Two Weeks from Everywhere!

by Lowetide

There are times you must give the other man his due. The Montreal Canadiens flew into town, outcoached, outplayed and outsmarted the Oilers on Saturday and then again last night. During the series, at five on five, Edmonton’s shot share when Connor McDavid was on the ice was just 15-11. Leon Draisaitl? 12-11. That’s some very good deployment and execution by the Habs.

When Kyle Turris was on the ice? A 7-20 shot share during the series. Devin Shore? 3-8.

Edmonton his the road with a 1-3-0 record and in last place. The fans are in ill humour, the coach is looking for answers and so far nothing rhymes. In each season there are trials, but you can hardly blame Oilers fans for allowing the gales of November remembered to creep into the current psyche.

One thing is certain: There is no immediate help coming via trade. Any incoming player is two weeks away due to Covid. In the words of the brilliant Ulysses Everett McGill: “Well, ain’t this place a geographical oddity. Two weeks from everywhere!”


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 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: 1-3-0, goal differential -5

This is a poor start, but we cannot yet use adjectives like dreadful, shameful, despicable or gruesome. There are several miles before I’ll start writing about the Donner Party, Nadir’s Raiders (includes a Bonnie Raitt song) or the the time Daryl Katz used the word rebuild in January 2010. Hell, I probably won’t do a draft post until May!


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

When your team doesn’t have a soft spot in the schedule, chances are your team is the soft spot in the schedule. I have the Oilers going 3-3-1 from here, meaning the end of January record would be 4-6-1, nine points in 11 games. If the team slumps on the road this week, there’s a chance we’ll be having ‘the talk’ in time for Valentines.


  • Nuge-McDavid-Kassian played 8:58, 4-5 shots, 0-0 goals and 0-0 HDSC. 5-8 Corsi five on five all numbers Natural Stat Trick. Give the Habs credit, this trio was barely noticed. The Danault line was especially effective. McDavid was physical and made a fine defensive play early by hauling ass into the offensive zone and getting in the way of a promising passing sequence. He is growing his game, even in a tough series. Nuge looked tentative with the puck, I didn’t see Kassian beyond a solid hit on Josh Anderson.
  • Kahun-Draisaitl-Yamamoto played 6:25, 3-2 shots, no goals, 0-1 HDSC. Kahun had one good look at five, Draisaitl drew a penalty but looked off a little in his passing. Yamamoto, who has played very well in the season’s early days, was also quiet.
  • Nygard-Turris-Puljujarvi played 6:16, 3-6 shots, no goals, 2-2, 5-9 Corsi. I actually liked this line, especially the wingers. Jesse makes a lot of plays, some of them don’t work, but man he was around the play a lot and that’s a good sign. He had two HDSC’s on the evening at five on five, leading the team. Nygard drew a penalty and was strong on the forecheck. Turris is not moving the needle as No. 3 center at this time.
  • Archibald-Shore-Chiasson played 4:37, 1-4 shots, 0-1 goals and 1-0 HDSC. I don’t know, suspect Neal or Nygard lands on LW, but Shore scored a goal and that counts for something. Chiasson is really struggling, both at five on five and on the power play.

I think we’ll see some real shuffling for the road trip. Might see 97-29 together and Nuge back at center. Need to freshen. As for McDavid’s wingers, maybe Kahun and Puljujarvi get a look.


  • Nurse-Koekkoek played 11:25, 5-9 shots, 0-1 goals, 2-2 HDSC and 8-12 Corsi. Nurse took a severe shot in the back from Brendan Gallagher. The GA was the Romanov’s first career goal, I think Archibald screened the goalie, Nurse was also in photo. The pairing worked well together to my eye.
  • Russell-Barrie played 12:16, 1-6 shots, 0-1 HDSC. This was not a successful pairing. Barrie isn’t yet comfortable with the power play and that’s having an impact, Tippett may have to tweak in that area. Russell calmed the waters by defending, suspect he’ll play a lot on the road trip.
  • Lagesson-Larsson played 8:03, 2-3 shots, 1-1 HDSC and 7-5 Corsi. I liked this duo, although outlet passing wasn’t on the menu. Lagesson remains a young man in need of opportunity, I wonder if he gets a chance with Bear or Barrie in the coming days.
  • Mikko Koskinen stopped 31 of 34, .912. He played well enough for Edmonton to have a chance on a night when the skaters seemed to lose interest in the first act of the play. People are mad at him for the first goal, and I blamed him too, but if you look at the replay (the broadcast didn’t give us a long look for some reason) the big goaltender was blocked out for sure.

Tippett post-game talked about competitive defending that needed to increase, and he felt the group last night delivered. He said the next step was to increase offense, one assumes that will include inserting Bear, Jones or both on the road.

I expect many of you reading this are still upset about last night’s game, but for me the Oilers are a team in need of a tweak or wrinkle. Since the Chicago series, and even in the Vancouver game to start the year, teams have found a way to suppress McDavid’s wheels. He rarely roars through the neutral zone, and 97 created a lot of offense from chaos.

At the same time, the Draisaitl line has sputtered through the early days of this season as well. After a strong Kahun-Draisaitl verbal to start the season, we saw crickets against the Habs.

What’s the answer? Well, a couple of times last night big Jesse Puljujarvi carried the puck with authority through the neutral zone and gained entry in the Montreal end. Perhaps he could lend a hand to one of the top lines. Joakim Nygard used his speed on the forecheck to turn over pucks and draw a penalty.

Dave Tippett is looking for answers. He knows a lot more about this team than we do. If you’re an Oilers fan, I think the interesting part of the week ahead is how Tippett and his troops find a way to impose their will on Toronto and Ottawa.

It seems the defensive work is coming into view for the coach. Now it’s time to work on adding some offense without giving up too much the other way.


A big morning on the Lowdown and we want to hear from you. TSN1260, starting at 10, former NHLer Jason Strudwick will join us at 10:20 to break down last night’s game and talk about what Dave Tippett can do in order to get this team headed in a better direction. Josh Lewenberg from TSN will join us at 11 to talk about the Raptors current winning streak and what has changed. Perhaps there’s an idea in there for the Oilers. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!


