“My style of hockey? Simple. Play the game in the other team’s end of the rink.” Detroit coach Ted Garvin, 1973. His team went go 2-8-1 to start the 73-74 season and he was fired.
I’m proud to be writing for The Athletic, and pleased to be part of a great team with Daniel Nugent-Bowman and Jonathan Willis. Here is our recent work.
- New Lowetide: Oilers’ reasonable expectations for 2020-21: Goals against
- Lowetide: Oilers’ reasonable expectations for 2020-21: The Goals
- Jonathan Willis: Oilers defensive prospects are impressive overseas, but what comes next?
- Lowetide: Oilers pick up an intriguing addition in free agent Dominik Kahun
- Lowetide: How close is Ryan McLeod to an Oilers roster spot?
- Lowetide: Jay Woodcroft oversees a spike in Oilers prospect development
- Jonathan Willis: Oilers’ organizational depth chart: Where does Edmonton stand today?
- Lowetide: Dmitri Samorukov’s KHL impact and what it means to the Oilers
- Lowetide: Oilers extend Kris Russell, solve expansion issue
- Lowetide: Can Kyle Turris centre an outscoring No. 3 line in Edmonton?
- Lowetide: Tyson Barrie’s skills and how Oilers coach Dave Tippett will deploy him
- Jonathan Willis: Can Oilers unlock James Neal’s scoring potential at five on five?
- Lowetide: Why is Ilya Konovalov no longer starting in the KHL?
- Lowetide: Oilers Top 20 prospects, post-draft edition.
Fred Shero of the Flyers and Rangers was a great quote, the best of his era: “Boston will play the Esposito line for a 4-minutes shift, while we’ll have three lines against them in that time. Thus, by moving our lines on a one-minute shift, we can create a faster tempo during the game. We always have a fresh player on the ice.“
The Oilers had a great one in Craig MacTavish, who famously said Brad Winchester needed a second opinion and that if you had to ask the question about Devan Dubnyk as a starter you already had your answer.
I like Dave Tippett’s frankness and especially like what he did with young players to help them succeed in the NHL last season. Ethan Bear, Kailer Yamamoto and Caleb Jones all graduated from the AHL and had an impact in the NHL.
It’s the kind of coaching that may help unlock Jesse Puljujarvi. Tippett talked about JP’s season so far this year, saying “He’s just a dominant player in the Finnish League right now. He’s a much more well-rounded player. That happens. That’s just maturity in a player. For him, it’s maturity as a hockey player and maturity as a person. I think we’ll get a much better player coming in here this time.”
RECLAMATION AND REDEMPTION
Don Murdoch left a bad scene in Manhattan and arrived in Edmonton looking for redemption. I think most people look on Murdoch’s time with the Oilers as an unsuccessful experiment but he scored 15 goals in 50 games so the talent was there.
There are two keys to Puljujarvi’s return, the player and the atmosphere he returns to in Edmonton. Whatever the issue last time, it was real to Puljujarvi. I think Tippett showed last year that he could bring in unproven talent of different types (Bear, Jones, Yamamoto, Patrick Russell) and have success, but he could also cut bait (Joel Persson, Thomas Jurco, Markus Granlund) if things weren’t working out.
From an Oilers point of view, you want this to work, to have Jesse flourish from today to 2040 as a winger in Edmonton. The backup plan needs to be creating enough value to make a trade beneficial to the team. The Oilers can’t afford to lose JP and what he represents so zero, they need to get value in return if a trade is the ultimate route.
And it can happen. Edmonton gave up a big power forward (Cam Connor) and a pick for Murdoch, and sent him away for a enforcer defenseman (Don Jackson) and a pick.
The same day Edmonton traded Murdoch to Minnesota, the North Stars dealt him to the Detroit Red Wings for the first-round pick that turned into Brian Bellows. North Stars also traded Greg Smith and their own first-round pick (Murray Craven) in that deal (1982 picks).
Oilers will want Puljujarvi to succeed in Edmonton, or build up enough value to being a valuable trade piece (perhaps at the deadline).
Listen to the words of Tippett during training camp and preseason. If at some point in the the couple of months he slides up to JP and says ‘knock knock’ in the same fashion as he did with Ethan Bear last season? Music!