A Long December and there’s reason to believe

Somebody robbed the Edmonton Oilers, last night about half past nine. Somebody robbed the Edmonton Oilers, I swear I ain’t lying. It was a disappointing game in Vancouver on Monday night, the Oilers failed to gain clearance from the Canucks, Calgary Flames and the other teams chasing. You can say they played in bad luck and the officials slanted the ice, but that doesn’t explain the baffling PK coverage on the winning goal and the undistinguished play of some of the team’s best players.

That kicked in goal was a travesty, an absolute monstrosity of a decision. However, the Oilers can’t let that define the season and could have extracted a point even after that ridiculous goal. Markus Granlund was in position to block the shot on the PK and didn’t sacrifice. I’ll be interested to see if he plays against the Flames on Friday.

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 Jonathan Willis: Leon Draisaitl is struggling badly, even as the Oilers’ depth forwards seem to be coming around
  • New Lowetide: Should the Oilers pursue Lias Andersson in trade?
  • Daniel Nugent-BowmanBroken toes, holiday-time hospital visits and memories of home: A week in the life of Oscar Klefbom, the Oilers’ do-everything defenceman
  • Daniel Nugent-BowmanGrasping Mike Smith, Leon Draisaitl and the Oilers’ recent plight by reading between the lines
  • Lowetide: As Oilers’ auditions of fringe forwards nears conclusion, it’s time for Condors’ top prospects to force the issue
  • Lowetide: The key missing element to the Oilers’ brilliant top line
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: ‘We called him ‘The Crane”: Teammates and coaches reveal their best Connor McDavid stories
  • Jonathan Willis: Should the Oilers have outbid the Coyotes for Taylor Hall?
  • 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
  • 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 40 GAMES

  • Oilers in 2015: 16-21-3, 35 points; goal differential -22
  • Oilers in 2016: 20-13-7, 47 points; goal differential +5
  • Oilers in 2017: 17-20-3, 37 points; goal differential -17
  • Oilers in 2018: 19-18-3, 41 points; goal differential -6
  • Oilers in 2019: 20-16-4, 44 points; goal differential -4

The Oilers are one game from mid-season and honestly these numbers are solid. I projected the team for 88 points and they are in the range (currently on track for 90 points), and that would represent an 11-point improvement from last season’s 35-38-9, 79 points.

OILERS IN DECEMBER

  • Oilers in December 2015: 6-4-2, 14 points; goal differential -7
  • Oilers in December 2016: 6-2-4, 16 points; goal differential +1
  • Oilers in December 2017: 7-4-1, 15 points; goal differential +8
  • Oilers in December 2018: 6-5-1, 13 points; goal differential +2
  • Oilers in December 2019: 4-7-1, 9 points; goal differential -10

Edmonton’s best players hit a wall in December and Mike Smith had some real troubles. The club is going to give back about six points to the rest of the division, and that’s not good news. However, if they can salvage the final two games, plus straighten up and fly right in January, this group can stay in the race. Another month like this one and my blog will be talking draft and selling at the deadline. Edmonton’s room for error is gone. Now.

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) (Actual 0-1-0)
  • On the road to: DAL, STL (Expected 0-2-0) (Actual 1-1-0)
  • At home to: PIT, MTL (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 1-1-0)
  • On the road to: VAN (Expected 0-0-1) (Actual 0-1-0)
  • At home to: CAL, NYR (Expected 1-1-0)
  • Overall expected result: 6-6-2, 14 points in 14 games
  • Current results: 4-7-1, 9 points in 12 games

I understand your frustration with the kicked goal and the strangest too-many-men in history, but Edmonton will need to push through if there’s a playoff spring in 2020. Every team gets screwed by the officials, but the playoff teams keep their structure on the PK in the third period of a tie game. Edmonton and Vancouver split their four games this season. I think that’s a reasonable result. How it happened is damned galling.

WHAT TO DO?

It’s after 11 on Monday night as I write this, so if you’re reading me saying NST info is here that means I also slept until 7am and didn’t have time to run the usual numbers for you.

What I want to talk about now is this division. It’s there for some team and the Oilers have the two best players in the Pacific. Ken Holland would have to abandon the ‘let’s see how this turns out’ path he is currently on. He would need an upgrade on the wing for the Nuge line and a strong two-way center, and a better backup goalie wouldn’t go amiss.

I know Holland has ice in his veins but he’s also competitive. The division is there.

OILERS 2019-20

This is five on five scoring for forwards, five on five shot differential for defense and save percentage for goaltenders.

Mikko Koskinen won the goalie war and it wasn’t close. Very few times this season has the big Finn been the story in a negative way. The job of a goalie is to give his team a chance and Koskinen has done it consistently.

My list of best defensemen of the first half is Ethan Bear, Darnell Nurse and Caleb Jones. Adam Larsson has also been coming on, and Oscar Klefbom has played better and is coming on. Kris Russell’s shots against per 60 is the lowest on the team among regulars.

Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl hit the break with fantastic numbers, but the five on five goal differential (40-36 for McDavid, 36-42 for Leon) suggests there are things wrong for the team’s gunners. Zack Kassian’s five on five goal differential is 38-29, so maybe the wonkiness is happening when 97 and 29 are playing extra minutes.

MERRY CHRISTMAS

One thing I’ve learned this year? Tell people you care. So. No matter your color, your religious beliefs, your sexual orientation, your political beliefs or your beliefs about oil and gas, I care. You are equal to me in the eyes of the God I pray to. Be well, be safe, know that I care. Sincerely.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

A busy morning with fun guests, TSN1260 beginning at 10. Simon Boisvert previews the World Juniors at 10:20, with special emphasis on the Oilers kids. Bruce McCurdy from the Cult of Hockey at the Edmonton Journal reviews a bitter loss to Vancouver last night. We’ll have him on 10-second delay beginning 20 minutes BEFORE he hits the air. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!

