by Lowetide

I can still remember the feeling. Hockey Night in Canada. The best games, the memorable ones, involved the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens. The Habs were so strong in those years, rookies would push 10 at a time but only one or two of the best would make it. Then, when the Montrealers needed something, they could trade Mickey Redmond (a fantastic young scoring winger), Guy Charron (a center who would play for years) and Bill Collins (utility forward who could score goals in bunches in the right role) for big Frank Mahovlich, Hall of Famer. As a Bruins fan, it was beyond galling.

So, when 1981 spring arrived, and the Oilers took on Montreal in the opening round of the playoffs, I was ready for disappointment. Game 1 was a fantastic game for Oilers fans, and even for Oilers fans who also loved the Bruins. Soon after, Edmonton would push to win the Stanley Cup five times, emerging as the bullies on the block for close to a decade.

Tonight, both teams arrive at the 2020-21 season with significant expectations. Stanley is a distant bell in both hockey cities, only because he hasn’t come to visit so far this century. Montreal was an annual hurdle in my youth and they are again. The Habs are in town. We don’t know the superior team this morning, but we’ll get more information tonight. The Canadian division has another four pointer tonight.


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.


  • Oilers in October 20150-3-0, goal differential -6
  • Oilers in October 2016: 2-1-0, goal differential +1
  • Oilers in October 2017: 1-2-0, goal differential -1
  • Oilers in October 2018: 1-2-0, goal differential -5
  • Oilers in October 2019: 3-0-0, goal differential +5
  • Oilers in Month 1 2021: 1-1-0, goal differential +1

A win tonight gets the current team on track with the 2016-17 playoff team, last year’s club was quick out of the starting gate in October 2019. I think this is a playoff team, but the reason I held back the balance photo was goaltending and that will be a major theme for the rest of January.


  • At home to: Vancouver, Vancouver (Expected: 1-1-0) (Actual 1-1-0)
  • At home to: Montreal, Montreal (Expected: 1-1-0)
  • On the road to: Toronto, Toronto, Winnipeg, Winnipeg (Expected 1-2-1)
  • At home to: Toronto, Toronto, Ottawa (Expected 2-1-0)
  • Overall expected result: 5-5-1, 11 points in 11 games
  • Current results: 1-1-0, 2 points after 2 games


  • RNH [2, 2-1-3]—Connor McDavid [2, 3-1-4]—Zack Kassian [2, 0-1-1]
  • Dominik Kahun [2, 0-1-1]—Leon Draisaitl [2, 0-5-5]—Kailer Yamamoto [2, 1-2-3]
  • Josh Archibald [2, 0-0-0]—Kyle Turris [2, 0-0-0]—Jesse Puljujarvi [2, 0-0-0]
  • Tyler Ennis [1, 0-0-0]—Jujhar Khaira [2, 0-0-0]—Alex Chiasson [2, 0-0-0]
  • Darnell Nurse [2, 1-0-1]—Ethan Bear [2, 0-1-1]
  • Caleb Jones [2, 0-1-1]—Adam Larsson [2, 1-0-1]
  • Slater Koekkoek [2, 0-0-0]—Tyson Barrie [2, 0-1-1]
  • Mikko Koskinen [2, 3.55 .907]

I think Khaira is the closest to drawing out (Devin Shore looked good in the Thursday game) but that may wait for Gaetan Haas’ healthy return. Caleb Jones got banged up in Game 2, it’s possible someone draws in.


I had planned on a brief item in regard to replacing Anton Forsberg as the extra goalie in the system, so that’s why Troy Grosenick is mentioned here. He has a solid AHL resume, his last four seasons have featured save percentages of .926, .905, .919 and .920. He would be a good fit in Bakersfield, in front of Stuart Skinner, Dylan Wells and the recently recalled Olivier Rodrigue.


Assuming the Canadian teams aren’t willing to help Edmonton (why would they without a massive overpay?), I’ll list the following possibilities:

  • Arizona Coyotes. Adin Hill is under $1 million, uncertain if there’s a willingness to trade him. Coyotes have two expensive veterans (Darcy Kuemper, Antti Raanta) but that’s complicated trade to make in-season.
  • Buffalo Sabres. Dustin Tokarski hasn’t been in the NHL since 2016-17, but he’s just 31 and has a three-year AHL run of SP’s (.915, .914 and .924). Long shot, no idea if he could help more than Grosenick.

Stay tuned at 10 this morning, perhaps we’ll see a waiver claim. Beyond that, depending on Smith’s situation, expect Holland to make a deal soon for that goaltender we’ve discussed since the Smith signing. I never believed Koskinen-Smith would be enough.


