September 3, 1999

by Lowetide

Baseball does it so much better, marking time and place for all things great and small. When Rusty Staub returned to the Expos for a pennant run a decade after he captivated a nation, the moment took on a life of its own, like a coronation or a lifetime achievement award from the Academy.

Hockey? Who wants yesterday’s papers, who wants yesterday’s girl? Let’s go back to September 3, 1999.

THE ATHLETIC!

Great perspective from a ridiculous group of writers and analysts. I am proud to be part of The Athletic. Here are the most recent Oilers stories.

A lot of things happened in the summer of 1999. On June 7, Ron Low refused the Oilers offer for him to return as head coach. Edmonton would eventually hire Kevin Lowe as his replacement.

On June 25, the Oilers lost Kelly Buchberger to Atlanta in the expansion draft. The next day, the club traded minor league defenceman Craig Millar (he of the Satan deal) to the Nashville Predators for a third round draft pick in the 1999 NHL entry draft. That pick was used to select Mike Comrie.

At the draft, the Oilers selected Jani Rita, Alexei Semenov, Mike Comrie and Tony Salmelainen.

July 15, Edmonton signed Craig MacTavish as assistant coach. Four days later, Joe Hulbig signed with Boston, marking another Oilers first-rounder who didn’t work out. August 4, Bill Ranford signed as a free agent.

And on September 3, Oilers offer Esa Tikkanen a training camp tryout. Music! Tikkanen was a talented scorer, checker, agitator and could play on the top line or the fourth line and give you exceptional minutes. In 1986-87, my choice for best Oilers team ever, one of Gretzky or Kurri assisted on 28 of his 34 goals. Tikkanen never gets mentioned as the third man on that historic happening, but he was for much of the first two full seasons of his NHL career.

PRICKLY PLAYERS

Fair to say Tikkanen was loved by Oilers fans and hated by the enemy when an Oilers winger. He had a resting facial expression that said “I enjoy mayhem” and a coach in Glen Sather (whose resting facial expression was “I’m laughing at you because I can”) a man who valued the qualities he brought to the game. Does Edmonton have anyone like Tikkanen?

Zack Kassian has many of the same elements (his 15 goals would have been traded for maybe 19 goals in 1986-87) and brings that rambunctious and edgy style. Kassian isn’t the dogged defensive player Tikkanen was and that’s something Edmonton misses on the current team.

Who is Edmonton’s best defensive forward? That’s an interesting question. Dave Tippett’s usage chart tells us he sent (or the opposing coach matched) the following men out against elites most often this past season (as a percentage of five on five individual minutes): Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Zack Kassian. Kailer Yamamoto, Andreas Athanasiou and Tyler Ennis also played major minutes but in less than a full season. All of this is Puck IQ.

That’s it? Not very scientific. I also like to look at the relative numbers, for Puck IQ I see Dangerous Fenwick Rel Corsi (DFFRC%). The leaders were Leon Draisaitl (+7.0), Connor McDavid (+4.1) and Zack Kassian (+2.6).

No, you have misunderstood. I’m looking for best defensive forward, please and thanks. Well, Draisaitl, McDavid and Kassian played the elites and have better possession metrics than their fellow Oilers (Draisaitl almost 50 percent against elites straight up). That’s your answer.

Among players not considered top-six forwards (97, 29, 93, Yamamoto, Kassian) did anyone play a lot and well against elites? James Neal played over 30 percent of his time against elites with a CFF%RC of +0.20, that’s good work from the veteran.

Any numbers stand out to you? Several. McDavid outscored elites 26-16 but his DFF percentage is 47.80. That tells me his fast break style results in chances the other way on a counter strike. Oilers need to control those moments with better support. Nuge may land on the 97 line at some point to shore up the area.

Anything else? Gaetan Haas. He spent 26 percent of his time against elites, winning the DFF battle 51.90 percent with a rel of +7.5 and a goal differential of 5-2. Joakim Nygard had similar numbers, you need to see it again and another time but it’s a good arrow.

Anyone in the system who could be a two-way forward and also no fun to play against? Kirill Maksimov has many of the elements we would associate with this player type, and he has spent time on the PK. He is more of an offensive prospect, but I would suggest he is the best candidate in a pool with no obvious one.

What about this year’s draft? Ridly Greig of the Brandon Wheat Kings checks the agitator boxes not sure of his two-way acumen. He is undersized but has skill and Red Line called him a ‘pit bull’ with underrated skills.

