2020-21 GAME 4: CANADIENS AT OILERS

by Lowetide

Any human my age learned a lot about team building and the importance of a prospect pipeline from the Montreal Canadiens. I rage about Sam Pollock daily, but the truth is he was lapping the expansion era field as other NHL general managers were trading him draft picks for fringe NHLers with humble futures.

Baseball’s Branch Rickey graduated his first rookie through the St. Louis Cardinals ‘farm system’ in 1931 (a man named Pepper Martin). The NHL ‘sponsorship’ system came along five years (or so) later, during a time of great turmoil for the league and the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association (CAHA). In 1936, the NHL and the CAHA agreed to a set of rules that protected everyone but the players. You can read about it here.

The NHL got player cost certainty and control (basically forever) and the CAHA was guaranteed to keep their players while they were “junior” assets. I won’t bore you with the details, but the Montreal Canadiens did well in the sponsorship era, and then in the early draft era courtesy Pollock, a major figure in league history. Pollock rarely let a player of value leave the Montreal organization for less than 500 cents on the dollar. In exchange, he received Stanleys by the number, awards by the score and each day that passed Habs fans loved him more and more and more.

THE ATHLETIC!

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 MONTH NO. 1

  • Oilers in October 2015: 0-4-0, goal differential -8
  • Oilers in October 2016: 3-1-0, goal differential +2
  • Oilers in October 2017: 1-3-0, goal differential -6
  • Oilers in October 2018: 2-2-0, goal differential -4
  • Oilers in October 2019: 4-0-0, goal differential +5
  • Oilers in Month 1 2021: 1-2-0, goal differential -3

Every picture tells a story. The Oilers could tear through the rest of January and leave this rather unattractive photo far behind. As it is, the numbers paint a difficult picture on this day. No panic. No blood in the streets. Rather, the acknowledgement that answers need to be found and right soon.

WHAT TO EXPECT IN MONTH NO. 1

  • At home to: Vancouver, Vancouver (Expected: 1-1-0) (Actual 1-1-0)
  • At home to: Montreal, Montreal (Expected: 1-1-0) (Actual 0-1-0)
  • 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: 1-2-0, 2 points after 3 games

A victory puts the team on track and sets them up reasonably well for what I believe will be the toughest string of games this month: Four against Toronto in the next six. Edmonton is 1-5-0 in its last six games against the Maple Leafs over three seasons.

PROSPECTS

In the last 10 seasons, the Canadiens have made the playoffs six times, getting to Round 3 once and Round 2 twice. By comparison, Edmonton has made the postseason only twice, advancing to the second round just once (in 2017).

Edmonton’s 2013+ graduating class includes two of the best players in the game (Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl) along with top-4 defenseman Darnell Nurse, No. 2 right winger Kailer Yamamoto and several prospects of some promise.

Montreal’s 2013+ graduating class includes outstanding defenseman Mikhail Sergaschev, solid NHL regulars Artturi Lehkonen, Victor Mete and a few other pieces.

The Habs are getting a big push from their department of youth this season and it’s one of the reasons we may be looking at a top team in the division. Alexander Romanov stepped right in with calm feet, a range of skills and a gigantic future, Nick Suzuki looks like a throwback Habs center who can play a 200-foot game and impact offensively (like Pierre Mondou) and Jesper Kotkaniemi appears to have matured some since we last left his story. That’s three youngsters who are either debuting or stepping up and taking on a bigger role on the team. It’s a very good sign.

The Oilers don’t have any rookies this year, but the list of young regulars includes McDavid, Draisaitl, Yamamoto, Jesse Puljujarvi, Ethan Bear and Caleb Jones. That’s 25 percent of a roster 25 and under, delivering at a high level.

Both are good teams, Montreal may be ahead this season. We’ll find out more on their story tonight.

AARON DELL

The hockey Gods may have given Ken Holland a mulligan here, but the Winnipeg Jets might feel differently. At 10 this morning we’ll find out where he lands, but Dell would represent a significant upgrade at the position for Edmonton. I wrote about Dell as an Oilers option here.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

At 10 this morning, we’ll find out about the Dell waiver situation and that will kick off the show, TSN1260. At 10:20 Joey Alfieri from TSN 690 will give us the situation from the Habs perspective and Jason Gregor from TSN1260’s Jason Gregor Show will have the Oilers side (and discuss Dell) at 11:05. We’ll have your comments and an early Oilers-Habs game preview during the show and talk about the exciting NFL weekend past and the one to come. 10-1260 text @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!