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80 Responses to "A Long December and there’s reason to believe"

  1. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    WC standings using points percentange shown at points over/under fake Bettman .500

    Central
    STL 16
    COL 12
    WPG 7

    Pacific
    ARI 7
    VGP 6
    VAN 4

    Wildcard
    NSH 6
    DAL 6

    Out of playoffs
    CGY 4
    EDM 4
    MIN 3
    CHI -2
    ANA -3
    SJS -4
    LAK -5

    The ridiculous Pacific Turtle derby saw the the teams that were the top 4 all lose yesterday with the 5th winning and vaulting to 3rd.

    VAN has 1 game in hand on CGY and 2 on EDM.

    OTT is actually ahead of SJS in the standings. What a disater for the guy who’d been the best GM in the league for ~15 years.

    Here is something you wouldn’t expect to see.

    EDM in December.

    5v5 goal share (14-29) 33%
    Draisaitl On Ice (3-19) 14%
    Draisaitl Off Ice (11-10) 52%

    What the actual fuck?

  2. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    EC standings using points percentange shown at points over/under fake Bettman .500

    Metropolitan
    WSH 19
    NYI 14
    PIT 10

    Atlantic
    BOS 15
    TOR 6
    TBY 5

    Wildcard
    PHI 10
    CAR 9

    Out of playoffs
    FLA 5
    MTL 5
    CBJ 3
    BUF 3
    NYR 2
    OTT -2
    NJD -7
    DET -17

    If I were a betting man (ha!) I’d say the 8 teams in playoff spots today are the 8 teams in playoff spots at the end of the season.

  3. dustrock says:

    What’s wrong with Draisaitl?

  4. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    19/20
    EDM Goal Share after 40 games (20-16-4)

    Even strength (5v5,4v4,3v3)
    McDavid On Ice 41-38 (52%)
    McDavid Off Ice 33-53 (38%)
    Net EV = -17

    Sp. Teams (PP+SH For–PK+SH Against)
    34-22
    Net ST +12

    Empty Net
    6-10
    Net EN = -4

    SO & PS
    2-1
    SO & PS = +1

    Net Goal Differential = -8

  5. dustrock says:

    Have a very Merry Christmas everyone, it’s been a long year.

    Was doing the arduous work for my top 100 songs of the decade, some of the early stuff I was listening to before my daughter was born .

    Crazy that it’s been 10 years.

    Taylor Hall, first pick of the 2010 draft. Should have been an Oiler for life.

  6. p3rsonman says:

    Woodguy v2.0:
    Here is something you wouldn’t expect to see.

    EDM in December.

    5v5 goal share (14-29) 33%
    Draisaitl On Ice (3-19) 14%
    Draisaitl Off Ice (11-10) 52%

    What the actual fuck?

    So the results match the eye test. Something is definitely up with our German Gretzky, whether it’s injury or fatigue.

    I hope he can snap out of whatever it is because his passing and decision making have been piss-poor for the last 2-3 weeks.

  7. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    Zack Kassian’s five on five goal differential is 38-29, so maybe the wonkiness is happening when 97 and 29 are playing extra minutes.

    December 5v5 Goal Share:
    29-97-44 (2-6) 25%
    29- 97-No 44 (0-6) 0%
    No 29-97-44 (4-1) 80%
    No 29-97-No 44 (1-0) 100%
    29 – No 97 – No 44 (1-7) 13%

    That’s nuts

  8. Genjutsu says:

    Merry Christmas to you Lowetide and to everyone here. I care about you and everyone else here too.

    God bless us.

    Everyone.

  9. Unfriendly Regional Arachnid Individual says:

    Woodguy v2.0,

    A portion of that differential can be explained by his time with Neal (0-6 together iirc) but that’s a scarily bad number. Only thing that makes sense is that he and McDavid might be feeling too much pressure to score and, as such, are sacrificing too much at the other end. Whatever it is, it needs to stop.

    The point of having them together is for them to outscore in dominant fashion to make up for the lack imbalance through the rest of the roster. Not only are they not doing that, they’re getting caved. Hopefully the change in month brings some of that freaky luck and things suddenly turn around for no explainable reason.

  10. McSorley33 says:

    That was a very fast – almost -playoff like game.

    There are 2 players on our team that are – nowhere – near being able to keep up to the pace
    of that game.

  11. Dicky94 says:

    Woodguy v2.0,

    Yes, the Pacific is there for the Oilers taking. Hopefully Kenny can bring in a couple reinforcements right after the trade freeze. Some actual NHL wingers would be nice. The sooner the better. Drai and McDavid are starting to look physically exhausted.

  12. McSorley33 says:

    McDavid and Drai:

    Or maybe it is simply they are exhausted….many, many people were pointing out the incredible
    TOI for these 2 players.

    Maybe there is a reason you don’t push the TOI as high as Drai was getting earlier in the year?

    Has to be something….

  13. leadfarmer says:

    If your going to play forwards 25 min a night you should probably sit them some days.
    I was hoping they would leave Drai Mcdavid and Bear at home and let them rest for a few extra days

  14. McSorley33 says:

    Merry Christmas Everyone….

  15. McSorley33 says:

    McSorley33:
    McDavid and Drai:

    Or maybe it is simply they are exhausted….many, many people were pointing out the incredible
    TOI for these2 players.

