St. Ignatius

by Lowetide

The Edmonton Oilers won in Dallas last night, that’s breaking news in these parts. It wasn’t easy, although any game won courtesy two Connor McDavid assists has been touched by God. Mikko Koskinen was brilliant, the team’s structure stayed in place for much of the game and the power play paid off once and that’s all that was needed. Now let’s work on that possession game.

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: ‘We called him ‘The Crane”: Teammates and coaches reveal their best Connor McDavid stories
  • New Jonathan Willis: Should the Oilers have outbid the Coyotes for Taylor Hall?
  • New Lowetide: Connor McDavid’s frustration and the impact it could have on the Edmonton Oilers
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Oilers need to figure out five-on-five woes quickly, starting with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl
  • Lowetide: Who should be the next man up from the Bakersfield Condors?
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Q&A: 10 subscriber questions for Oilers rookie defenceman Ethan Bear
  • 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?
  • 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: 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 36 GAMES

  • Oilers in 2015: 15-18-3, 33 points; goal differential -16
  • Oilers in 2016: 18-12-6, 42 points; goal differential +5
  • Oilers in 2017: 17-17-2, 36 points; goal differential -5
  • Oilers in 2018: 18-15-3, 39 points; goal differential -1
  • Oilers in 2019: 19-13-4, 42 points; goal differential -1

Huzzah! This edition of the Oilers is still running at the front of the pack and that’s a strong first half (well almost first half) of the season. We can talk about the recent past, but last night the team stopped a losing streak of some note. Impressive. Some iron in this team.

OILERS IN DECEMBER

  • Oilers in December 2015: 6-2-0, 12 points; goal differential +1
  • Oilers in December 2016: 3-2-3, nine points; goal differential 0
  • Oilers in December 2017: 5-3-0, 10 points; goal differential +7
  • Oilers in December 2018: 5-1-1, 11 points; goal differential +6
  • Oilers in December 2019: 3-4-1, seven points; goal differential -7

A big win over the Stars doesn’t get the team back to even for December but it’s a start. Ideally, the Oilers blow the doors off one of the teams on the schedule this week. I wonder if Sam Pollock is comfortable.

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 1-2-1)
  • On the road to: MIN (Expected 1-0-0) (Actual 0-1-0)
  • At home to: TOR (Expected 0-1-0) (Actual 0-1-0)
  • On the road to: DAL, STL (Expected 0-2-0) (Actual 1-0-0)
  • 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: 3-4-1, 7 points in 8 games

It’s a long month, but this road trip represents one of the toughest stretches. Oilers fans would have been pleased with a split in these two games, but winning the first leg of the trip perhaps changes the expectation.

OILERS 2019-20

The centers three delivered completely different performances, and coach Dave Tippett ran all four lines out there no matter the results. And there were some interesting results. All numbers five on five unless noted and all numbers via NST.

LINE 1 Joakim Nygard-Connor McDavid-Zack Kassian played 8:58, going 5-10 Corsi, 3-6 shots, 1-0 goals and 1-2 HDSC.

Joakim Nygard battled hard and moved the puck deep a couple of times, used his speed and quickness to get the puck deep on the first goal. Connor McDavid was outstanding, with two takeaways, a breathtaking rush that almost cashed, a fabulous pass to Kassian for a goal and a nifty pass that started the power-play goal. Zack Kassian scored the first goal of the game, drew a penalty and was skating hard all night.

LINE 2 Jujhar Khaira-Nuge-Alex Chiasson played 8:30, going 1-18 Corsi (!!!), 1-8 shots, no goals and 0-3 HDSC. That’s a ghastly line, how did they get 8:30? In a tight game?

Jujhar Khaira had a poor game. He had one giveaway and didn’t impact the game positively. He was in chase mode all night. I wonder if he’s banged up, he couldn’t negotiate stick with puck worth a tinker’s-dam. Nuge had a shot, a good look on net, drew a penalty and was in a good spot defensively to clear the puck a few times (and specifically late). Alex Chiasson had a terrific assist on the power-play goal, but was quiet at five on five.

