Hard Times Come Again No More

by Lowetide
Photo by Sarah Connors

One thing that’s absolutely true: Every generation of Oilers fan has something to worry about heading into training camp. Back in the 1980’s, signing people was the issue and holdouts were commonplace. In the early 1990’s, not enough good players, and then later in the 1990’s draft picks were hit and miss and Slats had to trade his way to contention. Since the turn of the century, the Oilers have been trading away more than they brought in and much of that has to do with turnover in the front office and in coaching.

So, today, in an effort to scare you straight and convince you this year’s team is relatively low in terms of worry level, let’s hit the wayback machine to 2009 summer. Pat Quinn. I won’t scare you too badly, we’ll just talk about one position.


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.

JULY 23, 2009

At some point this fall, Pat Quinn will realize there’s a distinct lack of NHL talent on the Oilers roster at some important spots.

When crusty old Punch Imlach arrived back in Toronto 30 summers ago he was vocal about the collective lack of foot speed of the Leaf centermen.

Imlach said he had “5 or 6 good players” and he fretted all summer about center ice. Quoting Imlach in his book Heaven and Hell in the NHL: “We needed more depth everywhere but especially at center. There we had Jimmy Jones who could check but couldn’t score and wasn’t fast enough; Paul Gardner who could score but wasn’t fast enough; Walt McKechnie who could do a lot of things fairly well, except skate fast; and (Darryl) Sittler, who could score but wasn’t quite as fast as he had been, and had some bad habits, like giving away the puck too often and frequently being caught out of the play when he went in too deep.”

We haven’t discussed a few things about Pat Quinn. We’ve touched on “what if he doesn’t match lines and leaves the kids exposed?” and “how many crash and bang forwards will there be on the 3 and 4 lines?” but we haven’t (that I’ve seen) asked how many of these guys are going to be Walt McKechnie’s.

I think center in Edmonton is going to be for Pat Quinn much like it was for Punch Imlach when he returned to Toronto. There are some issues here. He can count on Shawn Horcoff but #10 will be more help if there’s a veteran presence behind him as No. 2 center. Sam Gagner will improve and may even take some powerplay minutes away from Horcoff (Horc enjoyed 300 pp minutes, Gagner 232), but will he outscore opposition while playing center? Despite improved numbers last year, that’s a big question.

Andrew Cogliano has blazing speed and raw talent, but he also lacks experience. Marc Pouliot may be a hidden gem but the previous coach found him to be a conundrum. Gilbert Brule is the new Daniel Cleary, losing some of his youth to a bad hockey organization and attempting to find his way by spending a prolonged period in the minors after a long NHL stretch.

And that’s just center. Quinn has already discussed Hemsky (or at least I think he was talking about Hemsky it might have been Gagner) in a less than flattering light but the man has two eyes and part of his job is going to be squeezing offense out of these men so Hemsky will be a valuable man. Right? Let’s list off the 23-man roster currently and I’ll take a guess at Quinn’s opinion.

  1. Khabibulin: He’ll ride that nag until it drops.
  2. Deslauriers: Won’t last the season.
  3. Souray: Big, big minutes. Monster playing time.
  4. Visnovsky: Quinn’s new Kaberle will be relied upon.
  5. Gilbert: Valuable player Quinn should grow to trust.
  6. Grebeshkov: Has some chaos, Quinn will play him.
  7. Staios: He’ll get steady minutes.
  8. Smid: Quinn will want him to play uglier.
  9. Strudwick: He’ll be a reliable role player.
  10. Horcoff: Quinn will overuse him, he has no choice.
  11. Gagner: I think Gagner may face some early criticism.
  12. Cogliano: A big part of Quinn’s job is finding him a useful role.
  13. Pouliot: He should be a useful player, but MacT thought so too.
  14. Brule: The Oilers are giving him a push, but Quinn has enough question marks.
  15. Penner: I think Quinn gets something extra from him.
  16. O’Sullivan: Should be a quality player under Quinn.
  17. Moreau: Trusted warrior, he’ll get a lot of work.
  18. Jacques: Should be just what Quinn is looking for.
  19. MacIntyre: Likely to play much more this year.
  20. Hemsky: Some concern, but he’s the ignition.
  21. Nilsson: Man most likely to be traded. Now.
  22. Pisani: They’ll play him heavily when healthy.
  23. Stortini: Should play the same role as last time.

I was wrong on several players (he didn’t like Lubo, broke my heart) but not wrong about center. Quinn used 10 men at center, including Ryan Potulny who the coach favoured over several of the young Oilers who were pushing.

The point of this morning’s exercise is to reiterate that much good work has already been done, including a fortunate and astute offseason 2020.

This roster is much stronger at center than the Quinn group and more mobile if less established defensively (Lubo in his prime would not go amiss on this year’s model). The goaltending will be better than it was in 2009-10 and the wingers this year will be better than they have in some time (although Ales Hemsky prime would be a welcome sight).

There are some warnings from 2009-10 worth paying heed. My friend Bruce McCurdy and I have just been wincing looking back at how quickly the team cut bait on Andrew Cogliano, a young man who has played a productive decade since leaving for a second-round draft pick. Important to get the Nuge signed, keep that center depth strong. It can get away from you in a quick hurry.

Note: Sittler wasn’t fast, but Imlach always picked on his best players. A dreadful habit and thankfully those days are long gone from the NHL.


At 10 this morning, TSN1260, we’ll hit the ground running with two terrific guests and much ground to cover. Craig Button from TSN will join us to talk about the World Juniors and how strong Team Canada could be in the current conditions. Frank Seravalli from TSN also joins us and we’ll talk about new vaccines and testing, plus the NHL-NHLPA negotiations that are currently a little up in the air. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!


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Harpers Hair

Allan Walsh


Just imagine the reaction if the players tried to walk back the agreement in the CBA for 20-21 NHL season.
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Greg Wyshynski

· 3h
“They’re trying to walk [the CBA] back and change the structure on us. That’s bullshit.”

NHLPA reaction to NHL owners’ ask for more deferred money, increase in escrow and what comes next as Jan. 1 looms. Report from me and @emilymkaplan:



They are going to have to pay the owners the money they owe them (which is going to grow massively during this coming season) – the question is how much of the burden to they want to put on the budding generation of stars?


