2019-20 Game 35: Maple Leafs at Oilers

by Lowetide

I wish I could drive you to the place where HNIC broadcast into my grandparents living room in the 1960s. It was in Maple Ridge, past Haney, and you turned left at Thornhill School. At the top of the hill, right turn and then one mile plus a little. You’d turn right into the driveway, the sawmill to the left (my bike was probably in the driveway), and pull to a stop right at the front door. There was an old pew you could sit on just outside that door, and if you sat down in that pew and looked straight ahead, you’d get a good view of Tom (Grandpa’s horse) from the back end. I loved that horse, used to give him too many apples (one of several things I did that were not in keeping with how things were supposed to go). Apple trees beyond Tom and if you ran past those you could see our house and the big sawdust bins that hung out behind the mill. Back at Grandpa’s, Grandma would be baking bread, over at our house Mom was having a cigarette and watching Edge of Night.

That was weekdays. Saturday night was the hockey game and that meant the Maple Leafs. Dave Keon’s crew cut, big Frank Mahovlich, Johnny Bower. It was a rare Saturday you’d see a Duane Rupp or a Gary Smith, and the menfolk would speak with great disdain about the breakdown in society if anyone on the ice had long hair. No sir. The Maple Leafs were supposed to have short hair, give modest answers during the intermissions and win the Stanley Cup.

The whole world has changed since those days, the NHL has expanded from six teams to 32. I remember when the first expansion came all the adults saying there were too many players and they couldn’t keep track of all the names. That was at 12 teams.

The modern Maple Leafs, 1967 through today, haven’t had the success of the original six group, but the current team is one of the better units I’ve seen. Inconsistent, not fabulous defending and the RH side of the blue needs some help. However, the forwards are a collection of searing talent, who can blow even good teams out of the water just for fun. Tonight’s game against Edmonton, on Tabernac Saturday, is fraught with danger for the home side. It’s Saturday night, Oilers on the early game against the center of the universe. The possibilities are endless, the outcome unknown. Gird your loins! Fill the beer fridge! Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!

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

OILERS AFTER 35 GAMES

  • Oilers in 2015: 15-18-2, 32 points; goal differential -15
  • Oilers in 2016: 18-12-5, 41 points; goal differential +6
  • Oilers in 2017: 16-17-2, 34 points; goal differential -7
  • Oilers in 2018: 18-14-3, 39 points; goal differential +1
  • Oilers in 2019: 18-12-4, 40 points; goal differential +1

Two inconsistent teams get together at Rogers tonight, and an Oilers loss will mean the 2016-17 club edges just ahead for the season. That’s a trend that is likely to continue, but Oilers fans are hoping the town team win grab two points this evening.

OILERS IN DECEMBER

  • Oilers in December 2015: 6-1-0, 12 points; goal differential +5
  • Oilers in December 2016: 3-1-3, nine points; goal differential +2
  • Oilers in December 2017: 4-3-0, eight points; goal differential +5
  • Oilers in December 2018: 5-1-1, 11 points; goal differential +6
  • Oilers in December 2019: 2-3-1, five points; goal differential -6

This year’s Oilers are out of sync with the McDavid Oilers in all possible ways. The trend isn’t good and the schedule suggests the final December 2019 tally will be a major talking point at season’s end.

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 predicted 14 points in 14 games, that’s a very reasonable number but the first leg of the trip has been poor. Donner party poor. We’ll know far more after the game against the Canadiens a week from today. This next seven days is going to be a bother.

OILERS 2019-20

There are some strong seasons being constructed on this list. McDavid, Draisaitl, Kassian, Neal, Nurse, the rookie Ethan Bear. Mikko Koskinen has delivered a solid year, last two outings have hurt his save percentage but the man is 11-4-2 in the win column.

CONDORS 2019-20

Condors lost last night, Tyler Benson with a couple of goals (Wilde had him playing with Cooper Marody and that duo worked great last year). Shane Starrett returned but the goals against keeps on coming. I think this bunch misses Ethan Bear and Caleb Jones. Bakersfield plays Grand Rapids again tonight.

TAYLOR HALL?

Went to bed last night not quite sure where Taylor Hall was heading. Sounds like Arizona and St. Louis are in it, I heard NY Islanders too at some point. Colorado was the favourite yesterday afternoon, maybe they come over the top with a haymaker. I give Edmonton a reasonable chance to land Hall, although a team like the Avalanche could offer more. If he lands in Edmonton, Jonathan Willis, Daniel Nugent-Bowman and yours truly will all have articles on it as the hours roll by. I have a couple of Hall related items in the lineup at the top of the page.

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Darth Tu

russ99,

ArmchairGM,

So that lines up with the rumours being Arizona had offered Bahl and a pick then?