This could save the Oilers some cap room in an offseason it’ll be badly needed. I wrote about the cap here.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

A busy morning with news stories falling like manna from heaven after a slooooow late spring/early summer. Todd Cordell from Infernal Access will discuss the New Jersey Devils hiring of Lindy Ruff. Gianluca Nesci, supervising editor from The Score, will talk the return of MLS. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!

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powerploy

Munny,
i didn’t base my judgement on the picture.
Read the quotes from from the journal news article, the statement made by the oilers organization in my mind confirms that that social distancing rules were not followed and so they reminded him of the importance of it.

OriginalPouzar

Harpers Hair:
Todd Hlushko (@ToddHlushko) Tweeted:
For anyone who is a DEL hockey fan. The start of the season has been pushed back from September 18th to November 2020.

Ya, I read that a few minutes ago.

I wonder if that is going to be the norm for the European leagues?

KHL has already started their development camps.

Harpers Hair

Todd Hlushko (@ToddHlushko) Tweeted:
For anyone who is a DEL hockey fan. The start of the season has been pushed back from September 18th to November 2020.

N64

hunter1909: This is an excellent example of The Former Oilers Fan now with Patty Hearst Syndrome, when challenged, returning to his Vancouver Canuckscentricism.

Just a bit clumsy in the aisles of the Dys store and now he owns that merchandise. Not sure what he’s going to do with that broken Judd Bracket bobblehead.

hunter1909

Scungilli Slushy: Not a joking matter IMO.

Perhaps we should take a knee when saying Kassian like they did for Sinatra.

Organized crime groups aren’t ok to me.

Even Manson had women wanting to marry him while in prison. Being ‘sociable’ isn’t a pass.

Sure maybe, but when law enforcement got involved, the Hells Angels were little more than a rag tag bunch of motorbike enthusiasts who took handfuls of cheap and oftentimes worthless drugs just to try to get out of their heads.

That was the 1960s of course when the West was still relatively free. Today in preachy 2020 you have a creeping Police State backed by cancerous state bureaucracies and the bankers who bribe them. I’m certain Goldman Sachs gets up to a lot worse than the identikit bikers you fret over.

Fuge Udvar

leadfarmer: What do Hell’s Angels do in Canada?
Refuse to apologize?

Import and distribute cocaine

hunter1909

Harpers Hair: After a ten year rebuild and winning the lottery like a couple of babas at the bingo hall, the Oilers should be among the elite teams in the league but they’re not even close.

The Canucks rebuild started when the Sedins retired two seasons ago but they’ve made significant progress and we’ll have to see how they fare going forward.

Worth noting their winning percentage was within a hair of the vaunted Oilers when the season ended.

This is an excellent example of The Former Oilers Fan now with Patty Hearst Syndrome, when challenged, returning to his Vancouver Canuckscentricism.

BONE207

Material Elvis: You might drown.What a storm!

It sure is a fun one. Stand on higher ground. That’ll prevent drowning…

BONE207

Side: So you’re saying people should stay in their houses to stay safe.

I agree.

But Mama…that’s not where the fun is…

Material Elvis

BONE207: If we all go out right now & stand in the rain, we’ll have an answer by the morning.

You might drown. What a storm!

Material Elvis

Side: I’m not saying there should be some super strict penalties requiring policing.

But I would think the players union would push them towards wearing masks in public.

It’s not like players are foreign to following a dress code given the CBA has a game day dress code to help “change the mindset” or whatever of players.

One would think it would be easy and players would be willing to wear masks in public if pushed to doing it, given how it’s for their and others safety.

The aversion to wearing masks seems to be a cultural thing which North America seems reluctant to adopting, for whatever dumb reason.

There’s a group for everyone. Anti-mask, anti-vax, truther, denier, don’t give a fuck, freedom fighter, Karens, vanity. Lots of reasons, none of which are very good. Maybe Kassian just forgot to put his mask on that day. Nice mutton chops, btw. He needs to be more cautious and am sure has heard that from more important places than Twitter. If the Oilers players are safe, they might win the Stanley Cup based on health.

Side

BONE207: If we all go out right now & stand in the rain, we’ll have an answer by the morning.

So you’re saying people should stay in their houses to stay safe.

I agree.

BONE207

Side: Death count from COVID in Edmonton is at 20 and 37 new cases in the last 24 hours.

What’s the death/injury rate from lightning bolts in Edmonton lately?

If we all go out right now & stand in the rain, we’ll have an answer by the morning.

Side

Material Elvis: I don’t know how they would enforce that.Fines, I suppose, but you are relying on the public to police that.And it’s possibly illegal to force anyone to do something off work hours that isn’t government mandated. That said, I’m surprised that the players don’t want to wear masks for anonymity.It’s the first time they can go out without being recognized/bothered.