Pain in the butt.


Beauty breakaway goal for Blumel today….



Hard Times Come Again No More. Such an amazing traditional song (Stephen Foster) covered by basically everybody….man, appreciate that. Thanks LT.


TO: Harpers Hair

Just discovered that my response also went into moderation – probably because of your T word use so I will try it this way.

And this one went to moderation as well. No idea why.

But only because nobody has launched a legal challenge on the Maritime lockdown. I guess we will see what happens.

There was a time last April, I think, where the military was put on standby and actually deployed somewhere in northern Quebec or Ontario if memory serves, for a couple of days. Then things started to settle and they wound it down. It was called Operation Alert.

Just so you know they re-activated it yesterday. Could just be preparation, in case, but the call went out to all personnel with leave cancelled etc.

And we just got back from grocery shopping. There were empty shelves and the clerk indicated they were having supply shortages.

Buckle up everybody.

Last edited 9 months ago by defmn


 November 19, 2020 11:05 am

Is there a good chance that Holloway misses a month+ of college hockey & doesn’t play on Team Canada? How do they have this many bodies quarantining?

There is definitely a chance but, from a few accounts, I think his chances of making the team are quite good. Button on the show this morning essentially said he’d be shocked if he didn’t make the team – I think he said he’s “one of Canada’s best players” – I think that’s a bit aggressive but his ability to play center or wing and up and down the lineup, his versatility, should be a big plus.

The three guys (including Holloway) that are in from the US are a cohort and quarantining off the ice as a function of the protocols negotiated between the team and Alberta Health Services.

The rest of those that weren’t on the ice for the first few days was a function of their required test results not coming in – I think almost all but Greig (who did test positive) and the US guys are now out of quarantine.


Let’s hope that is how it plays out and he makes the team. The alternative where he goes through quarantine, misses college development time and doesn’t make the team might hurt the young man’s confidence.


He’s a lock to make the team. Power forwards with hands don’t grow on trees like small skilled ones do.


I hope you and Craig Button are right.


I forgot to mention, Maksimov scored his second KHL goal of the year today (although the Oilers are reporting it as his first – pretty sure he had 1G/1A a few games ago).

A nice little rebound tuck around the goalie.

Played over 13 minutes today.


I mentioned to you in a previous thread that Maximov was listed in khl.ru as having zero goals and 1 assist. So this certainly is his first goal.


Samorukov played just over 15 minutes and was plus 2 in the 4-2 win.

He leads the KHL in plus/minus I believe…..

Broberg picked up a PP assist on the insurance goal in the third in a 3-1 win. He played 16 minutes (2nd pairing), was even with a couple shots on goal.


To add both Berglund and Lennström out due to undisclosed injuries/illness. That’s the second straight game Berglund missed, reading between the lines in an interview with his coach it doesn’t sound like he’s out for too long though.
Neither team has reported any covid cases this week so I don’t think that’s why they aren’t playing.


Thank you!

David Staples at the Cult has watched a number of Frolunda games this year and has been raving about Lennstrom and his puck skills and overall smart game. He says he’s confidant he could step in to an NHL third pairing.

What are your thoughts? He’s likely to be 1LD in the AHL with potential call-up if injuries hit.


Lennström is a very good SHL D, he’s starting to heat up of late and it’s clear Staples saw him good in one of the more recent games. He’s quite polished overall, wouldn’t say his puck skills are high end but they are good enough to get him out of trouble and he does have some offensive chops but I doubt it’s at a high enough level to be his NHL calling card.
He’s a product of very steady development and thus a well rounded, consistent player. His main standout skill is skating which should be well above NHL average, if it wasn’t for that part of his game I’d say he’d be a bit bland to stick as an NHLer but his skating ability changes the dynamic. If he translates his game somewhat smoothly I think he could slide onto an NHL bottom pair right off the bat and not look out of place. The question marks are physicality and his ability to defend the middle of the ice while not having the high end offensive game to offset any major defensive limitations. He is a very very capable defender at the SHL level but he’s also a very euro style D and the things there’s more of an onus on when playing on NA ice, separating guys from the puck, winning board battles and boxing players out, are not necessarily strengths of his. These things matters in the SHL as well but you can get much further with good positioning, stickwork and cutting out passing lanes. You have to be so much more aggressive against highly skilled NHLers on the smaller ice and the type of smart but not very proactive defensive style he represents can sometimes be too passive. If he can adapt he should do well. At the very least he should easily be a top 4 AHLer.

And the hope with these jack of all master of none type two way D eith smooth skating is that they manage to pretty much translate their game straight up to the higher level of play and ends up more or less the same player he was at the lower rung and in that case I’d say his upside is as the sidekick on a pairing playing top 4 minutes, but that’s very much in the highly unlikely column.


Thank you very much – great insight!


Amazing thread here by Julie Robenhymer – a ton of info on the World Junior protocols and the plans for the European teams related thereto:


Harpers Hair

comment image
Ryan Rishaug


Kirby Dach and Dylan Cousins did not skate with their group this morning. They showed up to the 11:30 skate right at 11:30 as coach Tourigny had gathered the group to get started. He had a chat with both guys, fist bumped both, but had them leave. They watched from the stands



11:45 AM · Nov 19, 2020·Twitter for iPad

Material Elvis

Turns out that they were late for practice and the coach was holding them accountable. The players were receiving some form of physical therapy and did not tell the coaching staff that they were running late.


More importantly did they have booze on their breath. If they did I would advice them to drink a full glass of tomato juice after a bender and no one will smell a thing.


Just thought I’d compare Nurse’s past 3 years with some of the generally accepted “#1D” at the same age. It’s not a perfect comp due to play-style differences of course, but I’m hoping it’ll give some idea of where Nurse is in his development.

Nurse: 2017-18 to 2019-20
Jones: 2017-18 to 2019-20
Hedman: 2013-14 to 2015-16
Pietrangelo: 2012-13 to 2014-15
Josi: 2012-13 to 2014-15
Doughty: 2012-13 to 2014-15
Burns: 2007-08 to 2009-10

5v5 TOI/GP
Doughty: 19:39
Jones: 19:14
Josi: 19:12
Nurse: 19:02
Pietrangelo: 18:04
Hedman: 16:40
Burns: 16:03

Doughty has played crazy minutes since entering the league – still does – but Jones, Josi and Nurse are all in the range at the same age. Pietrangelo is nearly a full minute less while Hedman and Burns are way down.