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New Improved Darkness

This morning as I rock out to the final fade of Stealy Dander, I thought I’d offer up this fascinating MEGA culpa from the Fourth Estate:

<a href=”″>The Myth of Mike Schmidt’s 500-foot Home Run</a> — 11 May 2020

Phil had mentioned McKinney’s name too. “He certainly hit the roof of the Grover Center. I’m almost positive,” he said. But what about Schmidt’s home run? “I’m wondering if McKinney makes it less noteworthy.” And then there was another guy, Joe said. Mike Murphy. An All-American first baseman. Joe said he knocked a home run off of Bird Ice Arena, which was way out beyond center field and much farther away than Grover Center.

My heart, once thumping, began to sink.

“Here’s the deal,” Joe said, signaling more bad news ahead.

Indeed. Our silver lining was birthed during the cessation of the Seige of Malta, 20 November 1942. Dollars to donuts, gallstorms to gallstones.

I’m also harking back to a certain saxophonic silo artist who once debuted on Arsenio Hall in a vainglorious effort to Make Arkansas Groovy Almost.

Last edited 1 month ago by New Improved Darkness

…And here I thought our silver lining was birthed when Princip’s espresso break ended with his black hand firing a Belgian revolver on a Sarajevo side street.

And you leave Chevy Chase out of this.. they named one of the nicer areas of the Swamp after him.


All kidding aside, great to read you again NID.

Harpers Hair

Andreas Athanasiou with his 3rd goal in 3 games.


Why didn’t the Canucks sign him?


3 players, I like to see improve play that can help our cause. 1st payer that has to do this is Turris. He doesn’t look ready for the season period. 2nd player has to be Kassian. We have all seen the good Zack. Unfortunately, he hasn’t brought that out in a while. Caleb has looked poor out there. See him too often trying the high-risk play and coming out the wrong end. Adding Gaetan Speed would help the bottom 6


You mentioned two players that were up there for “keys to the season”:

1) Jones being able to handle most of Klefbom’s 5 on 5 minutes.

2) Turris helping to create a third line that, while it may still leak goals against, will score materially more goals than last season.

So far neither of these players have lived up to the “expectation” (i.e. hope).

Its early and they are both new to their roles (and Turris to the team) – they both still may but there is a very reasonable chance that expectations were a little too high.

Harpers Hair


What’s Bobby Ryan Up To?
Ah, nothing, just makin’ Red Wings history.

He becomes the first player in franchise history to score 4 goals in his first 3 games with Detroit. #LGRWcomment image

Scungilli Slushy

McDavid isn’t the best player in the league/world.

He’s the best talent.

There is a difference. He may become both, but he isn’t yet because he remains one dimensional.

He’s trying to change but in typical Oiler fashion apparently hitting was what he was missing.

Absolutley ridiculous. He needs to backcheck and steal pucks back and use his on ice options to turn the attack around, instead of a kamikaze mission at the other net.

Connor also needs wingers that can cycle and find open lanes. He should not be the only one trying to keep possession. The D need to seal the line and put the puck back to possession deep, the wingers need to battle and battle until a play develops, or at least mess up the Opp breakout.

Like the other strong teams.

Harpers Hair

With his speed and stick skills he should be the best back checker in the league.

Scungilli Slushy

For sure


He may become both, but he isn’t yet because he remains one dimensional

You know what’s really interesting? (and I didn’t notice this until looking just now).

Turns out McDavid leads all Oiler forwards in shot against rates this year (in the good direction). That’s in stark contrast to recent seasons.

20-21 27.8 (SA/60 at 5v5)
19-20 34.7 (313 of 334 NHL forwards >500min)
18-19 34.0 (323 of 365 NHL forwards >500min)
17-18 33.0 (311 of 367 NHL forwards >500min)
16-17 28.4
15-16 29.9

He’s also just a hair behind Draisaitl in terms of shots for rates (43.7). Put those together and the Oilers have had 61% of the shots when McDavid’s been on the ice this year.

Sooo, seems he leads the team in corsi%, fenwick%, shot%, xGF% and HDSC%. He’s 4th in GF% (behind the Draisaitl line), but that still means 4GF-3GA in 5v5 goals through 4 games. That’s a great rate (57%) if it holds, and would mean he’d end the season at +14 (at 5v5) in 56 games.

Anyway, it’s way too early to be doing this stuff, but there are signs that McDavid may actually be back to being the best player in the world (in his best seasons his lines were outshooting AND outscoring, both of which eroded in the last 2-3 years).

The season is early, give it time.


At the same time, he’s only played anywhere near elite status for one out of four games…..


Small sample size and all, but I can’t help but wonder how those numbers look if Game 2 is removed.


What would you think of this lineup?

Nygard / McDavid / Puljujarvi
Kahun / Draisaitl / Yamamoto
Benson / Nugent-Hopkins / Neal
Ennis / Turris / Kassian


Too soon to move JP up. He seemed nervous to me when he got a chance on the powerplay. Fumbling the puck and messing up his shooting.
Moving him up with McDavid is putting high expectations on him.


– I was worried that Turris: bought out by a smart organization could possibly be done. (Or at least no longer an effective 3C) Lots of 30+ Cs with mileage fall off a cliff

– Still hope he works out, it’s early but agree that he isn’t fitting in so far as a 3C. I didn’t get the universal praise for him. It was a possibility that he was done and this wasn’t factored into projections.

– Either Turris turns it around or Pool gets a better C ; else Pools production will continue to be poor. That’s the bigger worry. Pool actually looks pretty good I think but only points get you better linemates.


For me the Oilers biggest ‘issue’ last night was their stars being off. That’s good news IMO since I’m pretty sure they haven’t actually lost the ability to play hockey.

The team aside from McDavid/Draisaitl/Nuge definitely wasn’t *good*, but they weren’t so terrible either.

If the PP had gone even 1GF/0GA instead of 0GF/1GA in 7 opportunities it likely would have changed the game completely. 2GF/0GA (ie – last seasons’s average) and the Oilers probably win.

A 1-3 start is no good at all, but this team will be better.


I just read an article regarding players’ complaints about the new “tracking” pucks. Comments that they don’t feel the same, they “slide” slower, and they bounce alot. Is there any possibility this explains the super poor passing by our Oilers? I have noticed a bunch of attempted soft touch-passes, that never reached their intended targets, and a ton of hard passes that were behind their intended target. Hmmmmm.