Who is Bahl equivalent to in our system, and are we willing to trade them? Samorukov? Lagesson?

Glovjuice

OriginalPouzar: In response to a comment that one of the most successful all-time general managers needs to show his commitment to McDavid.

Context is important.

Yeah, that comment from Woodguy is totally annoying.Madavid needs to get bet defensively (most of the improvement can come through effort). He is the Captain, is the highest paid player in the league, already has all the individual trophies, has a top 5-7 player as a line mate, plays the full power play all the time, is never pushed to mumble more than a few meaningless words during interviews, and plays 2/3 the OTs. Yes, he CAN make an effort to improve defensively. Fuck me.

ArmchairGM

Here’s a very interesting article about the Hall trade, it seems the return isn’t going to be anywhere near as high as some have been predicting. The Coyotes have the strongest offer on the table right now and the meat of it is a mid-tier prospect.

https://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/coyotes-believed-frontrunners-land-devils-star-taylor-hall/sn-amp/

“The Devils have attempted to leverage the Coyotes’ trade package into better offers from other interested teams, Friedman added, with having Hall sit out the last two games serving as a last minute attempt to incite a more lucrative deal. But the Devils have struggled to find a suitor willing to bite.”

“The other thing we’re hearing is that they haven’t given anyone permission to talk extension with Hall,” Friedman said. “So we don’t believe that this trade is going to come with an extension.”

OriginalPouzar

Woodguy:
OriginalPouzar,


Maybe McDavid needs to show management that he is committed to become a better overall player and not just an offensive driver?

You implied the best hockey player in the world need to be better and prove his commitment to a team he signed a max term contract to.

There’s no coming back from that.

In response to a comment that one of the most successful all-time general managers needs to show his commitment to McDavid.

Context is important.

russ99

Darth Tu,

They’re going to ask for cost controlled players we don’t want to give up.

I’d say Lavoie, Samorukov and a second.

Jones is an RFA next summer, and don’t get me started on Puljujarvi, teams wouldn’t give up a lower prospect and a 3rd/4th, now all of a sudden he’s a great trade chip.

We’re not trading with Chia.

Woodguy v2.0

OriginalPouzar,


Maybe McDavid needs to show management that he is committed to become a better overall player and not just an offensive driver?

You implied the best hockey player in the world need to be better and prove his commitment to a team he signed a max term contract to.

There’s no coming back from that.

Harpers Hair

Darth Tu:
On the Hall trade. What’s the expected ask – supposedly Arizona have included Bahl in the package – I don’t know much about him other than the fact he’s 6’6, is a left shot D and was a second round pick. So, who’s he equivalent to in our system? Lagesson? Jones?

I’ve been against dealing for a non signed Hall until this point, but if the ask is a D (left shot at that) and a pick – I’m guessing it’s the first I’m going to say do it. I might have reached tipping point after the Leafs game – we need a second line.

And a third line.

Darth Tu

Shane,

You are most welcome. It’s oddly relaxing.

Darth Tu

On the Hall trade. What’s the expected ask – supposedly Arizona have included Bahl in the package – I don’t know much about him other than the fact he’s 6’6, is a left shot D and was a second round pick. So, who’s he equivalent to in our system? Lagesson? Jones?

I’ve been against dealing for a non signed Hall until this point, but if the ask is a D (left shot at that) and a pick – I’m guessing it’s the first I’m going to say do it. I might have reached tipping point after the Leafs game – we need a second line.

Pescador

Harpers Hair: Great hockey game by both teams.
Too bad you can’t set aside your rabid tribalism and appreciate a beautiful games.

I would definitely appreciate a beautiful games,
I watch plenty of them during the playoffs & I enjoy them immensely.
I have zero reason to watch a Canucks game, they are a mediocre team at best. Terribly boring style, I would rather watch the 2002 NJ Devils

Harpers Hair

Pescador: I also watching the Sharks play hockey, especially when they’re beating those schlubs

Great hockey game by both teams.
Too bad you can’t set aside your rabid tribalism and appreciate a beautiful games.

OriginalPouzar

Of note, Yamamoto out there in the dying second helping protect the one goal lead.

Pescador

Harpers Hair: Just back from seeing the Leafs/Oilers live and now watchingCanucks/Sharks on HNIC.

There s has been more quality hockey played in the lastten minutes than there was in the former game.

When the 1st star in a game is a third line centre you likely know you’ve been served a turd sandwich.

I also watching the Sharks play hockey, especially when they’re beating those schlubs

Darth Tu

Good win for the Devils over the potential trade partners in Arizona…

OriginalPouzar

Kailer Yamamoto with a beautiful set up of Malone in front but he can’t cash – damn Brad.