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Of note, Jesse played 3:24 with McDavid last night and the shots of 5-2 meet the eye test. Yes, they were 0-1 in HDSC and goals which was due to a breakdown in the defence after an impressive offensive zone pressure shift.

I wonder if coach will go to this to start next game or back to Jesse with Turris – which isn’t working as well as anticipated, early.


Well, the sun is coming up this morning…..actually, the sun isn’t up…….


That was a tough game to watch.

It felt like watching us play Chicago from their early cup winning years where we were just completely outmatched. Montreal looks like a team from a different league. They looked so fast even when players who aren’t fast like Toffoli were on the ice.

Josh Anderson looks like Rick Nash in his prime right now.

Tippett is stubborn. Archibald on the top line Chiasson still playing are baffling decisions. Never mind Archi playing on the third line… Chiasson is rocking a 20% Fenwick through three games.

Turris is also struggling. No offense and getting fed. Zero points and -4 in 3 games.

Our bottom two lines are getting fed as usual.

The elephant in the room is the blue line. I haven’t liked Nurse’s game at all since the play in round and I’m not typically a Nurse fan to begin with. The top pairing isn’t good enough. Jones is struggling and Larsson isn’t very good lately.

Then there’s the goaltending situation…

While I am not the purveyor of hope at this blog, we’re not this bad.

Step one. Go back to the fucking DRY line, Tippett.

Scungilli Slushy

Agreed on watching. I can stand losing especially if a rookie makes a mistake in a well contested game.

The two losses weren’t that. Getting fed and making other half assed teams look like 80’s Oilers is too depressing for me after years of steaming piles and the nearly guaranteed befouling of my yearly optimism for the team.

Last year being a an outlier, perhaps this one turns around.

There seems to be something the players aren’t getting about what the ask is. I thought Tipp wanted to control middle ice from his last year’s statement or a players comment about what he wants, it’s not happening, at least yet.


Yes, Turris is being fed out there. Simply not good enough.

Yes, bottom 2 lines aren’t helping out.

Yes, the D grouping is not good enough.

Which is the real team, that of games 1 & 3 or that of game 2? Probably somewhere in the middle.

Last edited 1 month ago by Sierra
Harpers Hair

So, I bet 6 units on tonight’s games.

Hit on all 6…oh my!

London Jon

I’m sure all the people on this blog that you relentlessly troll are over the moon for you.

You could use some of your very exciting winnings to pay the debts you welched on. Or to take up a new time consuming hobby that would stop you from posting here

Harpers Hair

I’m an accomplished multi-tasker.


Stopped watching after the PP to start the second period. First time I’ve done that in years, but it’s simply not fun watching the team you love, knowing they simply don’t have a chance to win. So sad and frustrating.

SK Oiler Fan

So 35 plus shots each game thus far? The D isn’t close to good enough if your G is just average. Have to improve in at least one of those areas otherwise it’s another wasted 97 year

Last edited 1 month ago by SK Oiler Fan
Harpers Hair

Andreas Athanasiou…2G in 2 GP for LA.

Harpers Hair

Finding the right fit is often under rated.


Flames going on the PP. A goal here would push the threat of a three point game from possible to unlikely.

Last edited 1 month ago by Munny



I was taught to think like men who needed a 100% success rate.
Less than 100% success is bad. space shuttle explosion!

Bio- Evolution Psychology solutions have 95% success rates.
their are groups in any Feild study that work is on the level of flat earth science.
Social Psych 10 &15% success rate is flat earth Psychology!

My final 4 roster theory has the kind of success that my father taught me. The only outlier teams are one that benefit from the top teams being eliminated by poor ref calls, or extensive opposition injuries. ( CAR 06)

your current Edmonton Oilers brought to you by flat earth Hockey Analytics.

Def we don’t need no sticking defence.

2 GA is were you want to be. flat earthers!

Go Oilers!


Instead of stats tomorrow, LT can just show pictures of Dieppe or The Siege of Stalingrad—that oughta tell the story right.

Of course, that’s only if Disney hasn’t copyrighted WWII yet…

Last edited 1 month ago by Munny

Flames leading 2-0, the game is about halfway through the 3rd… not exactly sure (sue me, the game is boring). Canucks have come on a bit in the 3rd though. There’s going to be narratives if the Flames blow this now.

Harpers Hair

LT with a paen to Jeff Petry (and Woodguy shits on Shea Weber).



I think you mean paean.

Are you sure you taught English?

Because that’s not a paean to Petry; LT only briefly refers to his abilities and hardly in a celebratory manner.