Doesn’t explain the shitty passing by the Oilers, but other teams are just fine.


Samurokov with another 17 minutes and 4 shots. Plus 1 in the 2-1 win (as he continues to lead the KHL d-men).

SP was right about Berglund leaving the game early (of course) – just noting that he didn’t come back to play – only 5 minutes of ice.

Broberg got an assist on the tying goal with 4 minutes to go. He played just over 14 minutes and was even on the day.


Was there not a general consensus (of course, with exception) that the Oilers PP would likely take some time to get up and running this season and may struggle early?

The PP was actually dominant in the 2nd game against Vancouver (2.5 PPGs) and awful against Montreal.

I don’t think the league all of a sudden “figured out the PP” – its not like teams weren’t advanced scouting it last year and its not like it didn’t go through 3-4 game cold stretches last year either.


It feels to me like there’s something off with the players. They can’t make or receive pucks. How many times did the puck go to Drai in his spot on the PP for him to bobble the pass. There were plenty of moments where Drai was in *his spot* with wide open net, but had to scramble to control the puck in an uncharacteristic way.

We’re a very finesse team. If we’ve collectively lost our ability to handle the puck, we’re going to struggle the way we have now. It kind of reminds me of the end of the Eakins era. Always felt like the players just weren’t quite in game shape. Then Todd Nelson came in and the players were commenting something akin to “Wow our practices are so much quicker, we practice at game speed now”.

I think the issue is our players aren’t prepared for the games. Why? I have no idea.


Quote from Matt Hendricks back in 2015 after the coaching change:

“The speed and pace at practice has been a lot different with Todd. We aren’t spending as much time, in term of minutes, on the ice, but in terms of workload, it has increased and our work ethic is improving and the speed in our game is improving.”

Quote from Todd Nelson regarding his practice habits:

“As a player, I always liked high-tempo and high-pace practices and that is one of things we wanted to accomplish here. We wanted the pace of play to rise and it has,” he said. “If you have high-tempo practices, your execution gets better in the game. We are seeing that right now. Our execution has been better.”

I honestly wonder if the team isn’t practicing effectively.


The team isn’t really practicing at all with the schedule – mostly just optional and game day skates.

If I recall correctly, there was some verbal about the team generally playing much better coming off some real practice time.


Can’t win with average/below average goaltending. Most players on the Oilers are overrated. Results speak to that.


Holland backing Babcock’s abusive behavior still doesn’t sit well with me. I don’t care what Kenny’s record is. We need more Ralph Kruegers in sports.


Tippett needs somebody to lay a hit besides Yamo, Kassian, Nurse, JJ etc are invisible if I’m Tippett I’m pissed these marshmallows need to do their jobs. Connor and Leon backs are getting sore, Nuge needs to wake the fuk up and create some offence himself.


Completely unrelated to my post, but I understand your frustration.


I thought Turris was going to shine as a 3C. Jesse is trying to create but is the NHL just that micro second to fast for him. I would like to see Turris with 2 different wingers.


Puljujarvi does need to adjust to NHL speed I think. Or maybe that’s the difference between a 1st and a 3rd liner..


Danault might be better than Couturier. What a player. I’ve wanted him on our team for two years now and this series just made the yearning worse.

Woodguy v2.0

Those results are driven by Gallegher and Tatar.

Darth Tu

This got a laugh from me. All three are a bit of a handful it seems.


We need a Gallagher


Matty spoke to Holland – nothing earth shattering to report but here is what happened to Smith:

“Mike was stretching and felt something pop. Fluky thing. We think he’ll be out about 12 games, which is 24 days. When we get back from the road trip, Grosenick will be in town. I expect Grosenick or Stuart Skinner will have to go in and play a game or two.

London Jon

Pretty fluky if you’re 30. Not so fluky when you’re 40…

Last edited 1 month ago by London Jon

Draisaitl, with the proper help, is the most impactful player in the league. The Oilers seem terrified of this fact and terrified to let it unfold.

Messier was allowed to be Messier. Nobody freaked out when he won the first Conn Smythe Trophy before the other guy.


Crosby pretty much has always let Malkin have the better wingers because it was better for the Penguins. Malkin was a much more impactful player that way. It made the Penguins better.

Last edited 1 month ago by godot10

Rishaug doesn’t think McDavid is superhuman! The nerve😉


Does anyone else think that they should just go with three quality centres down the middle? Kyle Turris has been invisible to start the season here and by all the numbers bleeding badly. Does this get something going and make three dangerous lines?

Nygard – McDavid – Kassian
Kahun – Draisatl – Yamamoto
Turris – RNH – Puljujarvi
Ennis – Shore – Chiasson

Gotta agree with Craig Button this morning on TSN, maybe all this “depth” is just warm bodies? Puljujarvi is so close, I just want to see that big fin smile again when he eventually pots one.



The Oilers depth forwards and D would look a lot better if Draisaitl and Nugent-Hopkins were creating momemtum or disrupting the momentum of the other team every 3rd or 4th shift.

The 3rd and 4th lines are coming on the ice with the ice tilted.

Balanced lines in the context of this Oilers team just means everybody is getting beaten up, and the Oilers aren’t landing any punches of their own. They are always on their back foot. Which then makes them tentative on the power play.

You have to play to win the game. You have to play without fear. You have to be able to play free.


Must add that I agree with well pretty much everyone and their dog that it’s extremely odd that Tippett won’t play the Nuge-Drai-Yamamoto line. I found it weird that they moved away from it in the first place and with the way the team has looked since they were split up it’s getting increasingly strange he won’t go back to it. Last night when they scrambled the lines he instead opted for reuniting McDrai 5v5.

I feel the argument that it leaves McDavid with very little in terms of talent to play with a bit backwards as well. I prefer to look at it as having the chance to put together a top 3 line in hockey…and still have McDavid left to put on another line. That’s a dream scenario, or at least should be, for any coach.


Yes. If that means our “best line” is Nuge-Drai-KY and our “second best line” is McDavid+2, well then, we are off to a good start for the top 6.


“Nuge-Drai-Yamamoto line. I found it weird that they moved away from it in the first place and with the way the team has looked since they were split up it’s getting increasingly strange he won’t go back to it.”

It’s the old adage – management knows best. So don’t question it.