I’m not saying there should be some super strict penalties requiring policing.

But I would think the players union would push them towards wearing masks in public.

It’s not like players are foreign to following a dress code given the CBA has a game day dress code to help “change the mindset” or whatever of players.

One would think it would be easy and players would be willing to wear masks in public if pushed to doing it, given how it’s for their and others safety.

The aversion to wearing masks seems to be a cultural thing which North America seems reluctant to adopting, for whatever dumb reason.

Material Elvis

defmn: Early days but Guerin looks like he knows what he is doing so far.

When your competition is Kim Pegula, it’s like taking candy from a baby.

greenshifter

When a HA members asks for a photo……you take the photo!

Material Elvis

SwedishPoster: Isn’t orange the non-contact jersey? Hopefully Klef just put it on out of habit…

The non-contact jersey color for all teams is yellow.

N64

Harpers Hair: After a ten year rebuild and winning the lottery like a couple of babas at the bingo hall, the Oilers should be among the elite teams in the league but they’re not even close.

The Canucks rebuild started when the Sedins retired two seasons ago but they’ve made significant progress and we’ll have to see how they fare going forward.

Worth noting their winning percentage was within a hair of the vaunted Oilers when the season ended.

Last I heard it’s about the players on the team. Good luck Dys.

Material Elvis

jp: The Avs do have a very good team + a great pipeline. Sounds like you’re calling a dynasty, how many cups do you figure? 3? 4? 5?

Putting his patented hex on the Avs. This is great news.

Material Elvis

Side:
I’m surprised masks haven’t been made mandatory for players when they are in public, tbh.

I don’t know how they would enforce that. Fines, I suppose, but you are relying on the public to police that. And it’s possibly illegal to force anyone to do something off work hours that isn’t government mandated. That said, I’m surprised that the players don’t want to wear masks for anonymity. It’s the first time they can go out without being recognized/bothered.

Side

I’m surprised masks haven’t been made mandatory for players when they are in public, tbh.

Side

BONE207: Before we blackball him & then tar/feather him,let’s remember that he’s doing this in Edmonton & not in a club in Miami. Lightning will kill him first here.

Who’s tired of covid? ?

Death count from COVID in Edmonton is at 20 and 37 new cases in the last 24 hours.

What’s the death/injury rate from lightning bolts in Edmonton lately?

Scungilli Slushy

leadfarmer: What do Hell’s Angels do in Canada?
Refuse to apologize?

Not a joking matter IMO.

Perhaps we should take a knee when saying Kassian like they did for Sinatra.

Organized crime groups aren’t ok to me.

Even Manson had women wanting to marry him while in prison. Being ‘sociable’ isn’t a pass.

oilsnc79

oilfan9911:
A Tikkanen story:

I was in Nashville for the Oilers vs Preds when Connor was suspended. Leaving town, while making small talk with the Uber drive we mentioned we were from Edmonton and saw the game. The driver perked up and told us about a fare he had the other day: big guy, former hockey player who said he played with Gretzky, and was in town to have fun with old teammates, but couldn’t remember his name. This tracked with us asthey had shown Gretzky on the jumbotron at the game. The driver said the player said he was better then Gretzky, but the coaches didn’t recognize it. We immediately started guessing who it could be: Mark Messier? No. Jari Kurri? No. The driver said he was European, and understood every third word or so coming out of his mouth. No prizes for guessing who the driver confirmed as his fare.
Must have spoke… Tikaneze

jp

Harpers Hair: You obviously haven’t seen the Colorado lineup, their incoming elite prospects and their abundant cap space.

That’s where cup hopes will go to die.

The Avs do have a very good team + a great pipeline. Sounds like you’re calling a dynasty, how many cups do you figure? 3? 4? 5?

Munny

powerploy,

We know little about the situation other than a photo was taken, and taken with the HA facing away from, and in front of, Kassian, which is exactly what you want to see.

What we cannot say from that photo is whether any physical distancing mandates were broken as depth is impossible to determine from a photo. We don’t know.

We don’t know how long it took to pose and take the photo… maybe 3 seconds, maybe 5 maybe longer, but we don’t know.

The two were in a coffee shop… likely to consume coffee and perhaps a snack, which is perfectly fine to do without a mask. They both may have been wearing a mask on entry to the shop… we don’t know.

So based on a whole lot of we don’t know… the Twitter Lynch mobs are out. But it is never right to judge people with little or no information.

