Bare Trees

by Lowetide

The Edmonton Oilers grabbed a point from the best team in the league despite playing without several of its best players. It was a balls out effort and I give the entire team credit. My player of the game? Ethan Bear. Time and again, it’s the rookie who sends the puck to safety, tape-to-tape and under control. Such a fine player.

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: Oilers lack deadline flexibility due to injuries, few assets and bonuses
  • New Lowetide: Making sense of the Oilers forward depth chart for the summer
  • Lowetide: For Oilers’ Kailer Yamamoto and Leon Draisaitl, first impressions are long forgotten. Why not for Jesse Puljujarvi?
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Next-night masters: How the Oilers beat the Hurricanes and improved to 6-0 in the 2nd half of back-to-backs
  • Lowetide: Oilers reap benefits of Bakersfield Condors’ strong development process, even in a losing season
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Stepping out and up, Leon Draisaitl puts himself in the Hart Trophy mix in Connor McDavid’s absence
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Despite ‘transformation’ with Oilers, Zack Kassian’s on-ice actions come under scrutiny again
  • Jonathan Willis: Why the Oilers are playing their best 5-on-5 hockey of the season
  • Lowetide: Making sense of the Oilers defensive depth chart for the stretch run and the summer
  • Jonathan Willis: 10 overlooked trade targets for the Oilers before the 2020 deadline
  • Lowetide: The Oilers trading their first-round pick is a bad idea
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: 15 potential trade targets for the Oilers before the 2020 deadline
  • Lowetide: Drilling down on right-handed centres for the Oilers to target before the trade deadline
  • Lowetide: If fast is the new big, the Oilers are trending in a very good direction
  • Lowetide: Why the Oilers are more likely to trade Adam Larsson than Kris Russell
  • Lowetide: Oilers prospects Evan Bouchard and Tyler Benson deliver best minor league performances in 20 years
  • Jonathan Willis: An updated list of which Oilers are most likely to be traded in 2019-20

OILERS AFTER 60 GAMES

  • Oilers in 2015-16: 22-32-6, 50 points; goal differential -31
  • Oilers in 2016-17: 32-20-8, 72 points; goal differential +12
  • Oilers in 2017-18: 25-31-4, 54 points; goal differential -33
  • Oilers in 2018-19: 25-29-6, 56 points; goal differential -24
  • Oilers in 2019-20: 32-21-7, 71 points; goal differential +4

A strong middle period was the key to getting the Bettman, along with special teams which are a damned dream for Oilers fans who have been watching for the last decade. A slender point behind the 2016-17 season after 60 games. Music!

ON THE TENS

  • First 10 games: 7-2-1
  • Second 10 games: 5-4-1
  • Third 10 games: 5-4-1
  • Fourth 10 games: 3-6-1
  • Fifth 10 games: 6-2-2
  • Sixth 10 games: 6-3-1

That’s a solid number and puts Edmonton in very good position for the stretch run. We’ll see if Ken Holland makes any moves but this team has earned the help.

OILERS IN FEBRUARY

  • Oilers in February 2016: 2-7-0, four points; goal differential -18
  • Oilers in February 2017: 5-4-0, 10 points; goal differential 0
  • Oilers in February 2018: 2-6-1, five points; goal differential -4
  • Oilers in February 2019: 1-5-3, five points; goal differential -12
  • Oilers in February 2020: 5-3-1, 11 points; goal differential +2

Best February in the McDavid era, and a positive goal differential to boot. Oilers are 3-1-1 without 97, which would have been impossible before Tippett.

WHAT TO EXPECT IN FEBRUARY

  • On the road to: CAL, ARI (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 1-1-0)
  • At home to: SJS, NAS, CHI (Expected 2-1-0) (Actual 2-1-0)
  • On the road to: TBY, FLA, CAR (Expected 1-1-1) (Actual 2-1-0)
  • At home to: BOS, MIN (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 0-0-1)
  • On the road to: LAK, ANA, VEG (Expected 2-1-0)
  • At home to: WPG (Expected 1-0-0)
  • Overall expected result: 8-5-1, 17 points in 14 games
  • Current results: 5-3-1, 11 points in nine games

Oilers need three wins from the final five games in the month to reach my expected results. I like this team’s chances, though Vegas and Winnipeg could be a challenge. Edmonton on pace to finish with 97 points.

OILERS 2019-20

Not much scoring so the numbers remain mostly untouched. Leon Draisaitl has a 14-point lead on Connor McDavid with 22 games left. McDavid won’t play in all of them. All numbers five on five unless noted and via Natural Stat Trick.

LINE 1 Nuge-Leon Draisaitl-Kailer Yamamoto played 10:55, going 10-6 Corsi, 8-2 shots, 0-1 goals, 5-2 HDSC. Draisaitl played 12 minutes against Chara-McAvoy but there was no hard match among the forwards.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had two shots, HDSC, played well and skated miles. Smart player. Had a power-play assist. Took a silly penalty, suspect he thought everyone was doing it so why not? But the stripes caught him. Leon Draisaitl had three shots, two HDSC, three giveaways, one takeaway, won 12 of 16 in the faceoff circle. My favourite play was a strong back check and interception in the Oilers slot and then jailbreak the other way for a good chance. Great discipline and attention to detail. Kailer Yamamoto spent the evening driving Zdeno Chara crazy. Yamamoto used Chara’s size against him brilliantly in a hummingbird versus 18-wheeler matchup. Best chance in OT. He lost his mark again on the first goal, that’s twice in a week. However, Sebastian Aho and Patrice Bergeron are damned good hockey players so let’s review.