    Maybe there is a reason you don’t push the TOIas high as Drai was getting earlier in the year?

    Has to be something….

    The flip side of this is that Archibald and Nygard , Haas et al look relatively fresh.

  16. Reja says:

    The goal was kicked in plain and simple cost them 2 points. I just got of the phone with Bow’s talent agent and Bow’s still giggling like a school girl about how he got away with it.

  17. Genjutsu says:

    Woodguy v2.0:
    Zack Kassian’s five on five goal differential is 38-29, so maybe the wonkiness is happening when 97 and 29 are playing extra minutes.

    December 5v5 Goal Share:
    29-97-44 (2-6) 25%
    29- 97-No 44 (0-6) 0%
    No 29-97-44 (4-1) 80%
    No 29-97-No 44 (1-0) 100%
    29 – No 97 – No 44 (1-7) 13%

    That’s nuts

    So Leon has to go?

  18. prefonmich says:

    Thanks for all you do! I love the hockey dialogue here but more than that I love the personal element you bring to this game and team we all love! Thanks for caring, and for sharing your stories with us.

  19. hungoverman says:

    “One thing I’ve learned this year? Tell people you care. So. No matter your color, your religious beliefs, your sexual orientation, your political beliefs or your beliefs about oil and gas, I care. You are equal to me in the eyes of the God I pray to. Be well, be safe, know that I care. Sincerely.”
    Marry Christmas LT to you and your family!! This is some of your best writing IMO and you have written many great things.
    Plus…please write a book.

  20. Scungilli Slushy says:

    Merry Christmas LT, you are sincerely cared for as well, and to all that post and
    read.

    All the best in the New Year, and to our frustrating oilers as well.

  21. HugThePost says:

    As all of the lists of the best and worst of this decade start to roll out, I’ve been thinking about what a miserable decade it has been to be an Oiler fan, starting from the drafting of Hall and how he toiled for such a dreadful sucky team/ org just to get dumped, all of the other players they ruined, the incredible inept and at times comical management shitshow, to now as we witness in real time the org bleed and waste incredible talents of 97 and 29.

    The only redeemable thing about following this shit Org for all of this time is that it brought me here to hang out, listen to the convos, and write once in a while.

    Happy Holidays all and good health to you and yours; here’s hoping the ’20s will be kinder to Oiler fans.

  22. Scungilli Slushy says:

    The Oilers need a serious dose of cooler heads prevail.

    The level of rushed poorly thought out plays has stomped full force back into their and our worlds.

    I’m starting to feel it’s about the players. Might need different players to find a consistent level of stability. Everyone else has seen the pipe, coaches many times over. What else could it be that won’t work?

    There is exactly one player that has the calling card to get a pass on being ‘ experimental’.

    Everyone and everything else should be in support of him IMO, because he can do things others can’t.

    I’d love to see Holland pick some pockets, and right the wrongs of the last few years by gaining equity in trades and rebalancing the universe.

  23. Sierra says:

    McSorley33:
    McDavid and Drai:

    Or maybe it is simply they are exhausted….many, many people were pointing out the incredible
    TOI for these2 players.

    Maybe there is a reason you don’t push the TOIas high as Drai was getting earlier in the year?

    Has to be something….

    I might believe they became exhausted, but I have trouble believing they are still exhausted.

    Something else is going on.

  24. ArmchairGM says:

    Ken Holland need not deviate drastically from his wait-and-see, draft-and-develop approach in order to help the team now. There are several established players who are having poor seasons this year who fit the bill as Buy Low candidates; they wouldn’t cost much in trade and yet have the pedigree that indicates they could help this team in the short term.

    Josh Anderson has been suggested previously, but also guys like Alex Galchenyuk, Mikael Granlund and Craig Smith. Even Vladislav Namestnikov could be had for cheap, as he has cooled off after a hot start in Ottawa.

    For 3C there’s less available in the bargain bins, but Cody Eakin is having a sub-par season but is currently sidelined indefinitely; other options include Mikko Koivu, Joe Thornton and Brian Boyle, but these acquisitions would have to wait until closer to the deadline.

    Detroit’s Darren Helm has been doing okay this year despite the tire-fire around him, he’d be available now but has another year left on his deal. I’d like to think Detroit would retain close to 50% and also take back a contract like Chiasson’s, but maybe that’s hoping too far. At least Manning…

    Improving the team this year and building for the future needn’t be mutually exclusive.

  25. Richard Roma says:

    ArmchairGM,

    Helm has been finished for awhile. I’d say no to that one.

    Galchenyuk is like a Gagner. Can help on a second unit. Poor defensively…

    Koivu would be interesting as a rental if we were in contention. He has a lower body injury. With his rep, he’ll probably be an expensive rental.

    Namestnikov always seems interesting. Ottawa fans I’ve talked to don’t like him much.

  26. flea says:

    I actually didn’t mind the kicked in goal. He pushes it with the wide part of the blade, not the toe. I think it’s a hockey play, in my opinion, and why not encourage goal scoring? Lifting your blade off the ice is another story, safety issue.

    Tough game for the Oilers, but I thought they played ok until the third and tried to sit on their lead.

    My only hope is that a bad taste in their mouths takes the sheen off Christmas for the team, and they come back hungry. We were all happy with the Hitchmas miracle last year, and they came back and laid multiple eggs after Christmas.

    The team does need help to stay in it though.

    Merry Christmas to Lowetide, and all the posters here that provide quality comments everyday and make me enjoy this great game even more!