Its oddly interesting that the coach is now on board with fully tinkering with the top 2 lines, splitting Nuge and McDavid included but, yet, he has refused to go back to Nuge/Drai/Yamamoto.

Either Rishaug or Gregor specifically asked him last night about going back to that line and he wouldn’t acknowledge it as an option and just said they are looking for something that works (or words to that effect).

Agree or disagree, but I understand the premise of Nuge on McDavid’s line but Coach went away from that for parts of the game last night and still refused to put Nuge with Drai and Yamamoto.

This I don’t get – you know that is has worked and you are looking for something that works. You are going away from the concept that was the reason you broke the line up to start with. In this context, how does that line not get reunited?


Tippet loves to send messages and teach lessons.

This particular lesson is for the fans; “Don’t second-guess my coaching or you’ll regret it.”


Lol 😂


hfboards guys think there’s something behind the scenes about not reuniting the DRY line but that’s probably just conspiracy born from frustration


McLeod on his way to the AHL – makes sense to me (as I’ve been very express in my opinion that McLeod likely needs some solid AHL time this season – he had a good camp, as big, fast and skilled forwards always do but he wasn’t even a full-time bottom 6 center in the AHL last year and I think a solid half season being a top 6 center in the AHL will be great for him).

I anticipate this means Neal is being activated shortly (so someone from the active roster needs to go on to the taxi squad – Nygard and Shore are the only players that don’t need waivers in order to go to the taxi squad right now).

Harpers Hair

Half a season in the AHL is likely to be 15 games or so.
Dont think it will mean much.


It means 15 more games played vs sitting up here watching. He should be there playing.

Harpers Hair

Point is, he should go down and stay there.


yet that’s what NCAA uses for a season and those players seem to develop just fine

Harpers Hair

And on what basis are you deeming their development a success?

Some NCAA teams have already said they will be expanding college eligibility by a season to address this very issue.


Typical Ncaa season is around 30 games

Harpers Hair

Generally 34 but OP is suggesting sending McLeod down for half a season in the AHL and then counters with Holland requesting most games be played in the back end of the schedule.

What I’ve heard is that the AHL will likely start with 2 games per week and then ramp up later.

So, if they play 2 games a week for 2 months, he would only get into 16 games.

Likely best for the player if he if he stays for the full season.


My reference to half a season in the AHL is because they are only playing half a season. I have no desire to have McLeod called back up – he should stay in the AHL for the entire season (which has been my position since last season ended).


A post made without knowledge.

Ken Holland specifically requested a Condors’ schedule that is very light at the beginning (2 games a week max and only weekends) in order to have a heavier schedule when the influx of players from Europe happens.


Now, I am not going to pound the table and say McLeod is NHL ready because I don’t know if he is ready.

What I do know for certain is that the bottom 6 is a tire fire and that should mean open auditions to anyone with a pulse.

We are currently being forced to watch a pro NHL player not muster a shot on net in 4 NHL games played. While giving up 3 goals against and, of course, not every being on the ice for a goal for. ( yes, it is early)

One look at McLeod was all some were asking. Trust me – it couldn’t hurt that bottom 6.

And for the people that will chime in, no, 1 or 2 games in the Show , will not hurt his development.


First rule to have a championship organization. The need and or what is best for the Oilers is the path to be followed. If having McLeod with the Oilers at this time it is where he should be. If the coach isn’t going to play him then you’re right. Many young players that go onto play centre start their NHL time playing on the wing. He is not being groomed to be a top two centre. His speed size and youth are needed, in my opinion, on the bottom six at this time. The Oiler were unable to apply adequate pressure on the Montreal D from the bottom six. McLeod’s speed would help in that area. On the Turris line it would also give the team a second centre for face offs.


I can’t say if McLeod is ready or not with any sort of certainty – all I can say is that I watched him play a lot in the AHL last year and, when the AHL season ended, it was very clear that he would need another season, or the better part thereof, in the AHL.

He was a bottom 6 forward in the AHL last year splitting time between winger and center. His scoring rates at evens were actually quite good but bottom six wingers in the AHL don’t generally jump to the NHL right away. He has the perfect opportunity to play top 6 center in the AHL for whatever the AHL season looks like and that is the next reasonable step in his development in my opinion.

Is he a better skater than Turris? Absolutely. So is James Hamblin but I don’t purport to throw him in to the Oilers lineup. His speed is going to be a fantastic asset when he’s NHL ready.

Scungilli Slushy

I’ve thought for a while that eastern teams play a more playoff style all season, the west being more open in style.

It could be bcs of the elite talent in the west. Pettersson, Connor, Leon, MacKinnon. The teams that have been good and played a heavier game had top centres suited to it – Kopitar and O’Reilly.

Teams in the east had to deal with Boston and the Caps big skill players. Montreal has survived on big time jam and Price.

The Bolts have created there own style, but it’s built on Cooper forcing them to play a tight game and fight like my kids stuck at home. And having a monster best D in Hedman.

The Oilers have enough to win right now if they can be made to play to not give up easy goals (make the opponents earn them) and to play a far more boring game.

The skill means they’ll get their goals and points. Just like Tampa and teams that play a solid team game.

Koski might be decent if there was a predictable safe structure in front of him, maybe.

The way forward is to play far more tight, be willing to battle on the boards as much as necessary, and let the high end skill be the difference, break games.

I like Tipp but am wondering if he is able to get them doing what has to happen. It may have to be a guy like Cooper, who basically forced them to submit with Yzerman backing him.

But it took a lot of years. I don’t want to have to wait for that, again, Connor doesn’t have another 6 years to wait, or Leon. Hopefully those two do what they need to and take it on themselves to push the change.



Washington and St. Louis are the only two heavy teams that won the Cup in the last decade, since Boston. They are also skilled. Otherwise, it has been skilled teams, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Tampa, or LA. LA being the least skilled but with a truly elite D in Doughty and Quick channelling Bernie Parent in the playoffs, and a well-balanced roster.


Arguably, Washington and St. Louis have been two of the most underperforming teams in the playoffs for the last decade. They each finally found a season when there was not another team with truly elite skill.


Webster’s Dictionary:

Heavy Hockey – NHL’s LA Kings 2011-2015


Chicago+Pittsburgh+Tampa = 6 cups
Boston +LA +Washington + St. Louis = 5 cups

Skill still wins even if I concede LA to you. LA was more goaltending and Doughty than heavy. Arguably somewhere in the middle.