LINE 2 Tyler Benson-Riley Sheahan-Josh Archibald played 6:27, going 2-6 Corsi, 0-2 shots no goals and 1-1 HDSC.

Tyler Benson had a quiet night, getting one or two good looks (great chance on the power play). He does get the puck to good places, that’s going to keep him in the lineup. Bruins were a load for Game No. 5 of his career. Riley Sheahan had a takeaway and won two of four on the dot. Josh Archibald had a HDSC, takeaway and played over six effective PK minutes (as did Sheahan). The special teams impacted this line’s five on five minutes. Important players in getting the Bettman.

LINE 3 Sam Gagner-Gaetan Haas-Alex Chiasson played 5:36, going 9-3 Corsi, 3-1 shots, no goals and 1-1 HDSC.

Sam Gagner scored the power-play goal, and at even strength he had two shots, HDSC and played well five on four. He was the most dangerous shooter on the Edmonton side, adding a crossbar ping to his deflection goal. Gaetan Haas had a shot, drew a penalty and won three of four faceoffs. He’s a player Tippett likes at five on five. Alex Chiasson was very physical and drew the attention of the Bruins a couple of times. One shot, drew a penalty and two giveaways. This line got some traction and Gagner scored the goal. I wonder if they get more time on Friday night.

LINE 4 Jujhar Khaira-Colby Cave-Patrick Russell played 3:04, going 3-1 Corsi, 1-1 shots, no goals and no HDSC.

Jujhar Khaira played 4:34 at five on five and 4:19 on the four on five, had a shot on the PK but nothing shaking elsewhere. Colby Cave blocked a shot and won two of four faceoffs. Doesn’t get PK time, meaning he didn’t play much. Patrick Russell had a shot on net.

PAIRING ONE Caleb Jones and Adam Larsson played 13:25, going 17-8 Corsi, 9-3 shots, no goals and 5-2 HDSC. Pairing spent just one minute against Bergeron line.

Caleb Jones had a giveaway and a takeaway, and confidently moved the puck. That included some smooth moves past forecheckers and taking good risks. I thought he looked right at home in the top-four defense. Adam Larsson also had a solid game, two shots, a giveaway, took a penalty and played 5:21 on the PK. Took a shot off the back (neck? shoulder?) later in the game and seemed dulled for a moment.

PAIRING TWO Darnell Nurse and Ethan Bear played 11:16, going 4-16 Corsi, 0-8 shots, 0-1 goals and 2-8 HDSC. They were supported (7:15) by the Draisaitl line and faced (6:28) the Bergeron line for basically the entirety of that trio’s five on five time.

Darnell Nurse had one HDSC and a giveaway on an enormous night’s work. Including both special teams he played 29:58. Defended Marchand’s progress into the Oilers zone but couldn’t stop the pass to Bergeron (who had a step on Yamamoto) on the first goal. In overtime, he stumbled as he drove to the net, then fell, his mark (Pastrnak) scoring the winner. Took a penalty on the PP when he didn’t feel pressure and turned the puck over in a bad spot. I’ll give him credit, he answered the bell. I’m not inclined to bury a guy for doing his best when injuries force the coach to stretch him to impossible levels. I’ll stand by Darnell Nurse this morning, just as I did for Shawn Horcoff when he had to carry giant boulders up a hill under sniper fire. Context, people. Ethan Bear had a fine night, I want to scream because people apparently don’t notice his cherry passes. Jesus, Mary and Joseph if you haven’t witnessed these pay close attention to how much danger is avoided by Bear’s outlets. Had the assist on the PP goal, I think we may see him more (PP is not Nurse’s strength) as the days go down. Took a penalty, drew a penalty, pissed off Marchand, had a takeaway.

PAIRING THREE William Lagesson and Matt Benning played 6:31, going 5-5 Corsi, 4-2 shots and no threats.

William Lagesson had a good game, you can see why the Oilers like him. Drew a penalty, made some good decisions defensively and received substantial PK time (4:40). That’s a tell, ladies and germs. Coach trusts you against the best team in the league on the PK in your fourth NHL game, coach trusts you. Matt Benning had two shots, took a penalty, drew a penalty, takeaway. I think this pairing may get more minutes moving forward, solid evening’s work.

GOALIE Mike Smith stopped 32 of 34, .941 and both goals against were high danger. I don’t think anyone can blame the goalie this morning. One minor note: He is so aggressive on breakaways, not sure it’s wise to be that consistently aggressive. Shooters wait until he makes his move. Supposed to be the other way.

NURSE AND THE POWER PLAY

One of the things we’ll see in the days to come is an adjustment in power-play usage among defensemen. In the 2019-20 season, lefties have been deployed for 288 minutes (2-19-21, 4.38 points per 60) and righties for 48 minutes (1-1-2, 2.49 points per 60).