LINE 3 Riley Sheahan-Gaetan Haas-Josh Archibald played 7:03, 8-10 Corsi, 7-4 shots, no goals and 0-1 HDSC.

Riley Sheahan had a shot on goal, played 2:07 on the PK (0-3 shots). Gaetan Haas had a shot, a giveaway, takeaway, took five hits and kept on ticking. He’s an unusual and enjoyable player. Josh Archibald had two shots and both were impressive chances. Skated miles. He’s finding the range now, suspect we’ll see some goals in the next 10 games.

LINE 4 James Neal-Leon Draisaitl-Sam Gagner played 4:49, going 9-5 Corsi, 6-3 shots, no goals and 1-2 HDSC.

James Neal had two shots, one HDSC and a takeaway. He is coming on now, back to full health. Leon Draisaitl scored a fine power-play goal and played a solid game. Sam Gagner had three shots on goal and made several fine passes.

PAIRING ONE Oscar Klefbom and Adam Larsson played 12:22, going 11-14 Corsi, 7-7 shots, no goals and 3-2 HDSC.

Oscar Klefbom blocked five shots, moved the puck well and had his head on a swivel. A quality game. His desperate race to glory to save the day on a four-on-one was majestic. Adam Larsson played an effective game too, drawing a penalty and skating the puck out of danger. Physical, kept the porch tidy. He’s back. This duo is taking back the top pairing role.

PAIRING TWO Darnell Nurse and Ethan Bear played 9:51, going 11-7 Corsi, 5-6 shots, 1-0 goals and 1-1 HDSC.

Darnell Nurse picked up an assist on a great pass, four shots and skated miles. He blocked a pass on the Dallas goal but could not recover in time to impact the goal. Ethan Bear’s passing was outstanding again, he’s a pleasure to watch with the puck on his stick. He drew a penalty, won more battles than usual and played a physical game. A strong bounceback from his tough night against Toronto. Knocked Blake Comeau off his feet late in the game, one of the best moments of the contest.

PAIRING THREE Kris Russell and Caleb Jones played 8:30, going 6-17 Corsi, 6-8 shots, no goals and 0-5 HDSC.

Kris Russell had one shot, one giveaway and two blocked shots. He defended well. Caleb Jones had one shot, a penalty and drew a penalty. He’s becoming more confident now, the drawn penalty came when Jones stepped up from the blue line and charged toward the net.

GOALIE Mikko Koskinen stopped 33 of 34 shots, .971. He was outstanding, in fact the late save on Corey Perry was probably the most important play of the game (goals aside). He is No. 1 now. No question.

HALL AND ‘YOTES

Taylor Hall is off to Arizona, where he’ll get some more playoff games and possibly form a frightening line with Phil Kessel. I like this deal for the Coyotes, more than I would have liked a matching deal for Edmonton (2020 first, 2021 third that would possibly move up, Caleb Jones, Cooper Marody, Ostap Safin). Why? Coyotes have more of their roster figured out and are less likely to free fall. Plus Holland could not afford to send away that first-round pick in a deep draft and run the risk of Edmonton’s selection landing at No. 8 overall again. As the great Kate Bush sang, Oilers are still runnin’ up that hill.

THE 2020 DRAFT

Corey Pronman has 17 high end or better prospects for the 2020 draft (read about it here) and a scout I talked to said the quality is 20 deep. We’ll see as time goes by, but I think Ken Holland keeping his powder dry was the right call.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

At 10 this morning, we get rolling TSN1260. Jonathan Willis from The Athletic will talk last night’s game, the Hall to Arizona deal and the week to come. Luke Lapinski from 98.7 Arizona Sports will join us to talk Hall deal. Andrew Peard and Corey Graham will pop in for the Oil Kings round table at 11. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!

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PennersPancakes

jtblack: hence the term “maybe”.

you tell me who their Larsson is?