But like I said, skill still is ahead.

Scungilli Slushy

I don’t think size is everything. My point was that eastern teams ‘seem’ to play a more playoff like style all season. Pucks to O corners when it’s muddy, board play, high tempo, ability to breakout.

I think you could argue any way on your list. To me it’s about maximizing the roster you have.

4 of the last 5 Cups were east. It’s not big, it’s about big enough to stay healthy from wear and tear, and a goalie. Our best teams always found the goaler.

All Cup winners have or got lucky.

I don’t care who is on the team if the goaler is leaky. Especially when it counts. As we know from decades as Oiler fans.


Tampa Bay has one of the heaviest teams in the league last year.

Scungilli Slushy

I was just going to say. Big D that are capable skating and passing (plus Hedman), smaller forward group, but aggressive and fast.

buck yoakam

I think we should look at energizing the team and bringing in a couple of the kids. Macleod and Benson with anyone for the fourth line. these kids have been playing way more than the vets lately. put in Bouchard , definitely put Drai back with Nuge and Yams and not unlike sid the kid put anyone with McD …getting Neal and Hass back might add a little energy also…we simply cannot be any worse than what I am seeing at this point


Remember how Montreal got blasted for “losing” PK Subban for the washed up soon Weber lmao ffs are hockey fans shortsighted or what.

Meanwhile, howe(sic) is a certain infamous challenge to Petry looking? I always figured Petry has Stanley Cup bloodlines due to his family connections, and still see it happening while Oilers IR specialist Klefbom continues to sewer the team by subtraction. 

Also, Habs have an elite goalie although clearly they don’t even need it vs the ice District patsies from Edmonchuck. Oilers? Two superstars and assorted fillers, while hoping for the rest of the league to not notice so they can perform their semi annual decent season + playoff/in disappearing act.

Seeing them trying to play without the Edmonton fans hating their sucking has also seemingly left them with mental levels of motivation issues. So much easier to play computer games, take loads of weed, and collect millions before eventually getting traded. Rinse and repeat.


Look at this quote from Tippett:

“I think we gotta shoot the puck more, Montreal’s done a good job around the front of their net and you’ve gotta pay a price to score. … I think we can shoot the puck more and we’re looking for some harder goals. We’re overpassing it and not getting enough sustained time in the offensive zone.”

This is a man who doesn’t understand the relationship between cause and effect. This is Debrusk level reasoning.

Modern sports requires intelligent people to be making the decisions. I see no evidence that Tippett is intelligent and plenty of evidence that he is not.

Shoot more is the equivalent of try harder. It isn’t a plan, it is a sign of incompetence and lack of intelligence.


Did you see the PP last night?

Cannot pass the puck into the net.


Can’t seem to shoot it in either

Scungilli Slushy

I don’t know about intelligence, but it does have the wrong sound, one I don’t want t year from the Oilers anymore.

Tipp said the D zone was his and the O zone the players.

I am not sure they have much of an offensive strategy. I think they need one. No team in the cap era can have so many good players (for long at least) that they can freelance. The normal players can’t do that well enough.

I think they need to have set strategies based on what the opponents are doing. Players have a couple of options based on what’s in front of them, everyone knows what is going to happen so they can be on time to the play, and let the speed and skill win the day.

They may have that, I do see it. I see tentative players that don’t seem to know what to do and so play too slowly. And pass like crap.

Maybe it’s the players not executing. Maybe the chosen system is a poor fit.


It seems to me with the intelligent spacing 5v5 in the OZ where it’s not on the counter, unless there is a mistake (d-man misses a guy getting open for a one-timer), most teams are scoring by getting traffic in front of the goalie and taking shots from the point.

Or maybe that’s just how teams score against the Oilers ha ha ha.

First goal against Koskinen last night was case in point. It’s not the goalie’s fault, really. A stop would have been nice but there was traffic.

The Oilers don’t want to seem to want to do this.


Whoa, not the goalie’s fault?

There was the lightest of all screens on that goal and they were a ways out from the net-front. An AHL goalie is able to work around that screen. That screen should have been a non-factor.

That wasn’t one where a stop would be nice to have, that was a must-stop shot.

I’m not blaming Mikko for the loss last night but the team came out and was the better team in the 1st period in all areas except for the PP and the tending (sorry, Mikko let in a bad goal and Allen did not). The game got away from them given the sorry PP but the 1st and 2nd goals should not have gone in.

Scungilli Slushy

I’m a firm believer that brain farts subvert aggregate numbers.

For a goalie, that means letting in weak goals. See Talbot. Absolute team emotion killers.

Same as any other position but more obvious.

Every NHL player needs to make NHL plays consistently, with the odd gaff. More than odd means not an NHL player IMO. I will point out Larrson who sucked the first game and got it straight right away. Absolutely required.

You can’t forget what you need to do, or be inconsistent in the best league in the world, right? See Oilers over the last 15 years or whatever.


Scungilli Slushy

I’m a firm believer that brain farts subvert aggregate numbers.

For a goalie, that means letting in weak goals. See Talbot. Absolute team emotion killers.

I agree, 100%, when it comes to goalies.

The “he played well except for those two bad goals he let in” mantra doesn’t jive with me. Playing “solid to great” most of the game with two week goals isn’t a great game, in particular, if those goals are at bad times.

I was actually impressed that the terrible 1st goal against didn’t deflate the team completely – they kept coming and were the better team until the inept PP deflated the team and tilted the ice the other way.

I don’t blame Mikko for that loss last night but the first two goals were bad goals.

We didn’t see either Price nor Allen let in a bad goal when the game was in question.


Watching the 2 games against Montreal I was wondering what the strategy is.

Scungilli Slushy

Sorry I let auto correct mess up my comment.

I ‘don’t’ see an offensive strategy that plays out.


Time for the unicorn lineup. Balance it out and bring out the damn BALANCE PHOTO LT!!!!!


Best shot at finding some even strength scoring and sheltering our 4th line. The Nuge line could feast and really that’s what is missing, a third line that can do anything. McDavid can McDavid with anyone


I think we need to go about this with looking at what has worked in the past and at the players not meeting expectations

RNH Drai Yamo have to be reunited. They were the hottest line in hockey, and since the Oilers broke them up, we have won 2 games in total.