Next season, maybe sooner, Evan Bouchard and Ethan Bear are going to change the dynamic. Maybe Edmonton runs two defensemen on each PP or maybe Nurse is dropped and Bear is added (until Bouchard gets used to the rigors of five on five).

Either way, Dave Tippett’s opinion is the one that matters, and he had Nurse out on the power play and in extra time. We know that Nurse, who has a great shot, doesn’t have the passing and offensive instincts of Klefbom. His decision not to reset (but rather drive to the net) is being mentioned online as a mistake, but I’d suggest it was the right call but wrong player. Tippett would rather have had Klefbom there, he’s unavailable. Coach has given his veteran a shot in that spot, maybe we see a different look next time. Perhaps Bear and Benning in extra time.

I’m a little flummoxed this morning by people burying Nurse for giving his best last night. It’s Horcoff all over again. Edmonton booed Paul Coffey, so in a way Nurse should take this as a compliment. I’m wondering why we can’t acknowledge shortcomings without being vicious about it, but then again this is the internet. You know folks, all five men out against Bergeron’s line last night made mistakes. Maybe we can reflect on that for a time.

May I respectfully suggest your concerns are better expressed at the coaching level? I think a more interesting discussion today would involve how long it takes Tippett to move Bear on to the 1PP and Nurse off the 1PP. He’s a damned smart coach, that’s a move he could make today.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

At 10 this morning, we’ll hit the ground running with plenty to talk about. Sounds like a Holland avail will be part of the proceedings, we’ll carry it if available. Frank Seravalli will also join us to chat about trade deadline heating up, Jeff Krushell from Krush Performance will chat Blue Jays and MLB.

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Woodguy v2.0

WC standings using points percentage shown as points over/under fake Bettman .500

Central
COL 16
STL 16
DAL 16

Lolrific
EDM 11
VAN 10
VGK 9

Wildcard
CGY 7
NSH 6

Out of playoffs
WPG 6
ARI 5
MIN 4
CHI 0
SJS -3
ANA -5
LAK -13

-COL has 1 less gp than STL & DAL
-STL and DAL have same pts%, but STL has 2 more regulation wins than DAL
-NSH has 2 less gp than WPG

Relevant games tonight:

WPG (-135) at OTT (+115) – Given that OTT shitcanned BUF with 7 goals 2 days ago I wonder if fading Hellebuyck is good here? Getting Demelo from OTT was a good move by Chevy.

ARI (+150) at STL (-170) – I don’ think ARI has a prayer here.

TBY (-120) at VGK (+100) – If TBY weren’t out getting the flu last night they’re value at this price

Woodguy v2.0

EC standings using points percentage shown as points over/under fake Bettman .500

Atlantic
BOS 27
TBY 25
FLA 10

Central
PIT 22
WSH 20
CAR 13

Wildcard
NYI 13
PHI 13

Out of playoffs
CBJ 11
TOR 9
NYR 7
BUF 2
MTL 0
NJD -5
OTT -7
DET -28

-CAR and NYI have same pts %, CAR has 2 more regulation wins
-Both CAR and NYI have played one less game than PHI

-If FLA wins and CBJ loses then for the first time in a month or so the top 8 teams in the EC will also be the 8 playoff teams.

-If FLA wins and TOR loses then the gap between them for 3rd in the Atlantic is 3 points over Bettman with 20 games to go for TOR…..

-Relevant wildcard games today:

PIT (-105) at TOR (-115) – What’s better than watching PIT crush TOR in PIT? Watching them do it in TOR. TOR being a fav here has everything to do with TOR fans betting on their team regardless, not actual ability. PIT is good value here.

PHI (+105) at CBJ (-125) – Gotta like PHI at this price. Jack is out of cards except for Elvis and the kid has to be getting tired.

FLA (-140) at LAK (+120) – FLA got Good Bob last night in ANA so that means FLA’s better goalie Montembeault will start. I like them here. Price is close.

Tesla's Hair

Oops! I predicted 70 points with Connor out the first part of season. No way they can win without CMD. Wrong and wrong and wrong. So happy to be so wrong.

speeds

Personally, I have no problem with Nurses effort, but I did not see him as the best PP option before the game and still dont afterwards. Particularly when you know he is about to play a bunch of other minutes. As you say, player usage is a coaching decision, not on the player.

One way to reduce the minutes for Bear/Nurse might be to dress 7D and put Bouchard on PP1 right out of the box. Particularly when 97 is back and you can perhaps rotate the 3Cs through line 4?

Woodguy v2.0

My player of the game? Ethan Bear.

There is a strong argument that he is the best Oiler Dman this year.

JJS

I am a bit worried about Nurse and his hockey instincts

Discounting the occasional rush, I don’t see consistent positive contributions that match the modern game

I like the player and the emotion, but he is a 4th or 5th defense-man on a Stanley

teddyturnbuckle

Weird game last night with all the power plays. Thank god for the penalty killers last night because the Oilers power play was brutal. Zone entries are still a mess hopefully Conner will be back soon. Time to try Bear on PP 1. He has EARNED IT! Lagesson looked good last night which is good news.