I wasnt being facetious I think thats actually the closest comparison. I would still rather have Larsson though.

Ryan

Lowetide:
New for The Athletic: The key missing element to the Oilers’ brilliant top line

https://theathletic.com/1465055/2019/12/18/lowetide-the-key-missing-element-to-the-oilers-brilliant-top-line/

Excellent and timely article!

Always loved Rakell. Too bad, Anaheim will never trade him to us.

Counterpoint. If Kassian isn’t going to be playing on the top line, it would be crazy to sign him for $3.5 x 5 or 4×4 or whatever because he doesn’t do much playing down the roster.

Professor Q

Oilin4: He would have played the whole game, but rumor has it he had to use the bathroom.

Shades of Luongo.

Big Hit! Big Shot! Big Goal! Series Over!

meanashell11

Nice start to that five game home stand for the Dys that is going to vault them into a playoff spot. Strength of schedule and all that. Something something. meh

meanashell11

Harpers Hair: Meh.

Neither is a winner.

oh oh, goal posts moving.

Munny

Harpers Hair: Only if you want a first round pick.

Pretty sure no one actually said they wanted to trade him for a first rounder.

Numenius

Unfriendly Regional Arachnid Individual: The quality of the discourse in these threads drops off substantially in his presence.

I realize I’m free to not read it but it’s clear the guy doesn’t operate in good faith.

I don’t enjoy it either.

It would help if people stopped replying to him, but that may be too much to ask.

Unfriendly Regional Arachnid Individual

Far be it from me to tell people what to do, but do people actually enjoy the constant pissing contests with this condescending Nucks homer? The quality of the discourse in these threads drops off substantially in his presence.

I realize I’m free to not read it but it’s clear the guy doesn’t operate in good faith.

Darth Tu

Wilde,

You’re doing amazing work. It’s hugely appreciated, keep it up!

Wilde

lil update since I checked this today, Ostap Safin is the leading scorer on out ECHL team right now, too lazy to check EV numbers

The players I have for reference here (ones with decent samples in my tracking that have played on both teams) are Hebig, Iacobellis, Vesey, Stukel, and Lebrie, McFarland, and Larkin.

I’m picking up a bunch of Hebig’s bottom six games and Stukel’s games in general as I fill out last year’s schedule. I have under ten games left until the season’s completely tracked and that means I’ll get the full portfolio of all these fringe players that are good to compare the non-breakout rookies to.

As I watch these games though, the need for statistical analysis for minor league personnel is so stark. Literally every guy who’s played a game except maybe Vesey, Starrett and Larkin (who happen to be the most inexcusable nepotism/area scout narcisism signings too, weird!!) has made some kind of standout eye test play that’s catalogued in my (shitty) memory. People attempting to parse this stuff without taking data seriously is probably why minor league systems remain the furthest-from-parity part of NHL orgs in terms of performance.

pts2pndr

Harpers Hair: Meh.

Neither is a winner.

No but you are a wiener.

pts2pndr

Harpers Hair: Thank you Doctor.

Have you ever had back pain?

It never goes away.

That would be a lot like you but the pain in a slightly different area. In my era your attitude would have
been greatly diminished. It takes no skill or intelligence to do what you do in anonymity
Large odds you would not do this around any group of guys I know more than once.

Oilin4

Victoria Oil:
Thomas Chabot played 38 minutes tonight.

Aye Carumba!

He would have played the whole game, but rumor has it he had to use the bathroom.

Victoria Oil

Thomas Chabot played 38 minutes tonight.

Aye Carumba!

Wilde

Andy Dufresne: Whats Bears sample size in the NHL playoffs?

I hope Bears style Bears fruit in playoffs.OOPS….thats three bears…..I think I just summoned Ricki

haha

Johnny skid

Sierra: Yup, every fooken night.

Are there no Canuck fan forums?

they don’t want him either.