5v5 Boxcars
Hedman: 212, 22-60-82
Nurse: 235, 17-60-77
Pietrangelo: 209, 12-57-69
Jones: 209, 17-48-65
Josi: 201, 22-42-64
Doughty: 208, 12-37-49
Burns: 188, 8-29-37

Nurse is second overall in part due to playing more games than the others. That’s a feature, not a bug, although for 3 of these players we’re including the lockout shortened season, so Pietrangelo, Josi and Doughty have an excuse for having played less. Nurse didn’t miss a single game in the timeframe in question.

5v5 P/60
Hedman: 1.39
Pietrangelo: 1.10
Nurse: 1.03
Josi: 0.99
Jones: 0.97
Burns: 0.74
Doughty: 0.72

Nurse is right in the range with Pietrangelo, Josi and Jones, and 3rd overall. Burns was nowhere near his prime and Hedman is ahead of the others at the same age. Of course, Hedman’s TOI and puckiq.com numbers indicate that he wasn’t playing 1st pair until the last of the 3 years, so that could have something to do with his offensive numbers. When you look at each year individually, you’ll see that the year he played 1st pairing his scoring rates were the lowest.

Nurse: 5.92
Doughty: 5.69
Burns: 3.86
Jones: 3.40
Hedman: 3.06
Josi: 1.55
Peitrangelo: 1.54

Shots Blocked/60
Josi: 5.14
Pietrangelo: 4.46
Nurse: 4.44
Jones: 4.33
Hedman: 4.26
Doughty: 2.79
Burns: 2.76

I wouldn’t normally bother with things like Hits and Blocked Shots, but I wanted to throw them in there to show the differences between these players’ styles. Josi and Pietrangelo aren’t very physical, but both block shots well. Burns and Doughty are physical but don’t block a lot of shots, while Nurse plays more like Jones and Hedman, but more physical than both. It’s worth giving this a second mention: Nurse is more physical than Doughty in his hey-day. That’s incredible. So let’s look at some more defensive metrics, corrected for team strength (“relative” metrics).

Shot Against/60 Rel (and SF% Rel)
Hedman: -1.85 (+3.70)
Jones: -0.93 (+3.05)
Doughty: 0.09 (+1.26)
Burns: 0.44 (+1.02)
Nurse: 1.1 (+0.30)
Pietrangelo: 2.24 (-0.65)
Josi: 3.21 (-0.45)

Man, it really isn’t easy to play 1st pairing at 22-25 years old. Almost everyone here puts up worse SA/60 numbers than their teammates whom they sheltered, although to be fair Burns wan’t playing 1st pairing and Hedman was only 1 of the 3 years. For reference, a positive SA/60 Rel number is bad, while a positive SF% Rel number is good. So while Nurse allowed marginally more shots against than his teammates, he created enough Shots For that his overall % was positive, although only slightly. Nurse is clearly behind Jones and Doughty but well ahead of Pietrangelo and Josi.

Goals Against/60 Rel (and GF% Rel)
Josi: -0.05 (+2.55)
Burns: -0.02 (+4.32)
Nurse: 0.05 (+4.54)
Jones: 0.09 (+0.60)
Hedman: 0.13 (5.81)
Doughty: 0.20 (-0.54)
Pietrangelo: 0.35 (-0.43)

In this metric Nurse shines, allowing basically team average goals against but while playing much harder comp than everyone else. Notice how practically everyone in this group allows more goals than their teammates? First pairing is hard. The players here are tightly grouped, but you can see from the GF% Rel that 3 players – Hedman, Nurse and Burns – produced enough GF Rel to make a significant difference for their team while on the ice. We can see that shots allowed is not a great predictor for goals allowed due in part to shot quality and distance, so they came up with an “Expected Goals” metric to try and correct for this:

Expected Goals Against/60 Rel (and xGF% Rel)
Hedman: -0.02 (+2.18)
Doughty: -0.01 (+1.11)
Jones: 0.05 (+0.39)
Burns: 0.06 (+1.10)
Josi: 0.08 (+0.03)
Nurse: 0.12 (+0.04)
Pietrangelo: 0.25 (-1.46)

Only Pietrangelo is behind the pack here, all 6 of the others are all within the same range. Nurse is at the bottom of the range, but this is a very good group of players to be hanging around with. Okay, just one more stat to give colour to all the above stats…

Defensive Zone Faceoffs/60 (Off. Zone Faceoff %)
Josi: 24.57 (44.89)
Pietrangelo: 19.91 (50.55)
Nurse: 18.67 (48.84)
Burns: 18.19 (46.14)
Doughty: 17.93 (54.18)
Jones: 17.26 (56.54)
Hedman: 17.00 (56.98)

If you look back at the Shots Against list, you’ll see that Nurse, Pietrangelo and Josi ranked 5,6 and 7 respectively. Now you can see why – they were sent out for the most defensive zone faceoffs. The defenseman has nothing to do with losing the faceoff and very little control over the resulting shot / shot attempt. This list also explains why those three rank at the bottom for xGA/60 and at the top of the Shots Blocked list too – and makes the fact that Nurse and Josi are strong in the actual Goals Against metric even more impressive.

So what do you think? Do these numbers stand up to the fact that you “seen him bad”, or do they show Nurse on a track to remain one of the leagues best over the coming decade?


Rovers don’t win championships!


In all seriousness, that is some heady company and a very interesting, informative comparison. Thank you for this post.

I do see the ‘brain farts’ deep in the offensive zone that people often complain about. But I wonder if there’s some bias in those observations. Gregor leaned on a bunch of SportLogiq data for his two part article that similarly showed Nurse to be among the league leaders for defensemen at many puck movement categories. Basically obliterated the “Nurse can’t pass” narrative held by so many.

As an aside, when Gilbert played here (way before my online reading about the Oilers) I grew to dislike him because of his constant giveaways. I would often call him the best player on the other team, if it wasn’t simply ‘Fu*kn Gilbert!’ He was my goat for sure. His fancy stats suggest otherwise. I wonder how similar that disconnect is in the current appraisal of Nurse and his value to the team. Easy to fixate on the mistakes a player makes than to take note of the little things they do well. See: Schultz, Justin.