Harpers Hair

N64: Sorry bud. Anything other than Brocade Raffishness and the glorious Dys from you and it might as well be Charlie Brown’s teacher

After a ten year rebuild and winning the lottery like a couple of babas at the bingo hall, the Oilers should be among the elite teams in the league but they’re not even close.

The Canucks rebuild started when the Sedins retired two seasons ago but they’ve made significant progress and we’ll have to see how they fare going forward.

Worth noting their winning percentage was within a hair of the vaunted Oilers when the season ended.

powerploy

BONE207,

he’s not being tarred and feathered hes been constructively criticized for his lack of judgement. the same thing has happened in vancouver where virtanen was seen at a night club no mask no social distancing. if nothing else these fellows should be considerate of their team mates and their families, even if they don’t care about the playoffs. what bothers me the most is on this site and on comments about Virtanen there were identical comments, that its not an issue, non of our business. Well being a professional sport player doesn’t excuse them and being a fan shouldn’t mean we give them the green light to do what they want. Maybe there is more to this story then we are hearing, but i doubt it. The comment from the vancouver canucks was essentially identical to how the oilers responded, so appears to be a mandated NHL response.

N64

Harpers Hair: You obviously haven’t seen the Colorado lineup, their incoming elite prospects and their abundant cap space.

That’s where cup hopes will go to die.

Sorry bud. Anything other than Brocade Raffishness and the glorious Dys from you and it might as well be Charlie Brown’s teacher

hunter1909

Harpers Hair: You obviously haven’t seen the Colorado lineup, their incoming elite prospects and their abundant cap space.

That’s where cup hopes will go to die.

Moved on from your Canucks to a more likely rival to troll with?

Sounds like you follow Calgary, with that lame brained opinion.

OriginalPouzar

Colorado is indeed set up to be an elite contender yearly for the foreseeable future.

Of course, the best team on paper doesn’t always win the cup and sometimes never do during their window. The Lighting players can tell us all about it.

If Holland doesn’t make any major mistakes and limits the small ones to Kassian-signing type mistakes (not egregious but was too early for that signing as was posited at the time – turned out to be more than true), having two elite superstars and a solid supporting cast with deepening depth could very well sneak in there for a cup or two.

Harpers Hair

ArmchairGM: We might be talking about multiple Cups.

You obviously haven’t seen the Colorado lineup, their incoming elite prospects and their abundant cap space.

That’s where cup hopes will go to die.

ArmchairGM

OriginalPouzar: Drai has been compared to Kopitar for as long as he’s been an Oiler (maybe even prior).

While I agree that Drai has zoomed past Kopitar and is in a higher tier that Anze ever was (one 92 point season as an outlier to a 65-75 point producer), as far as the two-way game, Drai still lags behind Anze but that is just due to defensive consistency as Drai can be dominant in all areas of the ice.

Shit, if Drai is able to become as consistent defensively as Kopitar, then we may be talking about one of the all time great players……

We might be talking about multiple Cups.

ArmchairGM

leadfarmer: What do Hell’s Angels do in Canada?
Refuse to apologize?

Gold!

N64

OriginalPouzar: Prior to getting to the secure zones or after?

Ugly scenario is one team member enters with it in spite of testing and next thing you know 10 have it. #benningeffect.

OriginalPouzar

leadfarmer: I’d be shocked if they don’t have an outbreak

Prior to getting to the secure zones or after?

godot10

OriginalPouzar: I assume that is the case – from accounts, the HA member is a “social butterfly” and he very well just could have been a random fan to Kass at a coffee shop.

Except the Postmedia article about the incident said Kassian followed the guy on Instagram.

godot10

OriginalPouzar: I would change “is” to “can be”.

Consistency is not something Kass has found at the NHL level.

Reliability is not something that Kassian has ever demonstrated.

godot10

SwedishPoster: Isn’t orange the non-contact jersey? Hopefully Klef just put it on out of habit…

At official Oiler practices: Top six wear dark blue. Bottom six wear white. D wear grey or orange.

JimmyV1965

OriginalPouzar:
This is exactly what CANNOT HAPPEN over the next few weeks prior to phase 4 and why its imperative that the players stay the eff home when not at the rink – yes, in Edmonton as well as Tampa, Phoenix, etc.

Paul Almeida
@AzorcanGlobal
The
@MLSjust had two teams expelled from their Tournament for having players test positive for Covid.
@FCDallashad 10 positive players & a coach while
@NashvilleSChad 9 players.
Can you imagine an
@NHLteam withdrawing from the play in round for too many infected players?