Sierra

leadfarmer:
Harpers Hair,

Another thrilling night of discussing the Canucks with DSF

Yup, every fooken night.

Are there no Canuck fan forums?

Woodguy v2.0

Bruce McCurdy:
Pittsburgh Penguins with a sharp demonstration of how to defend 5v6. Instead of turning a 2-0 lead into a 2-1 white knuckle ride all the way to the buzzer, why not turn a 2-1 lead into a 4-1 lead well before the last minute of play is even announced? Boom! Done

CGY didn’t score a goal 6-5 to go to overtime??!?!?!

You mean they can’t do that every time?

Woodguy v2.0

OriginalPouzar:
HarpersHair: Are you as thick as this comment would seem?

Final results depend on many things including strength of schedule, back to backs and travel.

While no model is perfect, Dom’s is pretty good.

Please provide a link to any projection that has the Oilersplayoff bound.

I’ll wait.
——————————-
I’d like to think I’ve got some girth, thanks for asking.

http://moneypuck.com/predictions.htm

https://www.hockey-reference.com/friv/playoff_prob.cgi

http://www.playoffstatus.com/nhl/nhlpostseasonprob.html

http://powerrankingsguru.com/nhl/playoff-odds.php

Its tough to find one that doesn’t have them making it or that has the Canucks ahead – Dom is the exception.

I used to enter Micah Blake McCurdy’s standings prediction content.

My model was my weightings of what I think is important on hockey teams. Very simple stuff.

I beat Dom every year we were both entered iirc.

Bruce McCurdy

Pittsburgh Penguins with a sharp demonstration of how to defend 5v6. Instead of turning a 2-0 lead into a 2-1 white knuckle ride all the way to the buzzer, why not turn a 2-1 lead into a 4-1 lead well before the last minute of play is even announced? Boom! Done

Harpers Hair

Munny: What market? Is Larsson suddenly on the market?

The question was, why?As in why are you suggesting the appropriate course of action is for the Oilers to get him on the market and trade him right now?

Only if you want a first round pick.

If you don’t…keep him.

But his trade value decreases every day.

Harpers Hair

Woodguy v2.0: I was disputing your “Dys projected better than EDM”

Meh.

Neither is a winner.

OriginalPouzar

HarpersHair: Are you as thick as this comment would seem?

Final results depend on many things including strength of schedule, back to backs and travel.

While no model is perfect, Dom’s is pretty good.

Please provide a link to any projection that has the Oilersplayoff bound.

I’ll wait.
——————————-
I’d like to think I’ve got some girth, thanks for asking.

http://moneypuck.com/predictions.htm

https://www.hockey-reference.com/friv/playoff_prob.cgi

http://www.playoffstatus.com/nhl/nhlpostseasonprob.html

http://powerrankingsguru.com/nhl/playoff-odds.php

Its tough to find one that doesn’t have them making it or that has the Canucks ahead – Dom is the exception.

Munny

Harpers Hair: The market will shrink as the deadline approaches.
As we’ve seen in the Hall trade, you can get more interest from more teams who think they could be playoff contenders earlier in the season.

What market? Is Larsson suddenly on the market?

The question was, why? As in why are you suggesting the appropriate course of action is for the Oilers to get him on the market and trade him right now?

Woodguy v2.0

Harpers Hair: So neither making the playoffs.

Didn’t I say that?

I was disputing your “Dys projected better than EDM”

Harpers Hair

Woodguy v2.0: MIcah Blake McCurdy had EDM at 49% to make the playoffs.Has them finishing 9th

Has the Dys at 36% finishing 11th.
https://twitter.com/IneffectiveMath/status/1207026368464195584/photo/1

So neither making the playoffs.

Didn’t I say that?

Woodguy v2.0

Harpers Hair: Are you as thick as this comment would seem?

Final results depend on many things including strength of schedule, back to backs and travel.

While no model is perfect, Dom’s is pretty good.

Please provide a link to any projection that has the Oilersplayoff bound.

I’ll wait.