For the record, I hope Nurse’s contract extension doesn’t cost too much and we can keep him locked up for the better part of the decade. He’s a horse and can be a load to deal with. I’ll never shake the ‘seen him good’ observations of watching him hard matched to Connor in the 2014/15 OHL playoffs.

Elgin R

Excellent post! Nurse is so polarizing because, as fans, we expect so much more from all the players, but especially the ‘core’. The data shows that he IS playing at a #1D level for his age and usage.
Summary: Plays well and does not miss games – glad he is on the Oilers.

Good luck to Holland when he has to negotiate a new contract for Nurse.


This is where the new economic reality may actually help the Oilers. I am of the opinion that if Nurse is re-signed long term the contract will start with a 6.


I would have to agree with this. He still has two full years of his new contract (he hasn’t even played a game under it yet) but the cap isn’t going up in that period.

Unless he takes that material step with regard to defensive zone awareness and decision making, I don’t think a major raise over $5.6M will be warranted.


Interesting comparison, thanks for this. Food for thought.


On the giveaway front, Nurse is pretty average, at least based on NHL stats. Over the last 3 seasons, he averages 2.19 giveaways per 60. That ranks him about 84th out of D who have played 100 games over that stretch. That’s actually pretty good considering how often he has the puck. One of the worst giveaway D in the league is actually Jeff Petry. He is third in the league in giveaways at 3.47 per 60. The more a player carries the puck the more they will give it away, but Petry’s contributions to offense do not justify how often he coughs it up. Nurse has outscored Petry 5 on 5 85 points to 80 points over that same stretch. I was not upset when the Oilers traded him because of the number of times he would have a bad giveaway at a critical time leading to a goal against.

The analytic guys love Petry because of his possession numbers, but he still has frequent brain cramps with the Canadiens. He has the 2nd worst goal% 5 on 5 of any Canadiens defenseman who has played meaningful minutes over the past 3 years. If people don’t think defenseman can impact save % how is that Montreal’s 5 on 5 save % is 90.5% with Petry out there and above 91.4 % with every other defenseman. It’s because his own zone giveaways lead to great chances against. It sure isn’t because Carey Price becomes ordinary or worse only when Petry is on the ice.

At every stage in his career so far by age, Nurse has out performed Petry significantly and his is just entering his prime and Petry is well passed his. Yet so many in the fan base rue the departure of Petry, but seem to want the Oilers to move on from Nurse now. I suspect that would be a big mistake.


Great post Armchair, thanks.


TOI with CMD is not as different for Nurse over Klefbom as you’d think (38% for Nurse, 34% for Klefbom), but there’s certainly justification for it. At 5v5 over the past 3 years.

Nurse w/97: 7:36 /GP, 3.62 GF/60 – 2.88 GA/60 = +0.74 G/60 (55.68 GF%)
Klefbom w/97: 6:23 /GP, 3.28 GF/60 – 3.23 GA/60 = +0.05 G/60 (50.40 GF%)

Nurse w/o 97: 11:47 /GP, 2.01 GF/60 – 2.56 GA/60 = -0.55 G/60 (44.08 GF%)
Klefbom w/o 97: 11:41 /GP, 1.49 GF/60 – 2.55 GA/60 = -1.06 G/60 (36.91 GF%)

For context:

Nurse w/97: 21.98 O-Z faceoffs/60 (56.00%)
Klefbom w/97: 22.94 O-Z faceoffs/60 (56.92%)

Nurse w/o 97: 15.27 O-Z faceoffs/60 (43.87%)
Klefbom w/o 97: 17.94 O-Z faceoffs/60 (47.35%)

It looks like McDavid-time and offensive zone starts are allocated a LOT more closely than it should be. Here are the two player’s personal scoring rates with and without McDavid, at 5v5 over the past 3 years:

Nurse: 1.03 P/60 overall, 1.65 w/97 / 0.65 w/o
Klefbom: 0.68 P/60 overall, 1.20 w/97 / 0.41 w/o

You’d certainly expect to see a pronounced difference on a team with 1 great line (for most of this period) and then nothing. None of these other defensemen had to deal with that kind of disparity of teammate skill level. But even still, over the “same-age” timeframes discussed above, most saw a significant jump in production at 5v5 while playing with their highest scoring center:

Hedman: 1.39 P/60 overall, 1.84 w/Johnson
Pietrangelo: 1.10 P/60 overall, 1.38 w/Berglund
Josi: 0.99 P/60 overall, 1.04 w/Fisher
Jones: 0.97 P/60 overall, 1.13 w/PLD
Burns: 0.74 P/60 overall, 1.08 w/Koivu
Doughty: 0.72 P/60 overall, 0.92 w/Kopitar


Actually, it looks like Nurse is a better PP option than Klefbom. Over the past 3 years at 5v4:

McDavid + Nurse: 10.31 GF/60 – 0.76 GA/60 (157:07 TOI)
McDavid + Klefbom: 9.15 GF/60 – 1.13 GA/60 (478:31)

*not including the 3:16 both defensemen were on with McDavid.


There’s not a single metric listed here (CF%, FF%, SF%, GF%, xGF%, SCF%, etc) that Klefbom shows better than Nurse. 


Braden Point isn’t that great when you take Kucherov away from him. Kucherov is driving that line unquestionably. Offensively he’s a top-3 player. Boxcars and (P/GP) over the past 2 years:

1. Draisaitl: 93-122-215 (1.41)
2. McDavid: 75-138-213 (1.50)
3. Kucherov: 74-139-213 (1.42); 80.68 IPP
17. Point: 66-90-156 (1.08) ; 62.15 IPP

Their underlying metrics make it look like Kucherov is tilting the ice more than Point is too. At 5v5 over the past 2 years:

Together: 54.42 CF%
Kuch alone: 52.16
Point alone: 48.17

Together: 54.36 FF%
Kuch alone: 51.59
Point alone: 47.59

Together: 53.93 SF%
Kuch alone: 50.87
Point alone: 47.43

Together: 55.56 xGF%
Kuch alone: 51.34
Point alone: 50.08

IMO Point isn’t a top-15 player in the league without Kucherov. He was front and center in the playoffs this year but still needed Kucherov in order to make a positive impact:

Together: 63.30 CF%
Kuch alone: 62.79
Point alone: 48.51

Together: 62.77 FF%
Kuch alone: 65.54
Point alone: 45.71

Together: 63.13 SF%
Kuch alone: 65.05
Point alone: 41.67

Together: 64.30 xGF%
Kuch alone: 68.55
Point alone: 52.25

In terms of “overall play”, Point doesn’t even breakeven without Kucherov beside him. He’s not a top-5 player in the league or even a top-20 player.