Harpers Hair

Pescador: Gagner?
I think Manning really plays that classic mediocre Canuck style of hockey

Just back from seeing the Leafs/Oilers live and now watching Canucks/Sharks on HNIC.

There s has been more quality hockey played in the last ten minutes than there was in the former game.

When the 1st star in a game is a third line centre you likely know you’ve been served a turd sandwich.

Pescador

Kraz:
How they have not called up Benson is beyond me. Anything beyond Drai, McD and RNH is a wasteland. He’s proved his worth in the AHL let’s see what we have in the damn kid. They literally have nothing to loose at this point. His development won’t get stalled and we clearly don’t have to worry about losing games having a rookie in the lineup.

Although I agree with you, I don’t think Benson will help this team much atm.
I would rather he get into NHL games when the team is playing well or at least better. Couldn’t be much worse
There are a plethora of bottom 6 skaters that he could replace without any discernable difference in results.

OriginalPouzar

Benson finds Persson on the back door but off the iron!

jtblack

Harpers Hair: That actually makes some sense.
Canucks Chris Taney and Troy Stetcherand both free agents at the end of the season so they may be in the in the market form 3RD.

Not sure they would retain though.

Inthink Baerchi could fit it the Top 6. dont know enough about his fancies. But he has skill and is not over the hill (Gagner & Neal).

jtblack

Harpers Hair: That actually makes some sense.
Canucks Chris Taney and Troy Stetcherand both free agents at the end of the season so they may be in the in the market form 3RD.

Not sure they would retain though.

Holland needs to make a decision over the next 18 months.

LHD
OSCAR
NURSE
RUSSELL
LAGESSON
BROBERG

RHD
LARSSON
BEAR
BENNING
BOUCHARD
JONES (plays rh side)

This doesnt count any future adds. You can find 6/7 D for cheap. So no need to keep 10 quality D

Pescador

jtblack:
is there any traee that makes sense for SvenBaerchi?

seems like he has skill.27.

just Cap hit sucks @ $3.3.

Benning to Canucks.they retain $800k

just trying to think of anyway to parlay our abundance of D for skill up front

Gagner?
I think Manning really plays that classic mediocre Canuck style of hockey

Harpers Hair

jtblack:
is there any traee that makes sense for SvenBaerchi?

seems like he has skill.27.

just Cap hit sucks @ $3.3.

Benning to Canucks.they retain $800k

just trying to think of anyway to parlay our abundance of D for skill up front

That actually makes some sense.
Canucks Chris Taney and Troy Stetcher are both free agents at the end of the season so they may be in the in the market for a 3RD.

Not sure they would retain though.

OriginalPouzar

Stop me if you’ve heard this before – Yamamoto draws a penalty, Condors to the PP.

OriginalPouzar

Marody with a nice set up of Lagesson – 2 on 1 and send Willie in alone – no goal but a PIM was drawn behind the play.

Condors dominating flow of play from what I’ve seen and shots are 21-10 right now.

OriginalPouzar

Woodguy:
OriginalPouzar,


Shero needs to get this done so it can stop being a distraction for the forum.

They’re currently 30th in the NHL.

What are they being distracted from? Being 31st?


Why does Holland have to show anything to McDavid. I think its fairly clear that Holland is committed to building this team in to a Stanley Cup contender, a yearly Stanley Cup contender and he knows that it will take a bit of time. I think McDavid understands that as well.

What has he done to “build the team into a contender” ?

His best move is trading Lucic for a contract that is easier to buy out.

Past that he added a bottom six that is the 2nd worst in terms of GF%in the last 12 years and is close to the worst.

He also hired a backup goalie who is 37 and was coming off his worst career year when average goalies hit the cliff at 33 and good ones hit the cliff at 35.


Maybe McDavid needs to show management that he is committed to become a better overall player and not just an offensive driver?

Jesus Christ.

Really?

1) distraction to “this forum”

2) stated words on the plan for what he wanted to get done this off-season and plan going forward and then doing exactly what he said he was going to do – clear effort to not commit cap in the medium or long term to marginal players (Chiasson’s 2nd year notwithstanding).

3) McDavid doesn’t have areas of his game that are not in need of improvement? Mentioning that there are things he can improve on is not akin to saying he is the problem,

jtblack

and OP, I appreciate your Condor updates

jtblack

is there any traee that makes sense for Sven Baerchi?

seems like he has skill. 27.

just Cap hit sucks @ $3.3.

Benning to Canucks. they retain $800k

just trying to think of anyway to parlay our abundance of D for skill up front

OriginalPouzar

Starrett with starts in back to back nights – that’s great.

He must be 100% healthy this time.

Hope he gets his game in order and a few NHL at bats this year.

OriginalPouzar

Condors up 2-1 after the 1st.