That’s a plea for sanity in the organization. That’s the realization that the Oilers War Room is right out of Dr. Strangelove. If it’s paean to anything it is to the Gords of Logic and Mathematics.

Last edited 1 month ago by Munny
Harpers Hair

Yes, I taught English but I did not teach Auto Correct.

LT always loved Petry and he was right all along.


No… he LOVED Pouliot. Don’t diminish that.

He only really liked Petry.

Last edited 1 month ago by Munny
Harpers Hair

We’re all allowed an illicit peccadillo from time to time 🙂


1-0 Flames after one. PP marker from Monahan. Flames have been the more interested team thus far.


If this team can’t get up to play 2 games in a row they better get the team doctor to prescribe Viagra. You will be outside the playoffs with lacklustre efforts like this. This is the season this year. Team better get used to it quick….


OILERS forwards to score thru 3 games.


Ok then.




Oilers d-men to score through three games:



The Oilers are amongst the worst teams in the NHL since they broke up the Draisaitl line.

Tippett is outsmarting himself.


They lose tonight no matter what the lines are.


Wish someone would tell Hrudey to hang some blankets on his walls. Kill the echo.

Material Elvis

Larsson goes for a hit out of position and the opposition scores.
Nurse goes for a hit out of position and the opposition scores.
Jones pinches and is caught out of position and the opposition scores.

I’m beginning to see a pattern. More observation required.

Scungilli Slushy

It’s in the water

Actually I have no room for big hats and no cattle.

Start playing like a good team with a structure

learn how to support the puck

Really, how hard is it, I don’t make that kind of coin

I’m motivated being a chump


Chop wood! Carry water!


If BTO was making an album about the Edmonton Oilers they would name it”Very Fragile”.


If Led Zeppelin was making an album about the Edmonton Oilers they would name it “V.”


Beaten badly. Not a lot of positives out there tonight, much like game 1.


OP should be able to come up with something😉


Barrie has looked better and more dynamic each game.

Mikko had a strong 3rd period which should be good for his confidence.

The Nuge/McDavid/Jesse line had back to back offensive zone pressure shifts culminating in a goal.

Koekkoek looks legit and the coaches have the option of inserting Russell for a struggling Jones.

Harpers Hair

An .863 save percentage won’t give anyone confidence including the player, team or coach.

He was very lucky he didn’t give up 7-8 goals.


Does Demko’s 5.01/.891 exude any confidence?

Mikko was very good in the 3rd, including his rebound control, vis-a-vis the first two periods – I’m sure he knows it and I’m sure the players know it.

Harpers Hair

You know .891 is better than .863, right?


Well done….

And I agree. Barrie seems to be getting his sea leg here.

Quite frankly, Slater has been good to me.

Very pleasant surprise.

Material Elvis

Nygard has no confidence. He’s passed the puck away at every opportunity tonight.


Actually Nygard has been good tonight. Him and Shore have been a big improvement on the 4th line.
Also liked Ennis on the 3rd line. Hated the JP move up with McDavid. Waaaay to soon for that, no matter how out of place Archibald looked. Chiasson would have been a better option.


Agree, with your entire post.

Material Elvis

He had some moments but deferred too many times.


What about the fact that the line had two straight great offensive possession zone shifts that led to a goal?

Chiasson has been one of the most ineffective Oilers this season.

Last edited 1 month ago by OriginalPouzar

What line are you talking about?
If you think JP improved the play of the McDavid line, you weren’t really watching, were you?


Agreed, and let’s be cognizant of score effect when looking at 3rd period positives.


All I know is I saw two consecutive shift of the Nuge/McDavid/Puljujarvi line that were entirely offensive zone possession shifts and the second culminated in the Oilers’ lone goal.

I can’t prove cause and effect but just can provide the above fact.

I acknowledge that the first of those two shifts culminated in a goal against but culpability was entirely on a bad pinch by Caleb Jones at the end of a prolonged offensive zone shift.


All you know.
Is very little.
Nuge and JP weren’t even on the ice, let alone involved, for the Oilers goal.
If you tape the games, go back and watch the shifts JP had with McDavid. Then report back to me on how many positive things you saw from JP. And I know it’s hard, but try not to reach too much.
We’re all pulling for JP. But you can’t force it, no matter how much you want him to succeed.


We’re all pulling for JP. But you can’t force it, no matter how much you want him to succeed.

Bingo bango.


I’m not forcing anything, that goal culminated at the end of a very good o-zone shift by the trio – Jesse and Nuge changed for Shore and Archie just before the goal.

I’m not forcing anything – I was not in favour of moving Jesse up there with Kass out this game but I can acknowledge the couple shifts that he was up there for and the play in the offensive zone during those shifts.