Decidedly Skeptical Fan

Then don’t take Kuch away, no? Same thing with Nuge and Drai. When you have a pair that has special chemistry, leave it the fuck alone.

Hey Tipp, are you reading LT today? Hope so.


Don’t see a bunch of Tampa games, but based on this year’s playoff I would say Point was driving the bus and Kucherov was the passenger. A very opportunistic passenger, but Point seemed like the guy who was carrying through the neutral zone and creating turnovers on the forecheck.
I know who I’d pick if I was starting a team.


Actually, if you look at howTampa actually scores with Kucherov and Point on the ice together or apart, (GF/60), then it doesn’t appear either is carrying the other. When together 5 on 5 over the last 3 seasons Tampa scores just under 4 goals per 60, and when they’re apart, with either Point or Kucherov on Tampa still scores at around 3.5 per 60. Now granted, when not playing together, they still get to play with the likes of Steve Stamkos, Tyler Johnson etc. and they still get to play with excellent defensemen.

If you want to see a player who appears to be being carried, Mikko Rantanen’s numbers when he is not with Nathan MacKinnon are not very good. At 5 on 5 with Rantanen on and MacKinnon off, Colorado’s goals per 60 has averaged ~1.5 over the last 3 seasons. That is weak 3rd line production. Meanwhile, with MacKinnon with or w/o Rantanen, the team scores at a rate of ~3.4 g/60. Even more telling, the rate of goals against goes down when MacKinnon isn’t with Rantanen. He is still an excellent compliment to MacKinnon, but I predict Sakic will regret giving him 6 x 9.25 M which looks outrageous compared to Point’s 3 x 6.75M both signed in September 2019 though Point will likely get a big raise in 22/23.

Harpers Hair

Lots of speculation today that BC is going to close its borders to travellers from other provinces.

Could throw a wrench into NHL plans.


As is the case with most of our Charter the language is somewhat ambiguous but I don’t believe Horgan has the authority to close the border on his own.

Mobility Rights

6. 1.Every citizen of Canada has the right to enter, remain in, and leave Canada.

  2.Every citizen of Canada and every person who has the status of a permanent resident of Canada has the right

       a. to move to and take up residence in a province; and

       b. to pursue the gaining of livelihood in any province.

  3.The rights specified in subsection 2. are subject to

       a. any laws or practices of general application in force in a province other than those that discriminate among persons

         primarily on the basis of present or previous residence; and

       b. any laws providing for reasonable residence requirements as a qualification for the receipt of publicly provided

         social services.

  4. Subsections 2. and 3. do not preclude any law, program or activity that has as its object the amelioration in a province of

    conditions of individuals in that province who are socially or economically disadvantaged if the rate of employment in that

    province is below the rate of employment in Canada.

Harpers Hair

The Atlantic provinces have been enforcing a bubble for months.

Apparently Horgan spoke with Ottawa last night and likely got a green light.

Last edited 9 months ago by Harpers Hair
Harpers Hair

The Atlantic provinces have been enforcing a bubble for months.

Apparently Horgan spoke with Ottawa last night and likely got a green light.

(Had replied a few moments earlier but mentioned the T word and went into moderation)


But only because nobody has launched a legal challenge.

There was a time last April, I think, where the military was put on standby and actually deployed somewhere in northern Quebec or Ontario if memory serves, for a couple of days. Then things started to settle and they wound it down. It was called Operation Alert.

Just so you know they re-activated it yesterday. Could just be preparation in case but the call went out to all personnel with leave cancelled etc.

And we just got back from grocery shopping. There were empty shelves and the clerk indicated they were having supply shortages.

Buckle up everybody.


I believe he has the option of declaring a provincial emergency which changes things drastically. He has stated publicly that he would use this tactic only as a last resort.

Harpers Hair

As it turns out…the province has not mandated closing the borders but is implementing an order that the only travel allowed within and from out of province is for work or medical purposes.

Everyone, including out of province visitors, are being advised to stay put.

Crazy Pedestrian

no one here cares about the Canucks anyway… 😏


Nah. Just move the Canucks to Quebec City for a year.


Good reason for the Canucks not to shell for Utica to play in Ontario…


Just a heads up…

A video of an Albertan doctor giving his thoughts on Covid (he runs a company that produces tests) on a Zoom call to the Alberta government has gone viral on YouTube. 300,000 views in one day and it is all over various and sundry US websites.

The doctor’s name is Roger Hodkinson. I’m sure your google fu can unearth the video if you desire to see it. I am not going to post the link out of respect for LT, and I have no interest in discussing the doctor’s comments or their implications on this forum.

This is merely a heads up as our province and city seem to be somewhat in the spotlight today… and so you can be better prepared when you get that WTF text from your cousin overseas. 😉


Rondo? Is that you?


Isn’t this the guy HH linked to a few days ago?

Harpers Hair

Yes. The former President of the Alberta College of Physicians and Surgeons.


I think that title was thrown into question as not quite correct by a subsequent post.

Material Elvis

He definitely was not the president of the Alberta College of Physicians and Surgeons. He’s an insurance company physician. Deena Hinshaw is still the go to source for Covid information in Alberta.

Harpers Hair

You know how you want to make something sound more grandiose on a resume so you make mention the impressive part first and the the relevant part later in a footnote and hope that most people will stop reading halfway through?

He says on his personal website that he was “Chairman of a Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons committee in Ottawa”

The College of Physicians usually strikes hundreds of committees every year in various cities to look as different issues affecting the profession. Being the chairman usually means he was the one member of the committee most enthusiastic to pound a gavel and let the dozen or so other physicians know when it was their turn to talk.