LadiesloveSmid

Wonder if Tippett thinks about either A) playing Bear on PP1 or B) playing Bouchard PP1, scratching Cave & running 7D. Cave played 4 minutes last night.

OriginalPouzar

5 games without McDavid and the team goes 3-1-1 and the only blemishes are a one goal loss in Tampa and an OTL against the Bruins – the two hottest/best teams in the NHL.

This is something else.

LadiesloveSmid

Woodguy v2.0:
My player of the game? Ethan Bear.

There is a strong argument that he is the best Oiler Dman this year.

I always love good oiler defenceman more than superstar forwards. Loved Petry, loved Davidson even when he broke in.

If Bear gets a long extension, I think I’ll have to get a jersey for the first time since 2012.

giddy

OriginalPouzar:
5 games without McDavid and the team goes 3-1-1 and the only blemishes are a one goal loss in Tampa and an OTL against the Bruins – the two hottest/best teams in the NHL.

This is something else.

No kidding!!! Wow. Amazing stuff. Credit to Smith too for last night, that was a fantastic game for him.

OriginalPouzar

“William Lagesson had a good game, you can see why the Oilers like him.”

I can see why the Oilers SHOULD like him (and I’ve been pumping his tires for two years now) but do the Oilers actually like him?

He’s had to fight tooth and nail to get lineup and ice time – yes, Jones has played well and deserves to be ahead of him on the depth chart and Russell is the incumbent vet. I go back to the 8 straight games of healthy scratch when a regressing Manning played night over night.

I hope the Oilers like him and, if they don’t, I think Willie is going to show them why they should over the next few weeks.

wheatnoil

Nurse – Bear had a tough game but was hard matched against Bergeron. They faced other forwards, of course but Bergeron-Pasta faced almost no other D than Nurse – Bear. I think we can say two things about that:

1) Nurse-Bear (and the forwards on the ice with them) were not up to the task. They got carved at 5×5 / even-strength. There’s no sin in that. Not many can handle Bergeron-Pasta. But it is what it is. Nurse-Bear did their best and last night weren’t at a level where they can shut down one of the best duos in the NHL.

2) All the other D got a softer route because they didn’t see Bergeron-Pasta almost at all at evens. So their relative success is on the shoulders of Nurse – Bear carrying a heavy load. Lagesson-Benning owned the non-Elite Comp (they also got only limited minutes with Drai). Jones – Larsson had a solid game but were spared the worst.

The PP is another question entirely. The Oilers have non-vet options. More than one, in fact. Dialing back on PP time for Nurse may rest him up for the heavy even-strength load he’s going to carry with Klefbom out.

OriginalPouzar

I 100% understand Tippett/Gully going to Nurse on PP1 last night. Nurse has experience on PP1 and did a decent job there last year when Klef was out. They went with the guy with NHL experience and some success.

Bear has PP acumen (was great on the PP in Seattle) but he is a rookie and doesn’t have the NHL experience.

Well, maybe its time for him to get some PP experience. I’m curious if the team is practicing today as I think the coaching staff may want some practice time with Bear on PP1 before they make the change.

Leroy Draisdale

With Bear getting the shot through for the goal(Ganger tip) that gives them another built in excuse. Reward Bear, rest Nurse.

dustrock

Been hard to argue with any of Tippett’s coaching this entire year, I’ll stick to continuing to play Khaira (PK, #2 in the league, hard to argue) and the idea of putting Nurse on the PP.

Bear has been a better PP option since his first NHL game than Nurse. No offence to Nurse, and you’re right LT, let’s not blame Nurse for being on PP1.

Just don’t really see why Tippett thought this was a good idea. He isn’t an elite passer, he makes poor reads offensively, and I actually don’t think his shot is fantastic.

Doug McLachlan

He’s not a bad puck transporter and I think the idea is that he can fill the ladder role that McDavid has to gain the O-zone on the initial PP set up.

Letting Leon do it alone has lead to a couple of turnovers at the blueline.

Not saying I agree with the plan, but that’s what I think is motivating it.

BAWS

Tippet has the special teams rocking and the buy in effort from the team this year is huge. I don’t know how he changed the Players mindset from previous years, but any true fan And long term follower of this team cannot complain imo.
All we got was a Bettman, but considering all the regulars out this team put in an A+ effort against a very solid team. Yeah I hate the loss, but it was a hell of a game ( last 2 periods anyways)
I would also like to see more of Bear on the pp right now and later when the teams whole and healthy, but I feel nurse worked his butt off. Made mistakes, but had a great effort.
Smith is doing way more than I ever expected when he was signed. Can he sustain it? Since we don’t have a choice I guess we’ll see. Its scary when he plays the puck out of the crease, but damn he does it well.
I hope Holland can pick up some help. After the improvement and effort this year both Tip and the team deserve a reward.
I think they’ll play post season, but I think next year is the real run. Either way it’s nice to see this team back at a winning and competing level. Exiting times for this team and fans.

Andy Dufresne

I thought that Nurse was Nurse.

2nd pairing D being asked to elevate his game and doing ok given we were playing the Bruins after all.