MIcah Blake McCurdy had EDM at 49% to make the playoffs. Has them finishing 9th

Has the Dys at 36% finishing 11th.
https://twitter.com/IneffectiveMath/status/1207026368464195584/photo/1

OriginalPouzar

pietschu:
Harpers Hair,

Crushed my L3 vertebrae in 1984, had muscle spasms and cramps for a few years but since I learned to stretch and strengthen my core, I have been pain free for about 25 years.Not an athlete though.

But Adam Larsson had a tight back a few seasons ago…..

OriginalPouzar

HarpersHair: Are you as thick as this comment would seem?

Final results depend on many things including strength of schedule, back to backs and travel.

While no model is perfect, Dom’s is pretty good.

Please provide a link to any projection that has the Oilersplayoff bound.

I’ll wait.

I’d like to think I’ve got some girth, thanks for asking.

http://moneypuck.com/predictions.htm

https://www.hockey-reference.com/friv/playoff_prob.cgi

http://www.playoffstatus.com/nhl/nhlpostseasonprob.html

http://powerrankingsguru.com/nhl/playoff-odds.php

Its tough to find one that doesn’t have them making it or that has the Canucks ahead – Dom is the exception.

OriginalPouzar

stephenw:
I hope the oilers can take Mike Smith off the active roster and make him some type of goalie coach focused on puck handling for the rest of the year, split between Edmonton and Bakersfield.He can’t even go post to post on passes across or rap-around attempts any longer, looks like he is injured or perhaps done as an NHLer

As for a backup, does Anyone from Bakersfieldseem ready for a nhl backup job or are the oilers better off pursuing someone via trade?Just curious what the folks who follow Bakersfield think.

No matter what they do with Smith, aside from a trade, he’s not off their cap.

Shane Starrett may be ready but he’s just back from injury and played 5 games this year.

Reja

Harpers Hair: Thank you Doctor.

Have you ever had back pain?

It never goes away.

What about verbal gonorrhoea?

McSorley33

leadfarmer:
I know people here dont like taking goalies with first round picks
But Askarov would be a very nice get in the draft

Can he play wing?

Harpers Hair

leadfarmer:
Harpers Hair,

Another thrilling night of discussing the Canucks with DSF
Look neither team is making the playoffs
But we’re happy we’re still in the hunt
So why don’t you quit pissing on the rug and let us enjoy still having a chance at the playoffs at Xmas

You are, of course, free to enjoy anything you like.

leadfarmer

Harpers Hair,

Another thrilling night of discussing the Canucks with DSF
Look neither team is making the playoffs
But we’re happy we’re still in the hunt
So why don’t you quit pissing on the rug and let us enjoy still having a chance at the playoffs at Xmas

pietschu

Harpers Hair,

Crushed my L3 vertebrae in 1984, had muscle spasms and cramps for a few years but since I learned to stretch and strengthen my core, I have been pain free for about 25 years. Not an athlete though.

Neumann

Harpers Hair,

Check out Stu McGill’s work and find yourself a good therapist and strength and conditioning coach. If you live in Vancouver I can help. Back pain isn’t a life sentence.

jp

Andy Dufresne: Curious……..other than Taylor Hall….has there ever been a player that is a career minus player that won the Hart?
Hall is kind of unique having played on really bad teams….

Interesting question.

First, Taylor Hall’s career isn’t over yet. And if he’s to be believed that he’s looking to play on a contender from here on he may well not finish is career a minus player.

I don’t think there are any players who finished their career as minus players who’ve won the Hart, but a couple were when they first won it.

Mario Lemieux in 87-88
Brett Hull in 90-91
And Joe Sakic was a career +1 when he won in 2001

We’ll see where Taylor ends up when all is said and done.

Harpers Hair

OriginalPouzar: I thought points percentage was important?

We all love the Athletic but really what you meant to say is that “According to Dom, the Canucks have a better chance”.

Most other models disagree.

Are you as thick as this comment would seem?