Cave from Maksimov and Day

Stukel from Samorukov and Day

Home in time for the 2nd period!

BG19

Ostap Safin with a hat trick tonight as Wichita Thunder defeat Tulsa Oilers, 5-2. Hebig with an apple.

Richard Roma

Oil2Oilers:
More disappointing than the current slump is that there is no help coming;

Neither Benson or Yamamoto are good enough to move the needle for the Oilers, right now and possibly in the future.

None of the goalies look able to replace Smith, who needs to be replaced.

NHL team is capped out with few assets they would be willing to trade that are worth anything.

Can they win any of the games this week? A seven game slide right now will start to feel like a Russian proverb.

Good summation

Richard Roma

Sierra: Amazing how often this has been said over the DOD

True dat.

If only players lacking in talent and skill would work harder so they could defend better and score more goals.

That’ll fix our problems.

leadfarmer

So the Devils sat Hall for two games without a trade
Just Curious how long before NHLPA steps in

Shane

Darth Tu:
Bag of Pucks,

At least watch the Darth Vader pyre version

Thank you for this sir.

Sierra

russ99:

Lack of effort on more that a few occasions was disturbing.

This team needs something.shake-up, call-up, trade, bag skate, something.

Amazing how often this has been said over the DOD

russ99

Lots of open looks and bad flaily shots.

We played well enough to win, but couldn’t put the puck in the net.

Lack of effort on more that a few occasions was disturbing.

This team needs something.shake-up, call-up, trade, bag skate, something.

drglen

Richard Roma:
Feeling pretty good that I didn’t drop a g on lower bowl tickets for this game for my family.

+1. Maybe it’s oilkings time.

drglen

Darth Tu:
Bring up Benson. Stick him on the second line. Surely something like:

Drai-McD-Kassian
Benson-Nuge-Neal

Is better than what we have going on at the moment?

yep… gotta do something. Have a look. I’m mean, we’re 75% likely to lose the game anyway, might as well see if something changes with him in the lineup. This team right now is so Oilers.. 2012-2014.. always spotting teams leads and not the horses to catch up.

Decidedly Skeptical Fan

Kraz:
How they have not called up Benson is beyond me. Anything beyond Drai, McD and RNH is a wasteland. He’s proved his worth in the AHL let’s see what we have in the damn kid. They literally have nothing to loose at this point. His development won’t get stalled and we clearly don’t have to worry about losing games having a rookie in the lineup.

+1

drglen

Richard Roma: I’d look at the price for Palmieri as Ryan suggested.

if NJ decides to go full rebuild.. I’d pay the coin for Palmieri. He is tied up for good dough until next year though I think. Tough to get him for under 5

Johnny skid

Oilanderp:
Sometimes she goes.Sometimes she doesn’t.She didn’t go boys.The way she goes.

Sounds about right.

Oil2Oilers

More disappointing than the current slump is that there is no help coming;

Neither Benson or Yamamoto are good enough to move the needle for the Oilers, right now and possibly in the future.

None of the goalies look able to replace Smith, who needs to be replaced.

NHL team is capped out with few assets they would be willing to trade that are worth anything.

Can they win any of the games this week? A seven game slide right now will start to feel like a Russian proverb.

Darth Tu

Bring up Benson. Stick him on the second line. Surely something like:

Drai-McD-Kassian
Benson-Nuge-Neal

Is better than what we have going on at the moment?

teddyturnbuckle

Oilers are in tuff . They look like they can’t score 5×5 and their top guys can’t play defence. Lines 2 through 4 can’t score either ?

Richard Roma

innercitysmytty:
Be nice to see giving this team a lifeline. As in past years confidence seems to be a big issue with this team. Without a trade to shake things up this team will be out of it by early in the new year. Making a deal for Hall at this point makes sense long term if the goal is to keep Connor and be a half decent team. Fuck you Chia!

I’d look at the price for Palmieri as Ryan suggested.

drglen

Oilanderp:
Save us Matt Benning.You’re our only hope.

lol.. killer.

Oilander

Sometimes she goes. Sometimes she doesn’t. She didn’t go boys. The way she goes.

digger50

I think Connor was talking to Holland after that last goal.

drglen

ugh… I now just listen to the oilers and the radio ( while doing other things).. . whereas I’ve been riveted to the screen for live TV up until now.

Leon and Connor have to learn to defend better. Maybe they should bring in Zetterberg, or Pavel. You know, just for a ‘paul coffey like’ consultation.

Kraz

How they have not called up Benson is beyond me. Anything beyond Drai, McD and RNH is a wasteland. He’s proved his worth in the AHL let’s see what we have in the damn kid. They literally have nothing to loose at this point. His development won’t get stalled and we clearly don’t have to worry about losing games having a rookie in the lineup.