Darnell is Darnell. “Value” at $3.2m…….not a Value Contract at $5.6m

Perhaps it would help some to look at his average cost (across his two bridge deals) as 3.2 + 5.6 divided by two = $4.4m per year over 4 years.

That approaches Value imo…..IS CERTAINLY fair market value.

Im happy we have Nurse. We dont have another dman quite like him.

He’s a legit 2nd pairing Dman with upside / room to improve.

Because we are blessed with Oscar on a value contract, Bear as a miracle/revelation, Jones and Lagesson on ELCS, Bouchard soon to be, and Larsson at $4.16, Nurse will NEVER be the Fan Favorite. NEVER.

But thats OK. He’s a solid 2nd pairing dman with some upside. On a fair market contract. Hopefully we learn to love him for what he is.

We should probably save the vitriol for the next contract.

dustrock

In fact, I’d like to see Bear over Klefbom on PP1, to be honest, although I realize part of the argument for Nurse was handedness over Bear.

dustrock

https://theathletic.com/1598118/2020/02/19/wheeler-midseason-ranking-for-the-2020-nhl-drafts-top-62-prospects/

Wheeler’s latest look at the 2020 prospects.

Glad to see Scott likes Mavrik, just like LT.

Louis Levasseur

I’m a bit curious about the timing of Klefbom’s surgery. They say it has been something that has been nagging him for quite awhile and was scheduled. If that’s the case, why wasn’t it scheduled to coincide with the AllStar game and the Week off?

New Improved Darkness

How do you know he got no such treatment at that time?

Louis Levasseur

I don’t actually. Just wondering why the surgery wasn’t done at that time. Maybe it wasn’t bothering him then.

Our Edmonton Operation

teddyturnbuckle:
Weird game last night with all the power plays.Thank god for the penalty killers last night because the Oilers power play was brutal.Zone entries are still a mess hopefully Conner will be back soon.Time to try Bear on PP 1.He has EARNED IT!Lagesson looked good last night which is good news.

The Oilers and us fans are so used to Connor rushing with ease into the offensive zone on power plays, we get frustrated when we see his mere mortal teammates try and gain the zone like other teams. They also haven’t had much practice without Connor. They relied on his zone entries all the time. It’s like when Dad does all the driving for the family, and then when the teenaged kids have to suddenly do it and drive through downtown or go on the highway, it’s not so easy as one thought.

Ryan

Connor is just a zone entry machine. It’s unreal how good he is at PP zone entries.

Bruce McCurdy

Yep. That’s what cost the Oilers in the one loss at Tampa, & came dangerously close to costing a tie-breaking goal last night.

Andy Dufresne

Sam Gagner is definelty earning a 1 yr $1m contract.

I hope Kenny grinds it down to $800K

OriginalPouzar

Dadanov, Namestnikov, Granlund, Craig Smith, Ennis.

The above are my targets for pure rentals of players that could play in the top 6 that I would target – If we could get any of them without the first rounder.

I don’t know if Nashville will be selling but I hope so.

Andy Dufresne

Archbald, Sheahan, Hass, Nygard, Benson, Gagner is a formidable bottom 6

Forechecking pressure and PK.

Of course we are short one center there.

McLeod ?

Andy Dufresne

Chaser and Khaira are ok.

Not performing up to their contract prices…but ok.

Tippett is skilled enough to make them useful.

who

wheatnoil:
Nurse – Bear had a tough game but was hard matched against Bergeron. They faced other forwards, of course but Bergeron-Pasta faced almost no other D than Nurse – Bear. I think we can say two things about that:

1) Nurse-Bear (and the forwards on the ice with them) were not up to the task. They got carved at 5×5 / even-strength. There’s no sin in that. Not many can handle Bergeron-Pasta. But it is what it is. Nurse-Bear did their best and last night weren’t at a level where they can shut down one of the best duos in the NHL.

2) All the other D got a softer route because they didn’t see Bergeron-Pasta almost at all at evens. So their relative success is on the shoulders of Nurse – Bear carrying a heavy load. Lagesson-Benning owned the non-Elite Comp (they also got only limited minutes with Drai). Jones – Larsson had a solid game but were spared the worst.

The PP is another question entirely. The Oilers have non-vet options. More than one, in fact. Dialing back on PP time for Nurse may rest him up for the heavy even-strength load he’s going to carry with Klefbom out.

I agree with your last paragraph.
My rookie suggestion for the powerplay is Caleb Jones.
Nurse and Bear are going to get the tough matchups plus play regular shifts on the PK. Best way to spread Klefboms minutes out is to use the guy who doesn’t PK on PP1. Especially when that guy has demonstrated plus skating and puck handling skills. I’m pretty sure he would be an improvement over Nurse on the PP.

Andy Dufresne

Tippett mentioned, I think post game, that Smith is the preffered option agaisnt teams with a superior forecheck. Makes sense. Seems obvious now that the team has learned to position themselves to take advantage of Smiths agressiveness.

jake70

Do teams have an “overtime coach” , like as in it being a special teams thingy? Losing that 2nd point time and time again adds up. They need to figure it out a bit better.