  27. ArmchairGM says:

    Richard Roma:
    ArmchairGM,

    Helm has been finished for awhile. I’d say no to that one.

    Galchenyuk is like a Gagner. Can help on a second unit. Poor defensively…

    Koivu would be interesting as a rental if we were in contention. He has a lower body injury. With his rep, he’ll probably be an expensive rental.

    Namestnikov always seems interesting. Ottawa fans I’ve talked to don’t like him much.

    None are perfect options, but that’s the point: we don’t want to give up the futures necessary to acquire a perfect option. But all have some skill and could, like James Neal, rebound in a new environment. And without much cost, either.

  28. GordieHoweHatTrick says:

    Thanks LT, All!
    Happy Happy
    Joy Joy
    Peace

  29. barry.moore23 says:

    The Vancouver feed showed something like 3-39-8 when McDavid and Drai do not score. How is that possible after all the high draft picks ??? I tried to convince my wife it has to be intentional but she’s not buying that. What else could it be ?? Oh, this team …. Happy holidays to all my Oiler fan friends.

  30. buck yoakam says:

    Thanks Lowetide for creating this space for all of the folks that drop by daily to either just read but also react to each others musings…I never miss a day ….Merry Christmas to all and may 2020 give us all hope!.

  31. Ryan says:

    leadfarmer:
    If your going to play forwards 25 min a night you should probably sit them some days.
    I was hoping they would leave Drai Mcdavid and Bear at home and let them rest for a few extra days

    Are you suggesting the Oilers should have left Drai, McDavid, and Bear at home instead of having them playing Vancouver last night?

    In spite of the 3rd game in 4 nights situation, I don’t really see a scenario in which you’d do that against a division rival especially considering the positions in the standings.

  32. BONE207 says:

    Merry Christmas Everyone…because I care.

    Hell ya that was kicked in. Like the NFL a couple years ago who couldn’t figure out what a catch was, Nhl can’t figure out what a goal is. Kicking the puck to your stick but missing it was always called back. Now I guess you don’t need the stick.

  33. OilClog says:

    Every official on ice and off involved in the soccer goal should be fined, docked performance points to officiate the playoffs. Unprofessional and unacceptable, between the rule book and technology the league should be able to call a correct game.

    Oilers should protest, there’s some serious wrong doing going on in the referee community. Bush league while dipping into sports gambling, NHL needs to sort this out.

  34. Sierra says:

    Was the skate goal reviewed by the command centre?

  35. BONE207 says:

    Sierra:
    Was the skate goal reviewed by the command centre?

    Yes, that’s the ridiculous part. How they could take away P Russell’s goal last time & award this one is beyond imagination.

  36. Rube Foster says:

    Beauty Holiday Greeting LT!

    If this Oiler Blog thingy doesn’t pan out for you, you just may have a bright future in the Greeting Card Industry! 🙂

    To all you Magnificent Bastards everywhere, as the cool kids say – I appreciate you. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and the Happiest of Holidays to you and yours.

    … that goal was kicked in, even young Bronco thought so himself. If ever there was a sign from Gord that that the past decade has been Karmic Retribution for the glory that was the Boys on the Bus, thare she blows.

    It’s been 10 Long Decembers, but there is reason to beleive that the next decade will be better than the last.

  37. McSorley33 says:

    barry.moore23:
    The Vancouver feed showed something like 3-39-8 when McDavid and Drai do not score. How is that possible after all the high draft picks ??? I tried to convince my wife it has to be intentional but she’s not buying that. What else could it be ?? Oh, this team ….Happy holidays to all my Oiler fan friends.

    </blockquo

    Yep.

    I believe it is universally agreed RNH is our best forward on the non-McDavid/Drai division.

    RNH just recorded his 3rd goal at 5x 5.

    Travis Yost of TSN said it best on an article in 2018:

    "Connor McDavid can do many things. He cannot, however, play 60 minutes a night.

    But the chasm in the Oilers performance when McDavid isn’t on the ice is massive. The players the organization strategically developed or targeted to bring into their system and complement McDavid have, as a group, failed."
    *******************************************************************************************
    I would submit to everyone that this season looks awfully familiar to last season

    Waiting for someone to say that our forward group will be dramatically better next year.

  38. HT Joe says:

    Thank you Lowetide for all that you do for the community! Merry Christmas and happy holidays to you and all the posters here!

  39. Reja says:

    flea:
    I actually didn’t mind the kicked in goal. He pushes it with the wide part of the blade, not the toe. I think it’s a hockey play, in my opinion, and why not encourage goal scoring? Lifting your blade off the ice is another story, safety issue.

    Tough game for the Oilers, but I thought they played ok until the third and tried to sit on their lead.

    My only hope is that a bad taste in their mouths takes the sheen off Christmas for the team, and they come back hungry. We were all happy with the Hitchmas miracle last year, and they came back and laid multiple eggs after Christmas.

    The team does need help to stay in it though.

    Merry Christmas to Lowetide, and all the posters here that provide quality comments everyday and make me enjoy this great game even more!

    I bet you enjoyed the game 5 goal against Anaheim as well probably got a real thrill when Carolina took us out in game 7.

  40. flea says:

    Reja,

    While I know you’re being sarcastic, the Game 5 goal was brutal, in game 7 the oilers got outplayed and deserved to lose.

    Just trying to look at it objectively. Horvat doesn’t lift his skate, and players are allowed to use their skate to direct the puck in. While he moves his blade at the puck, he never lifts it.

    It’s actually a pretty impressive play.

    It’s a long season, things even out. Merry Christmas Reja!