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UnjustEnrichment

Start with what has been proven to work: Nuge-Draisaitl-Yamamoto. Build everything else around that. Tell the defencemen who keep doing stupid things to keep it simple. They all should play more like Lagesson does. If McDavid is the best player in the world, he should be able to play with anyone (see Sidney Crosby).

OriginalPouzar

Breaking News: Ilya Konovalov with the start this morning (well, this evening in Russia)

McSorley33

Kris Russell on the PP.

Destruction of the hottest line in hockey.

It’s really happening.

edoil1

I just hope soon this team does not end up like the old LA kings with Dionne ect.,or Buffalo with the French connection,teams with scoring leaders ,but then not really good teams overall.Frustration abounds.

hunter1909

With respect, what else exactly has been happening to the Oilers since they drafted Taylor Hall?

dessert1111

Has the message been sent? Can we play our best players again next game?

I don’t think this needs to be overthought…put back together what we know works and take it from there.

OriginalPouzar

Nurse/Barrie
Russell/Bear
(Koekkoek or) Lagesson/Bouchard

Nygard/McDavid/Puljujarvi
Nuge/Drai/Yamamoto
Kahun/Turris/Kassian
Ennis/Shore/Archie

Maybe switch Kahun and Nygard

I don’t want to take Koekkoek or Lagesson out but Nurse isn’t coming out and Russell wasn’t terrible tonight….

Last edited 9 months ago by OriginalPouzar
Harpers Hair

If Bouchard was going to make it, tonight was the night.

He didn’t.

Sierra

Certainly makes one wonder.

jp

Well, I think it’s fair to say the Koekkoek, Russell, Lagesson part of this game went better than expected..

hags9k

Koskinen kept it respectable. Should have been worse. They have no spark as LT put it. These guys better find it quick.

Half the team should leave a toonie in the lobby for public skating.

edoil1

I think the most frustrating part was no urgency on the PP,when it is more then obvious the team needed a lift especially against this stifling team.

jp

I’d guess they were gripping their sticks a little too tight rather than the opposite. They sure as hell didn’t execute though, whatever the reason.

Sierra

4 games in 6 nights

short training camp and no preseason

new players working in.

JOFA

More excuses

Harpers Hair

All four games at home…no travel.

They have to travel to Toronto tomorrow while the Leafs are resting (licking their chops).

Koskinen plays his 5th game in 8 nights.

What could go wrong?

jp

Ladies and gentlemen:

The Antagonist

Munny

So what y’all are saying is… is it wasn’t Price.

#becauseOilers

DevilsLettuce

Well, what’s the draft shaping up like?

Munny

Rusty Rockets.

SK Oiler Fan

Bottom 6 goal!
Lol, jack being quite optimistic

godot10

The homerism is excessive with Michaels.

Munny

I didn’t realize this earlier but TSN2 has a stream out there tonight.

And Shore gets his first as i’m listening to the new guys…

Gerta Rauss

It was blacked out in BC- I had to scroll into the PPV/CenterIce channels to find a working channel-they’re still running the early season free previews.

I’ll have to buck up shortly I’m afraid if I want to watch on the big TV

Shaw wants $189 for the remaining 52 games, some of which are free to view with/without purchasing the CenterIce package

I’ll probably just find a free stream and watch on the tablet for the blacked out games

Harpers Hair

Sportsnet Now+ streaming package. $27/month…no blackouts.

jp

My first year without center ice but the free streams I’ve been getting higher quality than I’m used to.

I cannot, however, vouch for the on ice product the Oilers will deliver.

jp

Not that it means anything, but beautiful first goal by Shore!

OriginalPouzar

Do we get to count that as a bottom-six or 4th line goal? No, damn.

Sierra

Great shot

Oilpower

Whats Edmonton record with klefbom out? Maybe we are missing him more then we realized.