Andy Dufresne

They have an Overtime Coach.

He created an Overtime System and presented it to upper management.

It was a picture of Connor McDavid.

Andy Dufresne

Patrick Russell at $700K is miles ahead of Colby Cave.

dustrock

who: I agree with your last paragraph.
My rookie suggestion for the powerplay is Caleb Jones.
Nurse and Bear are going to get the tough matchups plus play regular shifts on the PK. Best way to spread Klefboms minutes out is to use the guy who doesn’t PK on PP1. Especially when that guy has demonstrated plus skating and puck handling skills. I’m pretty sure he would be an improvement over Nurse on the PP.

Especially if handedness for PP1 is the issue, I doubt they want to mess with their extremely successful setup with the 1D being LHD.

I am blindly guessing but figured that is part of the reason Nurse was selected.

drglen

agree, don’t fault Nurse at all for anything in that game really. Hell of a game. I think there is truth to the ‘pecking order’ notion as well, and Tipp kind of had to go with Nurse at least for one game. Agree I also saw bear many times making these precision clearing passes, a couple by Jones too. and Bear looked really good to me in 3 on 3.

I think a safe bet is to go with 2 D on the next first unit powerplay… the other thing is.. we had great difficulty just gaining zone entry without Connor… so I think you need to look for Bear and maybe Jones to do that. Kind of depends on game context? If we get a powerplay with a one goal lead, you may well see Bear quarterback solo.

Doubt we’ll see bouchard unless someone gets hurt here… but for the sake of argument, who would he replace presently? I think you might move Bouch with Larrson and maybe give Lagesson another couple days off.

Andy Dufresne

We killed 7 powerplays last night.

Against the best powerplay in the league.

Well 2nd best if you count us 🙂

Scotty Bowman was watching last night; He’s not sure, but he thinks he felt it move.

#HardOnThePK

Bag of Pucks

Fans (and coaches for that matter) are always going to get on players when they make mental errors that are preventable mistakes.

Nobody questions Nurse’s skills, effort, or willingness to answer the bell. But dumb decisions in winnable games? That’s a sure recipe for criticism.

I don’t agree with Horcoff as a direct comparison. Horcoff was respected by most fans. The frustration towards him was over the large contract (not the player’s fault) and so the ire towards Shawn was largely misdirected frustration over Lowe’s contract failings. Players know the pressure they’ll be under to perform when they sign these luxe deals. Horcoff himself knew he was expected to take his production to a higher level.

Nurse is the player LT often describes, 1 year of development 5 years in a row.

Personally speaking, I was an advocate for patience on this player when MANY posters here were floating his name as a sweetener in trade talks. But I now suspect these mental errors will always be a part of his game regardless of where he sits on the depth chart.

That’s why I like the contract term on this player. Holland is creating a culture of competition and the untradeable contracts of the OBC are going to become rare sightings indeed. If Nurse can’t eliminate these mistakes, Bouchard, Broberg and Samourkov will force the issue. As it should be.

dustrock

Well said.

cowboy bill

I’m really liking these youngsters on the roster . They are playing better than some of the vets , Not a bad problem to have .

geowal

Anybody see this story? Haven’t seen mention of it. Wild stuff:

https://calgaryherald.com/sports/hockey/nhl/calgary-flames/lucic-reveals-on-hnic-that-he-was-thinking-about-retiring-early-into-his-season-with-the-flames/wcm/e25b5503-d675-4b41-b493-821965d8b0d7

Question: if Lucic did retire, would there be cap implications for the Oilers similar to Luongo? If so, based on this article we should send a card to Akim Aliu for getting Peters fires.

Gerta Rauss

The Lucic contract was signed under the current CBA and is not subject to cap recapture penalties

geowal

Thank you! And phew. Last thing we need is the ghost of that contract coming back to us.

Darth Tu

I’m not worried about Nurse at all. I can’t be mad at him for trying, he put in a hell of an effort last night, the whole team did. Coming out of that game with a point is music! It was just like the Tampa game last week, except we came away with nothing there other than an effort to be proud of.

Bear’s passing is incredible – I mentioned it after the Canes game on Sunday, the amount of times that I see him winning the puck deep in our zone, then making the perfect outlet pass to a forward that lets us break out is incredible. If Russell is playing in his spot on his offhand instead of the breakout we’d be seeing him flip it up the boards from his backhand, and then the opposition comes right back in for another 30 seconds of zone time. I get that part of this was players not being ready/injuries/roster composition over the last 4-5 years, but wouldn’t you know it, having balanced L-R D pairings with at least one decent passer per pair leads to less time in our own zone!

godot10

//May I respectfully suggest your concerns are better expressed at the coaching level? I think a more interesting discussion today would involve how long it takes Tippett to move Bear on to the 1PP and Nurse off the 1PP. He’s a damned smart coach, that’s a move he could make today.//

I expect for Tippett, it is an ice time issue, and a usage priority issue for Bear.

Tippett knows Nurse can play 30 minutes. He doesn’t know if Bear can play 30 minutes. He doesn’t want to break Bear. The rookie is hauling a heavy load as it is.

Plus, he needed Bear for the even strength shutdown role against Bergeron et al.