It’s like talking to a wall.
Once again, tell me what positive play you saw JP make on that line?
The play that resulted in a goal was a dump in, with JP and Nuge changing before Edmonton even touched the puck. But hey, let’s give JP credit for the goal. Pure narrative building.
I’ve said this before but I’ll say it again. I agree with most of your takes on roster building and contracts. But I often disagree with your evaluation of hockey plays and players.
The Habs 5th goal is a great example of this. You blame Jones for pinching. And yet Jones had a high forward back in JP, and a d partner who should have been covering the middle of the ice. The big question on that goal is where was Bear. I imagine that is what the coaches were asking Ethan, and I’m guessing that’s why you never saw Bear much afterwards.


Has Bear been out there lately?

Noticed Jones at RD even.

Statement? Injury? I’m not paying attention?


Gallagher’s cross-check to the back after the play doesn’t even it up?

On a bright note: 3 goals from d-men so far this season in 3 games.

Material Elvis

A revenge cross check is fine. The refs are calling it by the book. /s

Ice Sage

Alright! Cue the comeb….


That was a great battle and pass by McDavid and a real nice pass from Barrie as well.

Nuge/McDavid/Jesse get rid of that dash 1 that Jones gave them.

Two shifts for that line – all offensive zone (but for that Jones pinch and breakaway goal against).


Actually it was McDavid, Nygard and Archibald on for the goal.


First goal for Koekkoek, that’s cool.

Barrie is doing stuff now.


He’s been showing more dynamic play game over game for three now. Settling in I think.



Material Elvis

Finally. A Cookoo goal!


A second Nuge/McDavid/Jesse shift.

They score – Koekkoek.


Let him vent. It’s better than taking it out on the dog😉

Gerta Rauss

You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious

-Ben Kenobi


Now why would you not put him in there?




They had a great offensive zone shift and a bad pinch by Jones gives them a dash 1 for their efforts.

Rusty will probably be in for Jones next game.

Material Elvis

Jones taking a page from Nurse’s book of defense.






Skinner should’ve come in. No pressure because the game is over. Maybe it would give the team a kick in the ass….


My assumption is the message from Tip is to win the 3rd period and get their game in order – help get ready for Monday.

Mikko has been VERY good in the first 8 minutes of the 3rd – probably good for his confidance.


I am glad that Tip is not overplaying 29/97 in this game and I am glad that Archie is not on the top line any longer.

I understand not playing Skinner in the third – the “giving up” message to the team could be just as strong as any other message and I anticipate that message from Tip is to get their shit together and win the 3rd period and get their game back.


That…or give Koskinen a rest


I doubt not playing one period of hockey is going to make a difference to his fatigue levels.


He’ll be playing a lot of hockey. He needs all the rest he can get. Are you familiar with playing the position?


Playing your backup goaltender in a blowout in a clear #1/#2 situation in the 3rd period is NOT a “giving up” message.

Material Elvis

Barrie having a good third period. Montreal is coasting to the finish line.


Josh Archibald with some comedic relief……


3rd period is TC that never happened.


So the two most maligned forwards are out of the lineup and the team gets blown out….. Khaira maligned for existing in the lineup and Kassian maligned mostly for his position in the lineup.


Barrie showing more offensive flair by the game – getting comfortable – positive.

Mikko with better rebound control as the game goes on – positive.


You can’t seriously be suggesting that the reason for the stinker is missing JJ and Kass???


Facts are facts…..

Of course not.


I want to hear what Godot thinks


Would have been a good time to give the Skinner kid some NHL action….

Last edited 1 month ago by McSorley33

No Skinner is another poor Tip decision.


There’s enough time to come back. It’s not surprising.

Ice Sage

He might not be ‘ready’


Exactly. For eg, how many practices has he had with the team?

Last edited 1 month ago by Munny

They are not sharp.

Do you have a better 1 word descriptor?


Jimmy Howard turned down Holland per Friedman between periods.

Last edited 1 month ago by Munny



Friedman confirms that Holland did reach out to Jimmy Howard (who isn’t looking to sign).


Had a bad feeling for this game when 97 missed the breakaway.


Don’t worry folks. Grosenick is on the way.


Bring on Gooseneck!!


How come Tippett hasn’t been fined yet for his mask? Come on NHL this is a joke.


There is no way any puck is ever getting past Price tonight. The shutout is an absolute lock after that PP puck did not go in.

Last edited 1 month ago by Munny

They only need 5


It’s been awhile so I wanted to see if the old spell mojo still works.

Barely managed to stir itself awake, but eventually got there.