Ice Sage

Absolutely. Poised, reliable, attuned to the PP rhythms. Big loss.

Munny

And you know what, Drai was damn lucky that ill-advised backhand into the middle of the ice the powerplay before didn’t go for a breakaway the other way.

StixMalone

Tippett at post presser will bullshit everybody and say “I thought we did a lot of things right tonight”…..

OriginalPouzar

Tip has been fairly honest in the post-games this year – “naming names” and everything.

jp

Yeah, was thinking we’ll hear in tonight’s presser who’s sitting on Wednesday.

Minister D-

Some of the worst hockey I’ve ever seen, and that’s saying something.

thelongdark

every excuse that will be made for this team has been made ad nauseum for the last decade. not good enough. again.

hunter1909

Make that twenty years.

Oilers are the overwhelming masters of the losing universe.

That Hawks debacle(not even playoffs, but play-ins) showed me all there is to see and sadly, and since I haven’t been particularly bullish anymore since Nurse’s spaced out presser because he basically explained in one way or another that the team doesn’t particularly care whether it wins or loses.

Messier would be turning in his grave, if he was dead.

PokeCheck

On the bright side, no one here dropped hundreds to attend this game in person.

StixMalone

Ladies and gentlemen your 2021 last place Edmonton Oilers !!!!!!!!

Bigton

There’s no reason Leon should see the ice for the rest of the game

SK Oiler Fan

Why put pp1 back out?

Ice Sage

Utter humiliation.

leadfarmer

What is wrong with these guys.
start putting in Bouchard and the rookies

Harpers Hair

They aren’t very good?

OilLeak

people hate the truth

Sierra

Lol, yup 👍

DevilsLettuce

Bench em all, play the taxi squad.

OriginalPouzar

Normally its unfair when a forward gets a “minus” for a SH goal against – Drai was full value for the dash.

thelongdark

this team is a joke

Sierra

Lol.

another wayward pass. Brutal

Munny

Huge opportunity

Munny

Obviously my feed is behind.

Good grief. That pretty much summarizes the entire double-header.

A shortie a frickin game.

jp

Fitting that the shorty was immediate 🙂

fishman

WOW!

StixMalone

Told ya

Material Elvis

Night fellas!

StixMalone

Decline it

Sierra

They should have

SK Oiler Fan

Fk kas put that on net! So passive

UnjustEnrichment

I like Lagesson out there. He is not flashy but he is reliable and consistent. He doesn’t do stupid things. He should stay in the line-up.

DevilsLettuce

He’s better at being Larsson then Larsson.

Munny

Doesn’t someone normally need to be punched after that whistle?

Last edited 9 months ago by Munny
StixMalone

Stubborn coach vs2.0

SK Oiler Fan

Should hit the 35SA mark again tonight. Have to keep that streak going

leadfarmer

Can we go to Nuge Drai Yamo
or are we gonna keep pretending that Mcdavid and Nuge work

godot10

#Tipsy would have to accept the blame for losing to Chicago then, something he has refused to do. He would have to admit to making a mistake. That it was primarily his fault. #armchairpsychoanalysis

Munny

The importance of killing this can’t be over-emphasized.

We’re still trying to win, right?

OriginalPouzar

Drai has those games every once in a while where he just doesn’t have it and his passing is just off – he usually doubles down in those games and tries higher and higher risk passes.

Tonight is one of those nights but it may be the worst passing performance I’ve ever seen from Drai – I’m not concerned or anything (he had these games last year as well) – just noting.

McDavid also putting in a 3rd pedestrian performance in 4 games (no, i didn’t think he was as good as most did in game 1).

I am far from blaming these two for what’s going on – the team, in so many areas, is sub-par right now but the two superstars are struggling along with the team (McDavid almost all year).

Sierra

Ya, Drai hasn’t been good tonight.

hunter1909

“Sure we can win with the back up goalie. We can rest Price, no problem” Montreal management

hunter1909

This team: Gutless, heartless, clueless, brainless…

Munny

…and shoeless, in the middle of a frickin Death March.

Last edited 9 months ago by Munny
leadfarmer

maybe time for Bear and yammer on pp1

Reja

Bouchard what’s it going to take for him to get a chance.

Munny

Jesus Drai