Nurse is unbreakable. Tippett knows he can abuse him.

Darth Tu

Andy Dufresne:
We killed 7 powerplays last night.

Against the best powerplay in the league.

Well 2nd best if you count us

Scotty Bowman was watching last night; He’s not sure, but he thinks he felt it move.

#HardOnThePK

Up to 24th in the league for home PK now, 79.3% kill rate – The regression to round around league median is happening. Can we put the orange jerseys make us too easy to score against theory to bed yet?

The Road PK continues to be dynamite – 89.9%.

OriginalPouzar

McDavid is skating this morning prior to practice.

Klef and Russell also on the ice with him.

I’ll be interested to see what PP1 looks like at practice today and if Bear is getting reps.

godot10

JJS:
I am a bit worried about Nurse and his hockey instincts

Discounting the occasional rush, I don’t see consistent positive contributions that match the modern game

I like the player and the emotion, but he is a 4th or 5th defense-man on a Stanley

Nurse played 30 effing minutes. Are people really this clueless? Jeff Petry all over again.

Bruce McCurdy

Hear hear.

Not his best game but he played half of it anyway, in all situations 5v5 4v4 3v3 PP PK, led the team in shot attempts, blocks, hits, & jumped into the scrum at an appropriate moment.

Important point for the team in trying circumstances, so why do Oilers fans need a #%*&ing scapegoat? This one doesn’t. I’m proud of my team this morning.

Doug McLachlan

It’s been a long time since I’ve been so excited for the Oilers Nation “Point” gif on my Twitter timeline.

That was a loss that felt like a win.

Oh, and the Leafs are out of a playoff spot so, you know, all good.

OriginalPouzar
godot10

Woodguy v2.0:
My player of the game? Ethan Bear.

There is a strong argument that he is the best Oiler Dman this year.

Would he be if he were not playing with Darnell Nurse? We don’t know. Nurse deserves a lot of credit for providing space for Bear.

Cassandra

Nurse’s only real problem is that he is no good on the powerplay. His passing is too slow, mostly because he handcuffs himself with the puck.

Easy fix. Don’t play him on the powerplay.

Loving Caleb Jones. That’s a guy who plays hockey the right way, with aggressive gaps and joining the play. He’s the anti-Russelll.

Him and Bear are why you don’t pay retail for trade deadline acquisitions. If you can get Ennis for basically nothing, fine. But none of this two picks for depth defensemen nonsense. Lagesson and Bouchard are your depth defensemen.

If the GM doesn’t squander the long term then pretty soon the short term always looks good.

Bag of Pucks

godot10: Nurse played 30 effing minutes.Are people really this clueless?Jeff Petry all over again.

Well, we can’t be right all of the time. That magic power is reserved for a select few apparently.

Side

An example of the magic in action:

“Todd McLellan is a #thoroughlymediocrecoach, but even mediocre coaches can win cups. See Dan Bylsma. Todd will win a cup coaching the Oilers because he has McDavid and because Todd is mediocre, which will cause the Oilers to want to keep him around, even though he is mediocre”

*Todd McLellan turns out to be a bad coach for the Oilers and only makes the playoffs once, without ever coming close to winning a cup. He gets canned for being bad at coaching his team.*

“See, I told you. Todd will win a cup coaching the Oilers because he has McDavid and because Todd is mediocre, which will cause the Oilers to want to keep him around, even though he is mediocre

godot10

I was consistent that McLellan was a #thoroughlymediocrecoach even when he had a fluky winning season.

I made this assertion before Halloween, plus or minus a few days, of his first season with the OIlers.

I never once changed my position. And as you posted, I claimed that I would maintain that position even if he accidentally won a Cup, like Bylsma.

And I was right.

Side

You made many assertions on Todd, some of which were right.

You also made a bunch which were not very accurate.

IMO, Todd wasn’t even a mediocre coach for the Oilers. He turned out to be a bad coach.

I would say you were wrong there.

As you said, mediocre coaches can win a cup. I don’t believe you ever mentioned “luck” being involved before, that seems like a new one. But, you do say Todd did have a lucky season, which was 2016/2017 and he never came close to actually winning the cup.

Wrong there.

You also mentioned that the Oilers would commit to Todd’s mediocrity and would likely extend him.

They did not.

You often cast a wide net with your predictions, and for whatever reason, go around the site trying to get recognition and acknowledgement for it, even if your net comes out 95% empty.

If you had said that Todd is a bad coach for the Oilers, that he would never win a cup with the Oilers, that he would only make the playoffs once and described why and how his coaching style would fail for the Oilers. I would be agreeing with you.

Alas, you did not.

Cassandra

Also, this is the best the Oilers have played all season, with McDavid out. Russell and Neal are also not playing. This is not a coincidence.

Play your best players and don’t give vets extra vet credit when they can’t keep up.

Neither should see the ice in the playoffs.

Klefbom, Larsson, Nurse, Bear, Jones, and Benning are all way better than Russell. Not sure about Lagesson yet, but I’m leaning toward him too.