  41. Ribs says:

    flea: While he moves his blade at the puck, he never lifts it

    Isn’t “moving his blade at the puck” another way of saying “kicking it”? Why does he have to lift his skate?

    I dunno, I see forward motion with his skate to the puck and I’d consider it a kick. *shrug*

  42. Richard Roma says:

    ArmchairGM: None are perfect options, but that’s the point: we don’t want to give up the futures necessary to acquire a perfect option. But all have some skill and could, like James Neal, rebound in a new environment. And without much cost, either.

    I think we can expect a bit of a return to the Tambellini era as Leadfarmer mentioned.

    Holland is a guy that buys or sells at the deadline. He doesn’t make a lot of moves otherwise.

    It’s a step up from Chiarelli, but maybe the pendulum has swung too far in the other direction.

  43. Silver Streak says:

    who were the refs last night ? Wonder if the ref that McD pissed off re his called back goal and subsequent successful one comment worked the Vncvr game last nite…..the goal
    ” was directed by a skate with a forward motion ” IMHO ….only in VNCVR !

  44. Scungilli Slushy says:

    barry.moore23:
    The Vancouver feed showed something like 3-39-8 when McDavid and Drai do not score. How is that possible after all the high draft picks ??? I tried to convince my wife it has to be intentional but she’s not buying that. What else could it be ?? Oh, this team ….Happy holidays to all my Oiler fan friends.

    Happy Holidays to you!

    Luck is a big part of sports, and life. So is opportunity, recognizing it and taking it. Sometimes things happen and work out better than anyone could have expected.

    4 first overall picks. Connor is obviously blowing even that lofty set of expectations out of the water. Hall is meeting his, a true play driving force, an impact player, warts and all.

    Nuge was the consensus pick, and the luck part is that draft year was very shallow. Nuge is shy offensively for his draft position, as was expected based on his junior scoring. It turns out based on the fact he’s in the apex of his prime, that he is more of a complimentary player than would be hoped for.

    Yak was also the consensus first pick (meaning the Oilers didn’t blow it), and for me is clearly a bust. How he was handled is a thing, but he had other chances, and can’t even dominate the KHL.

    Then another high pick in JP is in trouble and has devalued massively. I have my doubts about the due diligence done by Chiarelli, because he did not expect it seemed to see JP drop. Still he was the consensus pick at 4. For me at that point I’d be willing to go outside consensus if intel suggested it – JP was never thought to be in the elite level.

    Trading away one of the two impact first overalls was devastating given the weak return even if Larsson is good. Add an outright bust, a complimentary player instead of an elite or impact player, and a lottery prospect in trouble, and that’s a lot of talent missing from what we might expect.

    The kicker is a series of talent draining further deals, the highlight being a trading the 16 and 33 for a player that also busted.

    Any team would be in trouble. Bad luck, and being bull headed and not growing with the times, earned this.

    What remains hopeful for 2020 and beyond is this. Nothing can be done about past bad luck (although it occurs to me a stats savvy team might have traded out of the 1 OV and acquired assets knowing they were not missing out most likely on an impact player, so perhaps it wasn’t 100% bad luck), but a couple of good moves could turn the balance back to a more neutral state for the team.

    Part of the good moves is making needed potential talent on the farm push their way onto the roster. They’ll be working harder than ever and hungrier than ever when they arrive, if they have it in them.

    Many here don’t think Holland and the flying blind, no stats dept Oilers, won’t have it in them to do it. I’ll hold out hope until crushed again that they will find players to help that are NHL normal quality players. And that he’ll improve the cap position while he’s at it.

    Sorry for the wall!

  45. Scungilli Slushy says:

    Ribs: Isn’t “moving his blade at the puck” another way of saying “kicking it”? Why does he have to lift his skate?

    I dunno, I see forward motion with his skate to the puck and I’d consider it a kick. *shrug*

    For me it’s the forward motion, indicating he was directing the puck with his foot. If he left it in the skating position the foot was in without any change, hoping it bounced off and in, good goal. But he didn’t do that.

  46. New Improved Darkness says:

    The end times are clearly upon us.

    Yesterday I was driving through town completing some last-minute xmas errands, and I spotted a payday loan store flying under a giant white banner: CLEARANCE SALE.

    O Brother, Where Art Thou? with the cow on the cotton shed.

    Apparently, they overstocked in 2019 payday loans, and they desperately need to make room for some inbound 2020 payday loans.

    ———

    Blessed baby Jesus, can you spare us an ndash, this one time, so we can be 20–20 in 2020?

    ———

    Jesus [circa February 2021]: Oh! You meant a mama-bear hyphen! Why didn’t you say so in plain language? Now it’s too late, and the golden symmetry of your prayer is ruined. Sorry about that. My bad. I should have caught this sooner. But what with carpentry class where a procured 2×4 becomes a cured 1½×3½, over-delivery requires immense planning. And I do have a lot on the go, what with a stiff daily Pilates regimen to enable me to adequately project my voice from the lofty prominence of a small mountain slope.

    ———

    [*] “What with” is pretty much the main verb in Aramaic; Aramaic being a Jewish language to the core, which no amount of Pilates succeeded in sanding over.

  47. JOFA says:

    flea:
    Reja,

    While I know you’re being sarcastic, the Game 5 goal was brutal, in game 7 the oilers got outplayed and deserved to lose.

    Just trying to look at it objectively. Horvat doesn’t lift his skate, and players are allowed to use their skate to direct the puck in. While he moves his blade at the puck, he never lifts it.

    It’s actually a pretty impressive play.

    It’s a long season, things even out. Merry Christmas Reja!