The fact he doesn’t say what the committee was about is also interesting and I’d wager it was something like the CPSA annual beer pong tournament rules committee.


What would you wager?


Right, not an insurance company exec


Indeed, at the risk of being labelled as lame for posting my own response to HH’s post on this topic a couple days ago, I’ll do just that.

“Except he isn’t the former head of the College of Physicians and Surgeons as the tweet states.

Moreover, the title of linked youtube video states that the comments were from a privately recorded meeting; they were actually made at a public hearing where citizens shared their views with Edmonton city council and the individual quoted was one of several people who shared their opinions.


The above article identifies the supposed “former head of the CPSA” as actually being the CEO of a company “that conducts medical examinations for lawyers and insurance adjusters.” A fella who provides “reliable” medical results for lawyers are a special breed of medical professional. Let’s just say you don’t go to them for an objective medical opinion.

I don’t know who this Greg Tolan fellow is but a quick scroll through his tweets reveals he is definitely pushing a few agendas at the same time. Some of which may align with your own views but for the sake of ensuring the future veracity of your own comments on this forum I’d view future tweets from this source with skepticism.

The factual accuracy of this tweet and the title of the accompanying video, are shit and future tweets by the source should be regarded as such.


Where did you hear that?

Last edited 9 months ago by wolf8888

Assuming you mean “definitely not the president”, it’s from his own company’s website, linked to by HH.


Not surprising that the former frontman for Supertramp would wonder, “Crisis? What Crisis?”

Gerta Rauss


Gerta Rauss

This pandemic has forced all of us to give a little bit


We are likely going to get a season and camp start date in the next week or two and I think that might start another wave of player transactions given the number of teams that must make moves to get cap compliant. I mean Vegas, St. Louis, Tampa, Washington, etc. they will have no choice but to move cap out in order to get compliant with a legal roster.


At a glance, who do you think are the most vulnerable/obvious player candidates from those affected teams to be on the market?


I’ve got to think that TB and STL are going to need to pay to find a team to take on the likes of T. Johnson and Bozak – I’m talking pay big, like first round pick plus for taking on the contract. Vegas too with someone like Marchessault.


Our fourth line is still somewhat vulnerable to change through waiver wire pickups, free agent signings & trades imo.

This year is like no other year I have ever seen.

Last edited 9 months ago by defmn

Are you thinking that Holland may be looking to add to it in that way?

I’m thinking that two of Chiassson, Archibald, Haas, Khaira aren’t in the opening night lineup and there is P. Russell, Nygard, Benson, Quine in behind them..

I’m not so sure there will be any additions.

What are you thinking?


I’m thinking that if there are UFA’s better than the bottom 5 already on the roster Holland may well invite them to camp and if they show they are better bets than the current guys those guys will be demoted to Bakersfield.

I don’t think Holland feels shy about helping Katz spend his money. Katz undoubtedly didn’t anticipate this year but I am guessing – and it is just a guess – that Holland received assurances that he could spend as he saw fit to fill out the roster. He did last year when several one way contracts headed to California.

He’s got work to do himself on the cap but there are a few contracts that head to Bakersfield without repercussions.


I’m not sure that there is anyone better than the likes of Archie and Chiasson and Khaira and Hass that will be coming to camp on a PTO. I don’t anticipate the likes of Haula and Duclair will take PTOs – they will sign contracts.

With current signings, P. Russell and Nygard are already on the outside and assigned (in addition to Benson). I guess the next signing pushes Khaira or Haas out. One of those two and Chiasson/Neal/Archie are already not in the lineup.

Seems crowded with legit NHL players. I mean, if Haula wants to sign for $1M or come to camp on a PTO, sure, don’t see it though.


I don’t think you saw Kahum either though. That is all I’m saying.

This is a year like no other and I expect that Holland is still in contact with agents and GM’s because this is the year where the unexpected can’t be ruled out.


4C is a glaring weakness (relative to the quality of wingers) IMO.

I agree it’s unlikely a winger is added, but as defmn said Holland will keep working to improve the roster.


I am fully comfortable with Khaira and Haas competing nightly for the 4C spot.


Sure, I’m OK with it too. But when I try to fill out the lines I always end up wanting to slot Khaira/Haas at 13/14 or 14/15. Maybe it’s just me.

Of course they actually slot inside the top 12. So if an upgrade were available, it would be an easy decision for Holland I’d expect.

I don’t *think* we’ll see an addition or camp invite, but if Haula or Soderberg or Brassard are willing… Maybe some wingers or defenders too.

Holland is kicking all of the tires I think, so I would not be particularly surprised to see another add.


I think only one slots in to the healthy top 12 and the other would be a healthy scratch along with either Chiasson or Archie right now. They would both slot outside the starting 12 if one of Archie, Neal or Chiasson was a center (or if Nuge was 3C and Turris at 4C).

We’ve seen Khaira have success at 4C and I have a feeling that, with a year of North America and the physicality and style of play under his belt, Haas might take a step to prove an every day NHL player – just a feeling.


“They would both slot outside the starting 12 if one of Archie, Neal or Chiasson was a center”

This is really all i’ve been thinking (agreed).

One or the other of them (or both) might take a step. And they’re probably fine for 20-21. 4C doesn’t *need* upgrading.

But as of today a winger who is ‘better’ (IMO) than either Haas or Khaira will be in the PB, while one of Haas/Khaira is in the lineup. If an improvement turns out to be available in FA…

I almost wonder if even Sheahan could return. He’s not good but the role would be different this year.

Then I wonder if Holland knows Tippett wouldn’t be able to help himself (by playing Sheahan too high and too much).

Anyway, there are better players than Haas and Khaira still out there. I expect Holland’s been in contact and will continue to be. If they decide they want to play in Edmonton for $1M or so I could see additional moves going forward.


It’s all about Tippett’s boy Turris he takes the load off of Connor and Leon and makes the 4th line more effective which will keep the momentum going. We finally have a 3rd line after 15 years of pain. The Oilers are going to surprise a lot of the faithful as well as the resident trolls. Turris is the missing link.


Looking at that forward group and comparing it the opening night forward group from the last few years is heartening. The star power has been there for a while but the main difference now is very few, if any, players slotted above their pay grade or established (or reasonably projected) level of abilities. Kassian as 1RW and Kahun as a top 6 LW would be the question marks but there are no “two fourth lines” and, in fact, I can argue two third lines, maybe even 2.5 third lines.