Not good. Not good at all. If a team comes in with a bunch of positive players, they will have to quarantine the entire crew inside the bubble and wait for the 14 days, or until they test negative a few times.

JimmyV1965

OriginalPouzar: I have “suggested” the same but I don’t know if the league is going to bifurcate the two like we suggest.

I agree. Don’t think they do it.

JimmyV1965

OriginalPouzar: Fair but wouldn’t the same apply to Tippett prior to the Oilers hiring him? Arizona missed the playoffs for 5 straight years with Coach T. as their head…….He hadn’t coached a playoff team in 8-9 years when the Oilers hired him.

The big difference is the quality of teams. Tip made bad rosters play better. Ruff not so much. After that post, I looked at the Dallas rosters and it wasn’t exactly loaded, but they decent skill; and they did have Seguin and Benn. I’m not sure Arizona has ever had a player as good as those two.

Harpers Hair

The University of North Carolina just had 34 players and staff test positive.

leadfarmer

OriginalPouzar:
This is exactly what CANNOT HAPPEN over the next few weeks prior to phase 4 and why its imperative that the players stay the eff home when not at the rink – yes, in Edmonton as well as Tampa, Phoenix, etc.

Paul Almeida
@AzorcanGlobal
The
@MLSjust had two teams expelled from their Tournament for having players test positive for Covid.
@FCDallashad 10 positive players & a coach while
@NashvilleSChad 9 players.
Can you imagine an
@NHLteam withdrawing from the play in round for too many infected players?

I’d be shocked if they don’t have an outbreak

OriginalPouzar

This is exactly what CANNOT HAPPEN over the next few weeks prior to phase 4 and why its imperative that the players stay the eff home when not at the rink – yes, in Edmonton as well as Tampa, Phoenix, etc.

Paul Almeida
@AzorcanGlobal
The
@MLS
just had two teams expelled from their Tournament for having players test positive for Covid.
@FCDallas
had 10 positive players & a coach while
@NashvilleSC
had 9 players.
Can you imagine an
@NHL
team withdrawing from the play in round for too many infected players?

OriginalPouzar

JimmyV1965: Simple solution to the bonus payment issue. Pay the player if they would earn the bonus over a full season, but don’t apply the bonus to the cap.

I have “suggested” the same but I don’t know if the league is going to bifurcate the two like we suggest.

OriginalPouzar

dustrock:
I would hope Kassian had no idea some rando was a HA member.

I am a little unclear about the issue of quarantine at this stage of the NHL deal for people who actually live in Edmonton.Are the players from Edmonton required to be in the bubble at this point if they haven’t traveled back from overseas?

I assume that is the case – from accounts, the HA member is a “social butterfly” and he very well just could have been a random fan to Kass at a coffee shop.

On your second point, nope, there are no official restrictions on players away from the rink during phase 2 and, in fact, there aren’t any in phase 3 (although they are supposed to “stay home as much as possible).

The point is, though, knowing that training camp is days away and the key is to get through the phase 2 and phase 3 period and in to phase 4 without an outbreak and without bringing the virus in to the secure zone, players should be very selective on where they go and should be protecting themselves as much as possible. Taking facemask-less selfies with randoms is NOT conducive to that even though not technically against NHL or team protocol.

OriginalPouzar

hunter1909: Kassian is a valuable player on many levels and the management of the Oilers knows it.

Fans on the other hand…

I would change “is” to “can be”.

Consistency is not something Kass has found at the NHL level.

OriginalPouzar

JimmyV1965:
I really don’t understand why the Devils hired Lindy Ruff. I think it’s often hard to judge the quality of coaching, but he’s 60 years old, with a very mediocre record.The Sabres made some noise about 15 years ago, but he’s been very underwhelming since then.

Fair but wouldn’t the same apply to Tippett prior to the Oilers hiring him? Arizona missed the playoffs for 5 straight years with Coach T. as their head……. He hadn’t coached a playoff team in 8-9 years when the Oilers hired him.

OriginalPouzar

JimmyV1965: Except that Kopitar was never as good as Drai is today.And it’s not even close.

Drai has been compared to Kopitar for as long as he’s been an Oiler (maybe even prior).

While I agree that Drai has zoomed past Kopitar and is in a higher tier that Anze ever was (one 92 point season as an outlier to a 65-75 point producer), as far as the two-way game, Drai still lags behind Anze but that is just due to defensive consistency as Drai can be dominant in all areas of the ice.

Shit, if Drai is able to become as consistent defensively as Kopitar, then we may be talking about one of the all time great players……