Ennis/Nygard McD Neal. McD and Neal had chemistry before Neal got hurt. Ennis has scoring history and Nygard has put up good numbers with Mcdavid

Kahun Turris JP. Keep JP on the 3rd line until he finds his way but put him on PP1 instead of Chiasson. Kid is big and has skill. Good vote of confidence plus let him earn his way 5v5. Kahun can score too and is fast. Turis is the best option for now

Lets some kids out there on the forth line. Get some energy in there and reward some hard work. Benson McLeod Archibald (showed some chemistry with Benson)

time to move on from Kassian. He has been bad for a year now. Chiasson can go on taxi squad

PP1 not working? Time to put the PP2 out there with Yamo, Ennis, Kahun (C) Bouchard, and Nurse. PP1 playing 1 min 30 sec of 7 PPs is killing their confidence and it’s wearing out our top players and destroying their mojo 5v5. Let the PP2 start the beginning of the PP for a bit.

Time to get Bouchard out there on def. Put your minute munchers together in Nurse and Barrie. Use Bear for trade bait and get a goalie… not popular I know but you have to give to get. Don’t forget the logjam coming in with Samorukov and Broberg

Nurse Barrie
Larsson Lagesson/Jones
Koekkoek Bouchard

Last edited 1 month ago by jeetz
Scungilli Slushy

For balance we know what we need

Nygard Connor Neal
Kahun Drai Yama
Ennis Haas JP
Benson Shore Turris

Nurse Bear
KooKoo Larsson
Jones Barrie



Balance it out and bring out the damn BALANCE PHOTO LT!!!!!

Now do the Dmen 🙂

MacT's Neglected Helmet

When your team doesn’t have a soft spot in the schedule, chances are your team is the soft spot in the schedule.”

so good


“Back in the Day” our men’s team used to play about 5 league games a year in the Saddledome- it was a real treat. As defenseman, I really liked it because the lights made the glass have a mirror effect, so when you went back into the corner to retrieve the puck I didn’t have to swirl my head to see the forechecker, you could use the reflection in the glass to “kinda” pick up the distance between me and the forecheck – that make all the difference. The old guys that had played in front of fans, when they were younger, mentioned that the fans on the other side of glass significantly reduces that mirror effect.

If an NHL defenseman in an empty arena, doesn’t have to shoulder check the forecheck, the ability to move the puck becomes easier, and might need a new forecheck scheme.


Wow is that ever a interesting take on empty seats I wonder what other advantages and disadvantages there is. I now usually watch all of the games including Football Basketball etc on mute because of the gross piped in noise. The constant humming drives me nuts does this effect anyone else or am I a lone wolf. At least Golf doesn’t do this if they didn’t have the piped in noise you would be able to hear the players and I imagine there’s been a lot of eff bombs being uttered on the Oilers bench and on the ice.


The noise doesn’t bother me at all (kind of like it), nor does the ads on the helmet (wouldn’t even know about them if it wasn’t pointed out) nor do I “hate the jersey’s” or have any trouble seeing the numbers nor have the inclination to complain about a rookie’s performance doing the play by play in English.

Not hockey play and decisions, that I can complain about…..

Craig The Keg

I was chatting with a friend of mine (Habs fan) and he said something interesting. Essentially this: “I am out of favour with the old “two stars” and build around it idea (Crosby/Malkin or Kane/Toews) I include the Leafs in that (we both live in the GTA, Lol). Having a few players soak up the salary cap and filling in the blanks with scrap parts should go out of style. If you look at the Lightning, granted they have solid star power, but no one has an enormous contract and therefore their depth is unbelievable. Bruins are built similarly.”
I thought this opinion was kind of interesting, especially as an Oiler fan. The Habs always seemed to overperform in my opinion as they haven’t had a superstar offensive player on the team in forever, but maybe that has just been their strategy and as LT mentioned they’ve been the more successful team over the last 10 years for sure…

Harpers Hair

The key to success in the salary cap era is to have one elite player at every position…that is one elite centre, one elite defenseman and an elite goaltender.

If you’re blowing the budget on two or three star forwards while your D is below average and your goaltending is mediocre, it’s very difficult to win a cup.

Toronto has tried to buck this approach but I think they’ll find Montreal will get there before them.

If you look at how Colorado is built they are an elite goaltender away from compete dominance helped in great measure by the MacKinnon contract which gives them an extensive competitive advantage.

Of course they will have to pay the piper eventually but they’ve had the cap space to acquire through the draft and trades a raft of high end support players to surround their stars.

They will need to make some tough decisions over the next few years but they are so well positioned in terms of trade capital and elite prospects they should be able to navigate those waters with relative ease.


Of course, it’s much easier to build a balanced team in the cap era when you have no state tax and players can live in the sun with anonymity. This gives teams like TBL and VGK an inherent advantage.

Harpers Hair

Yes it is a huge advantage although it doesn’t have seemed to have the same effect on the Panthers. You still need a smart GM.


Oilers have to put more size in the line-up – they need more ozone time, everything can’t off the rush, it can’t be all pretty. The other team defense have to spend much more time pushed up against the glass.
McDavid/Driasaitl/RNH/Turris/Barrie – 1:10 MAX


Written off Kahun already?


This is a poor start, but we cannot yet use adjectives like dreadful, shameful, despicable or gruesome. There are several miles before I’ll start writing about the Donner Party, Nadir’s Raiders (includes a Bonnie Raitt song) or the the time Daryl Katz used the word rebuild in January 2010. Hell, I probably won’t do a draft post until May!

I did read all those adjectives last night (and this morning) plus the likes of embarrassing, disgusting, pathetic, etc.

I am FAR from enthused and I have some worry setting in but I’m going to stay grounded.

A few of the things that we worried about have come to fruition early: Jones not being able to be an adequate fill-in for Klefbom at evens and maybe a regression year for Bear.

I think Jones will “be fine” but it looks like those Klef minutes at evens will be filled by committee and I think the play of Koekkoek is encouraging in that regard. He was mis-cast at 1RD but could help fill in a 2LD.

Bear will be fine – he got “bag skated” yesterday from what I hear (along with the other taxi squad guys) and I wonder if the coaches believe fitness is an issue here?