The defence might have lost their #1 for the season and one could reasonably suggest that the defensive group is just as good if not better – that is a revelation!


Two 1st lines and two 3rd lines are what we’re looking at here. I’m not convinced of the defensive ability of this roster but they shouldn’t have a problem scoring. Eighties hockey FTW!


There may be some “non-first line players” in the top 6 – mainly Kassian and Kahuna and even Yamamoto (although its reasonable to project that he’s a legit top 6 forward) but, yes, both of the top two lines, given the elite talent on both of them, should be able to be over 55% goal share – two first lines.

The projected third line should be able to produce more goals than a standard third line – they may give up more goals than a standard third line as well – in any event they should be MUCH closer to 50% goal share than last year’s third line – maybe even over.

The fourth line, well, I think it may change nightly with so many options – I don’t know what to expect from it but it will have legit NHL players, some with up the lineup pedigree.

I agree with potential defensive issues and I anticipate coaching strategies in this regard will reign supreme.


While we’re talking compensation, one of the things that bothers me about professional team sports is that you get pay guarantee, which de-incentives players who are locked up long term to compete as much as they would if vying for a contract. I’m not saying these athletes for the most part aren’t giving it their all, but I’d prefer a more bonus-heavy allocation, and, like some others are saying, to have salaries based as percentages rather than raw totals.

Something I’ve always enjoyed about tennis is that your pay is based on winning matches. That sort of incentive structure, though not possible to completely replicate in team sports, I think would make these more fair and potentially more interesting.


It would certainly democratize the salary market to have a higher base salary and then pay players bonuses based on production. That would probably require more public analytics as well, which, from a fan’s perspective, would be really cool. They actually kind of do that now, but it’s based on past performance and reputation as opposed to being in real time.

One possible sticky wicket would come in the value of certain metrics over others. How do you properly assess defensive plays that don’t show up on the scoreboard? What about a goalie who has high GAA, low SV% but wins games? What about if they paid bonuses for games played — how do players who take time off for family reasons, locker room flu, or injury through no fault of their own get compensated/penalized?

I think the idea is intriguing, but perhaps it brings up more questions/issues than it solves.

Last edited 9 months ago by BornInAGretzkyJersey
Scungilli Slushy

A share of cap instead of guaranteed money would help with keeping players motivated.

The better the game the more the revenue. People will work harder if it means more pay. At least with highly motivated people.

Another thing that could be really cool is to allow the teams to reallocate the cap percentage (under defined terms).

It is a drag on the league as a whole that significantly underperforming players are very hard to get rid of in a capped situation.

Instead of teams being handcuffed, a mechanism could happen that would allow say Neal’s share to lowered and that pay used to sign Bear, etc.

Some might say a team could take opportunity away from someone (worse linemates, no PP) but I think teams would not do that if the player is getting the job done, it would cutting off your nose to spite your face.


Your idea about reallocating cap percentage is an interesting one. Could have some legs.

However, I don’t believe it’s at all clear when you say:

People will work harder if it means more pay. At least with highly motivated people.

At least, when I consider the above statement with the following video:
RSA Animate study on motivation

I do wonder how much the compensation paradox applies to players in contract years or who subsequently slump after signing large multi-year deals.

Anyways, not trying to nitpick, just find it interesting food for thought.

Last edited 9 months ago by BornInAGretzkyJersey

Excellent evidence based video. As the narrator explains, psychologists and sociologists have been producing these counterintuitive results for years and more recently, economists have been jumping on the bandwagon as well. Since the video was published the conclusions have been reinforced by other similar studies as well.

The mastery aspect is anecdotally self-evident to anyone who has played competitive sports. These players are pushing themselves to excel in large part due to a desire to master these skills and the psychological satisfaction that accrues therein.

The purpose aspect has been used by coaches in pro sports for years to create an us versus them mentality and create team specific slogans and rituals. Transcendent purpose is almost built into the DNA of every Canadian kid as they imagine having their name engraved on the mythologized Stanley Cup.

Great video.


I don’t understand why people aren’t talking about ads on jerseys. Will help recover at least a portion of the lost revenue.


Because they’re hideous.

The boards are enough of a distraction.


Revenue streams are addictive. Once you acquire one it is virtually impossible to give it up so any move in this direction is unlikely to go away.

If this is implemented be prepared to live with it forever.


Football teams have been doing it for forever. Jersey sales haven’t really been affected.

The NHL will never make the revenue that the NBA or NFL or soccer (internationally) makes.

Adverts honestly makes sense, we already have every 2nd arena named Rogers for crying out loud.

Cape Breton Oilers 4EVR

Out of the blue, Archibald has no secure spot in the 12 forward spots. This is a clear sign of progress in an area (forward depth) that was identified as needing to be addressed at the end of the play-in loss.

I’d still run the top 3 lines as:


Gives 97 the talented wingers he’s been lacking, and if JP can’t produce on that line he can go home in my opinion.


I will fix that for you.

Out of the blue, Kassian has no secure spot in the 12 forward spots (especially considering the useless “P.O.E.” he has been since he signed his new contract).


Is there a good chance that Holloway misses a month+ of college hockey & doesn’t play on Team Canada? How do they have this many bodies quarantining?


I’ve been contemplating that same scenario and hoping it doesn’t happen. Would be a blow to the young man’s national team aspirations and missed college development time to boot. Hope it doesn’t come to pass.


There have been some updates from Friedman and there are essentially two current proposals:

1) the deferral gets doubled for this coming year from 10% to 20% but escrow for this year is increased from 20% to 25% – future years (which include a mandated drop to escrow) stay the same.

2) the deferral gets increased to 26% but no change in escrow until years 4-6 of the CBA where it gets increased from 6% to the 8.5-9% range.

Of course, the players in general do not like any of this and, as a group, don’t want to change the deal they agreed to just a few months ago.

Personally, I understand where the owners are coming from. The Covid situation is in a worse place now than projected 4 months ago and season will need to start without fans in the stands (or a far lower amount of fans in the stands than projected). The owners of the league are going to be operating at a loss, end stop. The question is how much of a loss will they agree to operate under?