    Doesn’t lift his skate? Are you sure? How much snow did he spray up with that right skate? Now watch the left skate. It appears he was stopping with his left skate and doing his best to get his skate on the puck with his right. His first interview after the game was telling…as was his smirk on the bench. The second interview from the dressing room he happened to have a completely different answer from the first a few minutes prior. He knew damn well that wasn’t a Goooooooooool!

  48. Scungilli Slushy says:

    Richard Roma: I think we can expect a bit of a return to the Tambellini era as Leadfarmer mentioned.

    Holland is a guy that buys or sells at the deadline. He doesn’t make a lot of moves otherwise.

    It’s a step up from Chiarelli, but maybe the pendulum has swung too far in the other direction.

    Hopefully the old dog has learned some new tricks.

    I found Bruce’s timeline of Holland’s activity before and after Illitch’s passing interesting. The pattern changed, I wonder if the owner was quite hands on and Holland was doing his bidding to a degree, especially with the aging core.

    I hope he is very active in 2020. Of course if nothing is out there you shouldn’t make moves, but I agree with Armchair that there are players in the league system that could help and aren’t expensive to get or cap killers.

    Finding them is where the stats dept would help, and I see as a primary function, to search out undervalued players existing and in the draft round 3 and later where it gets foggy. Round 1 and 2 you couild just use Bob’s list and win the day.

  49. dustrock says:

    New Improved Darkness,

    With all we’ve been through, I’m amazed we’re in as good condition as we are, what with the Decade of Darkness and all.

  50. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    Sierra: I might believe they became exhausted, but I have trouble believing they are still exhausted.

    Something else is going on.

    They’ve played 13 games in 24 days since November 30th vs their toughest stretch of opponents.

    They’re exhausted.

  51. jtblack says:

    AVS @ VGS takeaways. Both teams push the puck up the ice quickly.

    The last big acquisitions for VGS are Statsny, Pacioretty & Stone. Patches is a decent skater. Stone ad Statsny are sub par. Point is their overall team speed is noticeably slower than year 1. Their back end now Has Hague, Holden, McNabb & Engellend – all slower skaters.

    VGS has loads of depth up front. 3 skill lines.

    COL has skill throughout. SAKIC has just put together a good team. They are young, skilled and can skate.

    Mackinnon Rantanen Landeskog is great 1st line. I was impressed with Landeskog live. Very skilled.

    Kadri Buraakovsky Donskoi. All have skill. Burakivsky can fly.

    Jers where I noticed COL was far better than edm. Compher Calvert Bellmare Nishushkin, Nieto & Jost. All have skill. You can see why Nishuskin was a 1st rounder. Huge and can skate. But all of their “bottom 6” have skill and can make plays.

    E Johnson, Zadaarov Girard were all solid Makar was hurt.

    Final Summary; AVS have skill on lines 1- 4.

    Calvert 19 pts
    Compher 19 pts
    Nieto 16 pts
    Nishuskin 13 pts
    Bellmare 12 pts
    Jost 11 pts

    That makes up their bottom 6. Solid team. Well done Sakic. Byam and Newhook waiting to join soon.

  52. doctoreye says:

    ArmchairGM,

    The obvious option was HALL!

  53. jtblack says:

    jtblack:
    AVS @ VGS takeaways.Both teams push the puck up the ice quickly.

    The last big acquisitions for VGS are Statsny, Pacioretty & Stone.Patches is a decent skater. Stone ad Statsny are sub par. Point is their overall team speed is noticeably slower than year 1. Their back end now Has Hague, Holden, McNabb & Engellend – all slower skaters.

    VGS has loads of depth up front. 3 skill lines.

    COL has skill throughout.SAKIC has just put together a good team. They are young, skilled and can skate.

    Mackinnon Rantanen Landeskog is great 1st line.I was impressed with Landeskog live.Very skilled.

    Kadri Buraakovsky Donskoi. All have skill. Burakivsky can fly.

    Heres where I noticed COL was far better than edm.Compher Calvert Bellmare Nishushkin, Nieto & Jost. All have skill.You can see why Nishuskin was a 1st rounder.Huge and can skate.But all of their “bottom 6” have skill and can make plays.

    E Johnson, Zadaarov Girard were all solid Makar was hurt.

    Final Summary; AVS have skill on lines 1- 4.

    Calvert 19 pts
    Compher 19 pts
    Nieto 16 pts
    Nishuskin 13 pts
    Bellmare 12 pts
    Jost 11 pts

    That makes up their bottom 6.Solid team.Well done Sakic. Byram and Newhook waiting to join soon.

  54. dunterpunter says:

    “2nd line needs more 5×5 scoring”

    Multiple sources have said this, it’s correct, but damn. Poor Nuge.

    If we had a 2nd line with 2nd line wingers – or at least one that can support Nuge, maybe it would be easier.

    If I was Nuge I wouldn’t want to take one more year of being stuck on a 2nd line with 3rd line wingers. I know last year was a different story, but I feel sorry for the guy.

    Merry Xmas

    The goal last night was a bummer – but the Oilers have got some challenges in their favour.

  55. Little Johnny Frostbite says:

    dustrock,

    My daughter just turned 10 yesterday! Our whole home has been ravaged by the plague, so a lot of our holiday plans have ended up flushed down the toilet (literally) or thrown up (literally). 😉

    Luckily she recovered enough to have a great birthday, and I scraped up enough energy to make it so. 🙂 Hopefully we’ll be mostly better in time to gorge ourselves tomorrow and have no regrets.

    Christmas will revolve around good food, drink, board games with the kids, British Panel shows because we are a bunch of weird anglophiles.