Final results depend on many things including strength of schedule, back to backs and travel.

While no model is perfect, Dom’s is pretty good.

Please provide a link to any projection that has the Oilers playoff bound.

I’ll wait.

stephenw24

I hope the oilers can take Mike Smith off the active roster and make him some type of goalie coach focused on puck handling for the rest of the year, split between Edmonton and Bakersfield. He can’t even go post to post on passes across or rap-around attempts any longer, looks like he is injured or perhaps done as an NHLer

As for a backup, does Anyone from Bakersfield seem ready for a nhl backup job or are the oilers better off pursuing someone via trade? Just curious what the folks who follow Bakersfield think.

OriginalPouzar

HarpersHair: Thank you Doctor.

Have you ever had back pain?

It never goes away.

Wait, who is playing Doctor?

I’m quite certain players have had a tight back and it hasn’t morphed in to chronic back issues.

One injury in his Oiler career, for 7 weeks, and that’s an extensive injury history.

Wild stuff.

OriginalPouzar

HarpersHair: The Canucks actually have a better chance of making the playoffs than the Oilers.

While I don’t expect either team will make it, Dom at the Athletic has the Canucks at 41% and the Oilers at 31% to make the playoffs.

The Canucks have 5 straight at home which will likely make or break their season.

The premise was getting a first round pick for Larsson.

If that is the goal, every day that passes drops his value.

Otherwise he will become an average second pairing defenseman on an expiring contract.

I thought points percentage was important?

We all love the Athletic but really what you meant to say is that “According to Dom, the Canucks have a better chance”.

Most other models disagree.

Harpers Hair

who: I doubt that the Oilers are even considering moving Larrson this year. Or next summer. They really don’t have anyone to replace him yet.
If they are out of the race by the 2021 trade deadline, then sure, they’d probably looking at getting something for him.
The expiry date on his contract actually dovetails quite nicely with the development timelines of Bear and Bouchard.
You are correct that maximun trade value would be derived right now, but that would be throwing in the towel on the next 2 years.

Correct.

A first round pick at next years deadline is a fantasy.

who

Harpers Hair: longe

I doubt that the Oilers are even considering moving Larrson this year. Or next summer. They really don’t have anyone to replace him yet.
If they are out of the race by the 2021 trade deadline, then sure, they’d probably looking at getting something for him.
The expiry date on his contract actually dovetails quite nicely with the development timelines of Bear and Bouchard.
You are correct that maximun trade value would be derived right now, but that would be throwing in the towel on the next 2 years.

ArmchairGM

BornInAGretzkyJersey:
ArmchairGM,

High praise, indeed.

Depends who’s left on the board at the time.We really need to add some snipers/goal scorers to bury the playmakers’ dishes.Ideally players who are fast, right handed and gritty.Having relative depth in goal (voodoo not withstanding) makes me look to forward depth as the next area to restock the cupboards.

Agreed. But since the talk about Askarov is top-10 and sometimes even top-5, I don’t think it’s a decision the Oilers scouts will have to make.

who

Harpers Hair: Are you sure Larsson is a shutdown defenseman?

Doesn’t appear to be shutting down much of anything.

Yeah I am.
But then again, I’m pretty much sure about everything.

Harpers Hair

OriginalPouzar: That’s a pretty aggressive use of the phrase “extensive injury history”

Given he’s missed 4 games (maybe it was 5) with a tight back in his career, I won’t put too much stock in to your prognostication regarding his back health.

Thank you Doctor.

Have you ever had back pain?

It never goes away.

rickithebear

16 yr away from YEG food scene.
I miss
Gini’s table d’hôte
Red Ox Inn specials
I here La Boheme closed.
Bauhershmaus
Dadeo, Oyster Po Boy
Golden Rice Bowl noodles.

Harpers Hair

Scungilli Slushy: A question, is it necessary to create conflict for you? Bcs it isn’t a healthy trait, just so you know.

A question…is it necessary to see things that aren’t there?