At the end of the day, the 50/50 split of Hockey Related Revenue is still in place and the players are going to be paying the owners back for years and years and years – they have already taken a far greater piece of the pie than owned and will be doing so again this year. The question is how long do they want to be in the hole to the owners – the cap won’t be going above $82.5M until the “Escrow Balance” is paid off – I’ve been speculating a good 4 years but its going to be longer at this rate.

Personally, I think salary deferral is something the players should be all over as oppossed to pro-rating. Pro-rating reduces their overall comp (although helps “pay the owners back quicker”) – with deferral, they still get all their money, they just have to wait for a portion of it.

An issue with the potential to increase escrow in years 4-6 is the contracts signed this off-season. We saw a huge change from “front-loading” to “back-loading” on the premise that escrow is mandated to go down year over year. Of course, it would still be much higher in year 1 (20%) than years 4-6 (9%) but higher in years 4-6 than originally agreed.

It’ll be fascinating to see how this gets settled – and it will get settled – they need to play this season in order to vest the last year of the existing deal with NBC and they need 60 games to satisfy NBC (speculated) – that’s why the push for early January – its about getting enough games and doing so before the Olympics.


I agree. The media description of this as owners vs. players is wrong. This is present players vs. future players.

This has been obvious for a long time. If players are surprised by this then their agents haven’t been doing their job.


Serevalli, on the show this morning, speculated that a good 85% of the players don’t understand how escrow works.

I put that on (a) the union executives not making an hour long seminar a requirement and (b) their agents.

It’s not THAT complicated.

The players can complain about increased escrow in the future, etc. but they are going to pay that money back to the owners eventually – the question is just how long its going to take.


Konovalov finally gets his net back today after Pasquale takes a couple loses and gives up 3 on 14 shots last game.

Well, Ilya is pulled as Locomotiv is down 4-1 after two and have only given up 17 shots – BLAH!

Harpers Hair

Guess it wasn’t HIS net after all.


Cool contribution – value add!


Wait a second, there are reports that Konovalov came on in relief of Pasquale – I’m not sure who started and who finished but both gave up 2 goals on 10 and 13 shots, respectively.


Konovalov started, unfortunately.



From Friedman’s column, it is amazing how financially clueless some of the players are.

The issue is pretty simple:

The players get 50% of the hockey related revenue. The owners are willing to calculate this over an extended period of years to minimize the Covid impact for the players, subject to one condition…i.e. the owners don’t have to operate this season at excessive cash flow negative conditions, or there will be no season.

Bettman to Fehr and the players. Tell us how you want to divie up your share of the money. Bettman has suggested a couple of options, but the players could come up with their own prefered option that meets the boundary conditions, and Bettman would probably accept it.

Aside: This would all be far simpler if players signed contracts where their compensation was denominated as a percentage of the cap, which would eliminate escrow.

Last edited 9 months ago by godot10

This would all be far simpler if players signed contracts where their compensation was denominated as a percentage of the cap, which would eliminate escrow.

I’v been a proponent of denominating salaries as %’s since the cap was first introduced but I don’t see how it would eliminate escrow. The cap is based upon an estimate of revenue & if the revenue is less than the estimate then the bi-weekly payments to the players based upon their % would still be subject to withholding until the full accounting took place at the end of the season would it not?


There is more than one factor that drives escrow. However, prior to the pandemic the issue was that the cap increased faster than revenues. By voting for the cap escalator more money is available for free agents who otherwise would have to sign for less money. So the cap escalator is, in essence, a transfer from present contracts to future contracts, while escrow is the means to keep the revenue split 50/50.

If contracts were denominated as a percentage of the cap then there would be no need to have a cap escalation clause to ensure fluidity in the market, and the need for escrow would diminish.

Now in this particular case there would still be some need for escrow since revenues have fallen more than escrow recapture. Present contracts were paid out last year at higher than 50% revenue even with escrow and other givebacks, and so an additional escrow is necessary in future season to pay the owners back. In effect, players with existing contracts have borrowed against future contracts.

The only thing the players and owners are discussing now is how much of the present contracts are going to be paid for by future contracts. The lower the money that is deferred now, the more future players are going to have to pay back.

And of course the players don’t understand any of this.


I understand all of this but as you say denominating salary as a % of cap doesn’t eliminate escrow – it just ameliorates it.

I like the % idea because it allows players certainty in the team’s pecking order. A player can sign for a % without having to factor in future revenue growth etc.

It is a cleaner system for a capped league. But as long as the cap is a projection and the split between players & league is a predetermined % there will always be escrow as far as I can see.

Harpers Hair

Gonna be a rough year for a lot of people


The average player salary is $3.5 million. Playing for 50-60% of that for one season is really rough. It is that or the Canadian Recovery Benefit. Tough decision.

Last edited 9 months ago by godot10

But not for NHL players. If they are feeling the pinch I am pretty certain they can get professional budgeting advice for a reasonable cost that can help them lower their annual expenses to fit their reduced income. Or they can just take their contracts to a bank and borrow against their future earnings.

Pretty sure they will be able to avoid food banks.


Karpat out of quarantine and set to play Saturday. I believe Jesse is suspended for his giant knees……..


Jesse: It’s not my fault being the biggest and strongest. I don’t even exercise!


Someone not a fan of The Princess Bride? lol

Darth Tu

Does Chiarelli play the role of Vizzini in this scenario? Leaving Jesse where he found him in Greeeeeenland?! (Finland).

We can probably expand the Princess Bride analogy a bit too….. Picture the poisoned cup scene as cups containing solid draft picks, or flawed roster players.

Now, a clever man would put the draft pick into his own goblet, because he would know that only a great fool would reach for what he was given. I’m not a great fool, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you. But you must have known I was not a great fool; you would have counted on it, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of me.”

“Never get into a trading situation with a Sicilian when draft picks are on the line!”. Spoiler. Vizzini died.


I mean, McDavid recovering from the PCL tear without surgery because he’s Wolverine is basically “I built up a tolerance to iocane powder” ha ha ha

Crazy Pedestrian

So in keeping with the Princess bride analogy, would the torture device that takes years off your life then be the decade of darkness?


Is Matt Tkachuk the rodent of unusual size?


This ^