 not get it deep giveaway I believe, right?

Yes, McDavid is the best rush player in the league but something that comes with experience and age and developing is recognizing game situations and, ya, that’s the time a puck needs to get deep – own zone faceoff with tired d-men that need a change and the long change – get the puck deep.

(Just as an aside, that is partially on the d-man that took forever to get on the ice – Larsson came on evenntually but I think it was Klef that was supposed to).

That is why I believe McDavid and Drai are not near their primes. Yes, they are entering their “offensive primes” but, as far as overall players, their prime years will be in their late 20s.

Just like Crosby.

OriginalPouzar

PennersPancakes: Theres a lot of factors to look at (other teams ability to focus on one line, defensive units, goaltenders) but McDavid-Drai-Kass dont outscore at 5v5 to the extent they should. They sure put up points but they have started to give it back themselves. I am NOT saying these other players are better but this appears to be an alarming trend. McDrai to play some consider TOI of course.

Yes, as I said in my post you responded to, they have to be better defensively and they need to reduce goals against. I do worry about their GF% due to GA issues/

I was speaking to not caring about a weak CF% due to the nature of how they play the offensive game.

Woodguy v2.0

OriginalPouzar:
Just catching up – almost up to comments provided at 11am.

I’m wondering, should Oilers fans start to get concerned about Mike Smith’s recent on-ice performance?

Should diabetics monitor their sugar intake?