The superstars have not been consistent superstars. This is not blaming them but they are not playing as well as they can. McDavid has had one supernova game and 1 OK game and two, essentially, ineffective games. He had ZERO contributions to scoring chances yesterday, including on the PP – WHAT?

Lets go on the road and re-set.

I am not enthused but I am far from looking at lotteries or giving up on anything.


If the Oilers don’t view their games played as embarrassing, disgusting, and pathetic so far this season, then we’re all in for a very painful remaining 52 games of Gord awful hockey.


I thought starting the first 4 games at home might not be so great the road trip is exactly what the doctor ordered. Make the easy plays stay focused this team needs to bond and you do that on the road. When’s Neal back at least he hits when it’s needed if Kassian wants to keep floating around I would sit him or send him to the minors. I wonder if he’s playing hurt because he’s playing like a donkeys ass


3C Turris – 0 goals for / 4 goals against

Tipp’s fav forward Chaser – 0 goals for / 3 against.

Try to think of even a reasonable chance created for Turris. I can think of only
1 good shift and maybe 2 or 3 saw offs shifts.


I think it’s safe to pencil in Chiasson for 1st line duties next game. Just a hunch


Maybe the problem isn’t the forwards on the third and fourth lines, but the defence. Our inability to gain possession in the dzone and move the puck forward impacts the middling players much more than players on a line with McDavid, Drai and true top six players.


Ah, so Kyle Turris just needs a good D core to play ahead of….interesting.


It’s a little more complicated than that but there is some validity to what Jimmy is saying in my opinion.

John Chambers

I thought of this today as well. When Turris was signed I had the expectation that he could generate some offence, while perhaps bleeding a few chances.

Well the chances are being bled, but the man is creating no scoring. None.

He seems to play ‘hard’, blocking shots and killing penalties, but the hands and skating are a disappointment four games in.


Excited for the rare Konovalov start but he let in 4 (on 38 shots) in a 4-1 loss.

Berglund has been on fire offensively since his return to the lineup – another assist today as Linkoping is up 1-0 early.

Blumel also with an early assist as Pardubice is up 2-0.

Looks like Broberg is down to the 3rd or 4th pair – he played quite a bit in his first game back (with an assist) but I think he was down to 13 minutes or so in his last game. I wonder if this is performance based or injury based or both?


Thanks OP. Good to see they are training him for Oilers hockey. Just need to get those shots against a little higher…


He was around 13 minutes in the first one back as well, he’s been playing as the 7th D, they explicitly said that they’re easing him in after the injury. Which is probably smart.
Filip Berglund hasn’t been eased in though, lead his team in ice time last game, and it might have backfired since he left the ice in the first period of tonight’s game. Not sure what happened though. Tough break both for him and his team. He’s looked good in his return.


Also looks like Jeremias Lindewall is moved up to the second line in Allsvenskan tonight but the game sadly has been interrupted in the 2nd period due to a serious injury. Uncertain if it ends up getting postponed or if they’ll pick up later once the ambulance has left the ice. Tough to finish a game when you’ve seen your teammate leaving in an ambulance.


Thanks for the clarification on Broberg SP.

Not good news on Berglund – sounds like he was find his offensive game since his return.

I can’t wait to get Broberg, Berglund, Kemp and Samorukov over to Bakersfield in March/April (plus Lavoie).

Last edited 1 month ago by OriginalPouzar

The whole goal of the off season was to improve the catastrophic bottom 6

Many people named 3C – Kyle Turris – as one of the main keys to the season.
(goaltending obviously 1st)

Kyle Turris is getting KILLED as a 3C. Embarrassing now.

27CF – 59CA

Alex Chiasson – can’t even register a shot on net. 0 shots on net.

Thanks for coming Alex


Yes. Even from point blank in front of the net on the PP he managed to miss the net entirely.


Would Tippett really swap Nuge and Drai instead of swapping Nuge and Kahn???


First lesson should have been learned last spring/summer: If it isn’t broken (e.g. The Draisaitl line), do not fix it. Second lesson, to be learned now: If it is broken, fix it, and don’t keep repeating the same old mistakes. That means, begin with what works, Nuge-Draisaitl-Yamamoto; don’t let the newcomer (Barrie) ruin what was the best power-play in the league. Build from there. Hold players accountable. Use the taxi squad liberally, so as to inject freshness into the line-up whenever necessary.

Dee Dee

It looks to me like the Team is still Sulking over their playoff loss to Chicago and need to put it in the past and move on.

They are certainly better than what they are showing now.


Hunter’s 1909’s 2020-21 Death March™ is back for another season

You can register and vote here:


Is it too early to try for unicorns?

Nygard – CMD – Kassian
Kahun – Drai – Yamamoto
Ennis – Nuge – JP
LW – Turris – RW

I’m nether his biggest fan nor his loudest detractor, but I never thought I’d say so early that this team sure misses Neal. Could use a cagey-vet who has soft hands and an edge to his game. Haas would add some speed and pluck to the lineup, too.


If they can’t get the bottom six close to the water mark in the next few weeks, something like this requires some serious consideration, regardless of the RNH “next contract implications”. Add Haas and Archibald/Neal to the 4th line…Chia to the PB


Neal — Turris — Haas has potential as a fourth line.

Last edited 1 month ago by BornInAGretzkyJersey
cowboy bill

Montreal has discovered a way to discombobulate the Edmonton PP . I don’t think Barrie is the problem . Montreal’s PK was just that good . Don’t ever say Montreal has an average PK , not this season . Now every other team is going to watch video of exactly what Montreal did to the Oil and follow suit .
So yeah , Edmonton is screwed .

Last edited 1 month ago by cowboy bill

I said this in the summer, the GM got big names instead of players the team needed to improve. And the coach isn’t showing much in his tenure either i thought 5v5 play was his calling card but this team hasn’t improved at all even strength. His solution bench some young players, no one has tried that before.

This doesn’t excuse the lack of effort on the players part but will someone step up and have some accountability? the gm? coach? Mcdavid? All you hear from this team is excuses or crap like we’re getting better


Ummmm big names?


Big is relative but Turris and Barrie are not what this team needed. Also some great foresight signing Turris for two seasons


I’m going to stop short of calling the Turris AAV of $1.6M for two whole years a giant mistake after 4 games.