    Seeing how lethargic some of our top guns seem, I wonder if there’s an illness or something at foot. I don’t expect to see any trades before February; maybe a waiver pickup, but unlikely. Hopefully they turn it around.

    Merry Christmas, y’all. Enjoy your families, and your loved ones!

    Happy Christmas LT! Thanks for giving me a place to procrastinate at any hour of the day! You do the Lord’s work, good, sir.

  56. norm_klassen says:

    Can we call up Benson and Yam and see what they can do? We need to indoctrinate them sooner or later. I dont expect free agents are lining up to sign here next year.

  57. jtblack says:

    MIN 20 GAMES.
    AVALANCHE forwards with less than 11 Points. = 0

    OILERS forwards with less than 11 Points = 7.

    Russell, Archibald, Granlund, Sheahan, Nygaard, Haas, Gagner.

    Depth. It’s a thing.

  58. Unfriendly Regional Arachnid Individual says:

    I think we’ve gone through enough coaches to trust that this isn’t a coach issue. The roster needs some substantial additions at F to be able to remain competitive and now is the perfect time to make those changes. Going into a relatively slow-paced February where McDavid and Draisaitl should be able to get some rest and prepare for their (seemingly) annual torrent down the stretch.

    Guys like Wood (1.44 P/60), Sheary (1.35), Sorensen (1.3), Ennis (2.27) and even Boedker (3yr avg of above 1.5) would all be improvements. None should cost too much or anything at all and all improve the skill and speed dimensions of our bottom-9. It might only take two of them to make enough of a difference to allow the team to hold on until the deadline where Holland might feel comfortable enough to make a big addition.

    Also maybe trade Khaira for DeSmith.

  59. Unfriendly Regional Arachnid Individual says:

    norm_klassen:
    Can we call up Benson and Yam and see what they can do? We need to indoctrinate them sooner or later. I dont expect free agents are lining up to sign here next year.

    I don’t get the aversion to giving them a try up here. Sure, they’re not lighting up the world right now in the AHL, but both have skill and I’m sure at least one of them can offer a noticeable improvement on who Nuge is currently stuck playing with. Worst case, they don’t cut it and get sent back knowing what they need to improve to make the jump back up. If that’s enough to cripple their confidence, they’re not long for the NHL anyway.

    If bringing Benson up allows Neal to be shunted to the 4th line where he can do as little damage as possible while still bringing value on the PP, then even that’s enough for me.

  60. Scungilli Slushy says:

    norm_klassen:
    Can we call up Benson and Yam and see what they can do? We need to indoctrinate them sooner or later. I dont expect free agents are lining up to sign here next year.

    Maybe not this year, but Benson is an easy skill add next season. He’ll be 22, I think he will help. More than some of the current players, vet or not. Yama too if he could play a fullish season sometime.

    I get wanting vets, but if they aren’t getting it done what’s the point?

    The point above mentions Sakic adds skill everywhere. The Oilers can as well. Merciless cap dumping. Trade for a skill winger or two, maybe a Ufa that isn’t a bad contract as much as possible – Sakic added without being dumb and those second tier guys are producing, I believe because the overall skill level is high in the team – good players to play with, while not perfect.

    Use The D that are ready in Lagesson Jones and probably Bouchard next year.

  61. Munny says:

    Unfriendly Regional Arachnid Individual: I don’t get the aversion to giving them a try up here

    The aversion is likely because the Oilers are already breaking in two rooks.

    I doubt we see Benson till Coaching Tip thinks Jones is settled in.

  62. Bling says:

    Benson, Yamamoto and Marody aren’t pushing a PPG yet at the AHL level.

    They are in line with the likes of Josh Currie and Brad Malone, so we have an idea of what we can expect production wise from them in the NHL.

    I really don’t see any of those guys helping in the top six right now, and I say that as a fan of all three players.

  63. Munny says:

    Ennis.

    I’ve been preaching His Name for awhile now.

    Josh Anderson (if available)

    Reja, Armchair and I have been yelling this one from the mountain tops too.

    Those two players would make a world of difference.

  64. Bling says:

    Drai is clearly tired, and so is McDavid.

    At some point an upgrade to the top six has to incorporate the calculus of how dominant the big two are when well-rested, and how much there is to lose from an overuse type injury.

  65. Reja says:

    JOFA: Doesn’t lift his skate? Are you sure? How much snow did he spray up with that right skate? Now watch the left skate. It appears he was stopping with his left skate and doing his best to get his skate on the puck with his right.His first interview after the game was telling…as was his smirk on the bench. The second interview from the dressing room he happened to have a completely different answer from the first a few minutes prior. He knew damn well that wasn’t a Goooooooooool!

    He Instinctively kicked in on purpose when the knuckles went out for drinks after they were all laughing how Bow has a horseshoe up his ass. How can anyone not trolling think otherwise.

  66. jtblack says:

    Munny:
    Ennis.

    I’ve been preaching His Name for awhile now.

    Josh Anderson (if available)

    Reja, Armchair and I have been yelling this one from the mountain tops too.

    Those two players would make a world of difference.

    ENNIS seems like the perfect type of target. Will be UFA. just played for $800k. has speed and skill.

    Would like to see his fancies.

    Ken should go after him on a 1 yr or 2 yr show me deal for around $1 Mil per

  67. tileguy says:

    Bling:
    Drai is clearly tired, and so is McDavid.

    At some point an upgrade to the top six has to incorporate the calculus of how dominant the big two are when well-rested, and how much there is to lose from an overuse type injury.