Neal can’t keep up. Less than replacement player at this point. Now this is a team that is playing Colby Cave and Patrick Russell who aren’t NHL players either (especially Russell), and Khaira who probably isn’t either. Still I prefer all of them to Neal, who is useless.

Trade a 4th round pick for Ennis already (post above notwithstanding). And why didn’t the Oilers trade for Malgin? When your forward depth is this bad upgrading should be easy.

who

Cassandra:
Nurse’s only real problem is that he is no good on the powerplay.His passing is too slow, mostly because he handcuffs himself with the puck.

Easy fix.Don’t play him on the powerplay.

Loving Caleb Jones.That’s a guy who plays hockey the right way, with aggressive gaps and joining the play.He’s the anti-Russelll.

Him and Bear are why you don’t pay retailfor trade deadline acquisitions.If you can get Ennis for basically nothing, fine.But none of this two picks for depth defensemen nonsense.Lagesson and Bouchard are your depth defensemen.

If the GM doesn’t squander the long term then pretty soon the short term always looks good.

Agree completely.

leadfarmer

This is why you play your prospects on special teams during development. Nurse should never see pp time but I dont think Bear has had much pp time during his development so cant fault him for going with a guy with more reps.

At some point some people need to realize there is a difference between liking the player but not wanting to pay him like a top defensemen and not liking a player

Darth Tu

Cassandra:
Also, this is the best the Oilers have played all season, with McDavid out.Russell and Neal are also not playing.This is not a coincidence.

Play your best players and don’t give vets extra vet credit when they can’t keep up.

Neither should see the ice in the playoffs.

Klefbom, Larsson, Nurse, Bear, Jones, and Benning are all way better than Russell.Not sure about Lagesson yet, but I’m leaning toward him too.

Neal can’t keep up.Less than replacement player at this point.Now this is a team that is playing Colby Cave and Patrick Russell who aren’t NHL players either (especially Russell), and Khaira who probably isn’t either.Still I prefer all of them to Neal, who is useless.

Trade a 4th round pick for Ennis already (post above notwithstanding).And why didn’t the Oilers trade for Malgin?When your forward depth is this bad upgrading should be easy.

I loved the Neal for Lucic trade. However, if Neal can get healthy I say we deal him now or in the summer for whatever we can get. His value is at it’s highest, and his wheels aren’t going to get any quicker from here on out.

People were hating on Chiasson, but his play seems to have really came around and he can do a similar job on the powerplay to Neal. I’m also loving a lot of his greasy hits/plays along the boards, he might be slightly overpaid, but he’s a perfect bottom 6 winger.

Material Elvis

I think the idea of trading him is a pipe dream. I guess there is always a chance that some other GM loses his faculties for a moment and wants a ‘goal scorer’ but I don’t see it. Neal is a prime buy out candidate.

Andy Dufresne

Neal is a $1.9m buyout for 6 yrs.

If you buy him out you gain about $3.85m in cap space.for the next 3 yrs

What do you value him at?

I think he has negative value in the market.

What are you willing to give up to move the contract?

We know right now that it costs us $1.9m for 6 yrs to create about 3.85m x 3

What asset are you willing to give up to save the $1.9 x 6 ?

It really seems to me that the cost for us to buy him out is probably less than the cost to us, to have some team take on his contract

You might find someone to take him if we retain half his salary and throw in an asset.

Then our cost is $2.875m x 3 + an asset.

And our savings (in comparsion to $1.9×6) is $2.65m minus the value of the asset.

Either his value has to increase quickly (great playoffs etc) or we will be forced to buy him out.

I see a buyout this summer. Or perhaps Holland waits to see if he can move him (again at the cost of an asset) to Seattle in the expansion draft.

He’s gone this summer…imo

Andy Dufresne

Calling it now.

Colorado trades for NYR goalie Georgiev

AND

Holland grabs Tyler Ennis 20 minutes before the trade window closes.

#WalmartShoppers

Our Edmonton Operation

OriginalPouzar:
I 100% understand Tippett/Gully going to Nurse on PP1 last night.Nurse has experience on PP1 and did a decent job there last year when Klef was out.They went with the guy with NHL experience and some success.

Bear has PP acumen (was great on the PP in Seattle) but he is a rookie and doesn’t have the NHL experience.

Well, maybe its time for him to get some PP experience.I’m curious if the team is practicing today as I think the coaching staff may want some practice time with Bear on PP1 before they make the change.

I also remember Nurse doing a decent job on PP1 last year when replacing an injured Klefbom. Surely other people remember that besides OP and me? Nurse should get credit for that. So last night was Nurse’s first time in awhile manning PP1. We should cut him a break due to his lack of practice, as he acquitted himself well last year.

I’m not smart enough to know how to look up Nurse’s PP points last year while Klefbom was out – acknowledging PP points aren’t the litmus test of how competent you are on the PP – but Jason Gregor’s article at Oilers Nation on January 11, 2019 stated that Nurse had 4 PP points in the first 13 games Klefbom was injured, while in comparison Klefbom had 6 PP points in 31 games back then to date. Gregor would state, “Nurse’s PP production, albeit in limited minutes, has been quite good.”

https://oilersnation.com/2019/01/11/darnell-nurse-emerging-as-an-offensive-threat/