If judging by these four games the McDavid contract looks like a mistake……


There will still be big defenders of the bottom 6 – there always are. Even saw some defences last night.

****When Kyle Turris was on the ice? A 7-20 shot share during the series. Devin Shore? 3-8.***

These numbers from the bottom 6 are putrid and vomit inducing.

Fix the bottom 6 and then you can complain about the D


Victor Hemdan can’t save Alex Chiasson or Kyle Turris.

I barely notice Turris on the ice

Last edited 1 month ago by McSorley33

I can’t imagine anyone looked at a lineup with
Russell Barrie together and said that looks good
that pairing had 0% chance of working


There’s a man with a stern look while being paid millions of dollars that did infact say, “this is good” then he benched Bear lol


Agreed. It’s like Tippett made the most superficial observation of “Well, Barrie is more of an offensive minded player and Russell more defensive minded so that should work great!”, when in reality there was clearly going to be zero chemistry between these two entirely opposite linemates.


This teams identity is give the puck to 97 or 29 and watch.

This was the team’s identity before hiring Tipps, why is it still the team’s identity.

All of this ugly hockey is on the coaches, dress the best available players on the roster. Easy first step.


This is a pretty good post.


Sums it up doesn’t it!


They aren’t scoring or spending near enough time in the opposition’s end…and the solution is to…trap…

You’re losing it people…

Between the players not executing the passing game well and the Coach sabotaging the lineup it is just ugly out there. This is an offensively-gifted hockey team though. The solution isn’t to attempt to clamp down unless you all want to spend the season losing 2-1.

Still annoyed they didn’t get Hoffman…they clearly need him.

Then based on the commentary this morning I’m convinced no one in the media even watches the games anymore. They continually forced the play on the PP through Barrie and didn’t set Draisaitl’s shot up…but the problem is they didn’t use Barrie apparently…These people are paid to watch. Good gawd….

At least when listening to Moon now I don’t have to put up with continually bad pronunciations and yelling. It is a puck again not a PAWCK. Hooray!

Still have the Stauffer-led parade pumping the hell out of Russell’s tires though. *barf*


Hoffman? Then they could lose 5-2 instead of 3-1……


Plenty of talk about shuffling the lines (that are admittedly are struggling) but the real problem is on the blue line. Bad in the D zone, even worse in the O zone. Try this little exercise (but I warn you, it will not feel good):

Take our top D man (probably Nurse?) and compare him to all the other teams and see if they would trade their best D man for him. Maybe Detroit, that’s it. Try it for our second D man. Sorry if you feel a little queasy after. They say “everything starts on the back end” but right now nothing is starting on the back end for us. Koskinen is okay but not good enough to cover for bad defence. He stops enough but is it just me or does he seem to lose sight of the puck a lot? He looks around like there’s a mosquito buzzing around his head.

There’s a reason Barrie only signed a show-me contract. No one trusted his worth after last season and he’s not showing enough to earn another contract. Now they’re in a jam with the PP because they can’t easily sub in Nurse (LH) without throwing everyone off, although it’s not like they’re “on” right now anyway. That second PP group looks especially awful, though.


Comparing teams top D isn’t going to bring any solutions. Oilers top D is currently on the shelf, Nurse is the currently best healthy available defender who has had his partner sent to the press box so an offhanded defender can partner with Nurse.

Compare coaches


What is the optimal D pairings right now? I think Barrie is maybe the guy who sits, but do the Oil need to dress 7D and rotate through with 13F? I honestly don’t know, and would love some insight.


I’m scratching Larsson and triple downing on puck moving defenders.


Sit Barrie and bring in Bouchard. Bring in McLeod to play left wing on the third line. By those two additions you add speed and size. Barrie has not played well enough to stay in the lineup in my opinion. The coach isn’t sold on his ability either hence Koekkoek playing his off side. Sitting Bear for one game sent the message put him back in. The Lagesson Larsson pair were okay and should gain traction with more time together. At least by getting youth in they will gain some experience and by what I have seen this can’t do any harm. It may also be time to reunite Nuge and Draisaitl.


Barrie looks to be a shell of his former self. He’s lost all his aggression, whether that has been coached out of him, or he’s lost a step, or some combination, it is hard to tell. But this isn’t the same player as in Colorado.

Playing him with Russell was a terrible idea from the start. The clash of their styles had no chance to work even with good Barrie. That Tippett this isn’t obvious to Tippett is a big indictment in my eyes.

And then, with a team whose biggest problem is struggling to complete passes, he takes out two of his better passing D, and replaces them with two terrible passers. I thought Russell played reasonably well, but he’s not a passer, and Lagesson gives the puck to the closest guy every time. He’s nowhere near the player that Jones and Bear are. And surprise, surprise, the team can’t connect on two passes in a row.

This team has two major problems. They can’t pass, and they have a coach who doesn’t know it is a problem.

Both of these are coaching, he deserves much more heat than he is receiving, and this is without bringing up Godot’s hobby horse, or the insane love for Mike Smith we’ve been saved from.

Last edited 1 month ago by Cassandra

I think Barrie has definitely lost a step, without question, from his days playing Colorado. Barrie used to be a player who could tilt the ice at even strength.

This team is reeling from the loss of Klefbom.


The Oilers must have known about Klefbom’s shoulder issue for quite some time.

Wait for it, here come the pitchforks…

If only say a left-shot d with some offensive chops and transition ability had been available for a couple second-round picks.

Someone like a Devon Toews. 🙂


And then, with a team whose biggest problem is struggling to complete passes, he takes out two of his better passing D, and replaces them with two terrible passers. I thought Russell played reasonably well, but he’s not a passer, and Lagesson gives the puck to the closest guy every time. He’s nowhere near the player that Jones and Bear are. And surprise, surprise, the team can’t connect on two passes in a row.

This team has two major problems. They can’t pass, and they have a coach who doesn’t know it is a problem.

I presume that Tippett thought the team’s biggest issue was defending in the defensive zone – making proper defensive reads, winning defensive battles, etc.

Hence the insertion of Russell and Lagesson and not Bouchard – d-men known for their “defending”.

Of course, better passing helps with the defending….


These guy are always defending, so they should be getting better!


But montreal early on appears to be the class of the division with no roster weaknesses