    There is a lot of truth in your statement, tired mind, tired legs, contribute to injury. We have to upgrade the top six with scorers and are currency is Defencemen

  68. HT Joe says:

    Reja: How can anyone not trolling think otherwise.

    With so many people throwing the “troll” label around over the last month or so, I feel compelled to add my 2 cents:

    – Poster trying to objectively understand what went through a referee’s head during a game: Not trolling

    – Poster accusing a fellow fan of “[enjoying] the game 5 goal against Anaheim as well probably [getting] a real thrill when Carolina took us out in game 7”: definitely trolling.

  69. Unfriendly Regional Arachnid Individual says:

    Munny:
    Ennis.

    I’ve been preaching His Name for awhile now.

    Josh Anderson (if available)

    Reja, Armchair and I have been yelling this one from the mountain tops too.

    Those two players would make a world of difference.

    I realize I’m relatively new here, but exclusion takes lives, ya know 🙁

  70. geowal says:

    Early Merry Christmas from Prague! It’s 12:15 here, just returned from a pub after a nighttime walk in the city, place is actually prettier at night than the daytime.
    Boxing Day off to the World Juniors, looking forward to seeing Lavoie and Rodrigue against Russia and Germany, hoping both play.

  71. Munny says:

    Unfriendly Regional Arachnid Individual,

    lol… sorry, was going off the top of my head. Plenty of room around the microphone for a full chorus.

  72. Munny says:

    geowal,

    Say hi to my friends John and Donna if you run into them, lol. Careful, though, they’re Flames fans.

  73. drglen says:

    late to comment sorry. frustrating game, but I cannot say the canucks did not deserve to win, in spite of everything… they wanted it more and they have more threats to score throughout the lineup.

    That was a kicking motion… I mean.. what the hell, .. how can you not call a kicking motion.. a kicking motion? he kicked the puck in. Maybe we should work on some trick plays which use feet. Haas is probably a good soccer player… get in front, tie up the d stick, and pass to his feet and he kicks it in. why not, apparently this is a good hockey play now.

    But, I though Canucks had two or three clear goals where they missed point blank or hit the post… they could have been ahead 4-2 going into the third period.. That’s why I’m not too upset, and I think subconsciouly the refs , though they are not supposed to.. considered that a goal was due.. kicked or not.

    Larsson looked good but, I’m not seeing opposing forward really REMOVED from the puck and the puck going north… lots of battle but not going north. Except for Bear… good game. Jones looking better.

    What we needed to win that game were some faceoff wins. I don’t know what we can do about that. When we need a draw we don’t get it. It’s a huge problem

  74. Unfriendly Regional Arachnid Individual says:

    Munny:
    Unfriendly Regional Arachnid Individual,

    lol… sorry, was going off the top of my head.Plenty of room around the microphone for a full chorus.

    Just joking, of course 🙂 At this point, I’d be surprised if everyone in the blog hadn’t called for his acquisition!

  75. Buddy says:

    I’d like to say the kicking goal last night was beyond ridiculous, but that would imply that the NHL video review room has standards which they sometimes (often) fail to meet, whereas the truth is either (1) they just make it up on the fly, or, more likely, (2) there is no Toronto video room, the refs just stand around for awhile holding iPads that are connected to nothing, and they then decide whatever they want.

    We’ve all known since 2017 that the Oilers have to win games beyond the margin of Bettman, but it still comes as a punch in the face every time we’re reminded of it.

    Anyway, who cares. We’re halfway through the season and the Oilers might still make the playoffs. I sure didn’t predict that. So let’s call the glass half full, and raise a toast to our host.

    Merry Christmas, LT! And Merry Christmas to all my fellow Lowetideans!

  76. Reja says:

    HT Joe: With so many people throwing the “troll” label around over the last month or so, I feel compelled to add my 2 cents:

    – Poster trying to objectively understand what went through a referee’s head during a game:Not trolling

    – Poster accusing a fellow fan of “[enjoying] the game 5 goal against Anaheim as well probably [getting] a real thrill when Carolina took us out in game 7”:definitely trolling.

    Oh the poor done by ref looked at the monitor knew he was wrong but wasn’t man enough to overturn the call. He fuked my team out of two points and your worried about the refs feelings

  77. HT Joe says:

    Reja: Oh the poor done by ref looked at the monitor knew he was wrong but wasn’t man enough to overturn the call. He fuked my team out of two points and your worried about the refs feelings

    For what it’s worth, the call sucked (and I’m mad at the refs) – we don’t disagree there at all.

    Merry Christmas!

  78. YKOil says:

    Merry Christmas all!

  79. CallighenMan says:

    flea:
    Reja,

    While I know you’re being sarcastic, the Game 5 goal was brutal, in game 7 the oilers got outplayed and deserved to lose.

    Just trying to look at it objectively. Horvat doesn’t lift his skate, and players are allowed to use their skate to direct the puck in. While he moves his blade at the puck, he never lifts it.

    It’s actually a pretty impressive play.

    It’s a long season, things even out. Merry Christmas Reja!

    Your interpretation of what is a kick and also what actually happened is incorrect. He is overshooting the net and realizes he can’t stop so he moves his foot forward ( actually back because he has already slightly overshot the puck) in order to direct the puck past the goalie. It was virtually a textbook kicked in goal. In soccer you don’t kick the ball with your toes, you shoot and pass with the side (inner or outer) or top of your foot in the case of a volley or half-volley.

    I used to think NHL refereeing was crap when the Bruins and Flyers were always wrestling the glory years Oilers to the ice, but current referees are far worse as they are totally inconsistent and often do not seem to even know the actual rules.

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