Blood in the Water

by Lowetide
Photo by Rob Ferguson

Some games stay with you and I think last night’s tilt against the Jets will linger for a time. Good teams, playoff teams, find a way to get points from games they enter the final frame up by a goal. Two points lost with the mercury plunging is no fun at all.


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: 3-5-0, goal differential -5
  • Oilers in October 2016: 7-1-0, goal differential +12
  • Oilers in October 2017: 2-5-1, goal differential -9
  • Oilers in October 2018: 4-3-1, goal differential -4
  • Oilers in October 2019: 7-1-0, goal differential +10
  • Oilers in Month 1 2021: 3-5-0, goal differential -5

The Oilers this year are a rock solid match for the 2015-16 team, that team finished 31-43-8, 70 points and seventh in the Pacific Division. The 2017-18 team finished 36-40-6, 78 points and sixth in the Pacific Division. The current Oilers record after eight games does not resemble a playoff team.


  • 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) (Actual 2-2-0)
  • At home to: Toronto, Toronto, Ottawa (Expected 2-1-0)
  • Overall expected result: 5-5-1, 11 points in 11 games
  • Current results: 3-5-0, 6 points after eight games

Edmonton outperformed my estimate on the road trip, and if they finish up as I predicted the final record will be 5-6-0, 10 points in 11 games. No sin there, you can make the playoffs with that kind of start. It’s also true there are only going to be so many opportunities in a 56-game season and last night was one of those opportunities.


  • Kahun-Draisaitl-Yamamoto played 11:13, 5-2 shots, no goals, 1-2 HDSC and 7-4 Corsi for five on five. Draisaitl scored on the power play, plus an assist on McDavid’s late goal and three takeaways. Kahun played well, 2 shots and I swear he’s getting closer to scoring. Yamamoto had a HDSC, and forechecked so well it might have been my favourite part of the game. So good. I like this line, would keep it together.
  • Nuge-McDavid-Puljujarvi played 10:07, 3-4 shots, 0-1 goals, 2-1 HDSC, 4-7 Corsi. Nuge and McDavid scored gorgeous goals and Puljujarvi almost cashed on a splendid pass from McDavid. In fact, JP had two HDSC on the night. If Kahun is due, Puljujarvi is overdue. Lowry scored the winning goal by getting inside position on McDavid and beating him to the net. Nuge was a master on the PK.
  • Neal-Turris-Kassian played 8:16, 3-6 shots, 0-1 goals, 2-2 HDSC and 8-7 Corsi for five on five. Neal had a HDSC and a couple of good looks, Kassian had a fine game with several good chances (two HDSC). The penalty he took was a bad call by the ref. Turris stopped covering Perreault for no good reason, and of course Lowry found him for a great shot and goal. This line is becoming the story of the season and not in a good way. Turris’ coverage has lapses that suggest he cannot fill this position. Nothing personal. Just business.
  • Russell-Khaira-Archibald played 7:40, going 2-4 shots, 0-1 goals, 0-1 HDSC and 3-10 Corsi for five on five. Russell got an assist on the Larsson goal, Archibald played four clean shorthanded minutes. Khaira picked up an assist on the Larsson goal (that may get taken away, Draisaitl was the center in the corner with Russell), had three clean minutes shorthanded. Archibald gave some effort on the Ehlers goal, the defense had already capsized before he arrived at the play, Khaira also in photo.


  • Nurse-Bear played 16:58, going 6-11 shots, 0-2 goals, 2-5 HDSC and 6-15 Corsi for five on five. This was I believe the poorest night for the duo, divided between 97 and 29 lines. Nurse had three assists and both men were -3 plus minus on the night. Nurse was with Kris Russell on the Perreault GA, that was Turris wandering. Both men were on for the Stastny goal, Edmonton had great coverage but Nurse allowed the pass into the slot and Turris didn’t come close to covering Copp while Bear offered support but Koskinen couldn’t locate the rebound. A mess a mess a mess. On the Lowry goal, Bear allowed his mark to screen the goalie and McDavid lost his man. Bear is passing the puck extremely well and holding his own defensively, despite the numbers against Winnipeg last night. Nurse has six points in his first eight games, and is +4 but there are still people who don’t see his value. Come on, people.
  • Jones-Larsson played 13:10 together, going 6-3 shots, 1-0 goals, 3-0 HDSC and 10-9 Corsi for five on five. It was a solid pairing, playing successfully with both Draisaitl and McDavid. Maybe we’ll see them again.
  • Russell-Barrie played 11:19, 5-5 shots, 0-1 goals, 4-0 HDSC and 11-8 Corsi for five on five. Despite the goal against, that’s an encouraging line overall for both men. The pairing was on for the Ehlers goal against, Barrie losing, then catching, then releasing Ehlers for his empty net marker (Koskinen was out of position after the pass). Barrie released because Russell lost his man. One of the most poorly played goals against I’ve seen in some time.
  • Mikko Koskinen stopped 27 of 32, .844 and stopped 7 of 11 HDSC. For the season his save percentage is .900. He could use a vacation, and then home for a rest.
  • All numbers Natural Stat Trick.


  • Connor McDavid 8-5 (+3)
  • Leon Draisaitl 5-1 (+4)
  • Kyle Turris 1-8 (-7)
  • Jujhar Khaira 0-3 (-3)
  • Devin Shore 0-2 (-2)
  • Total: 14-19 (-5)


  • with Nurse 7:34, 2-1 shots, no goals
  • with Larsson 7:33, 5-2 shots, 1-0 goals
  • with Jones 5:28, 5-2 shots, 1-0 goals
  • with Bear 5:12, 2-0 shots, no goals

There is some promise here, the Jones-Larsson pairing had success with Draisaitl last night. Some of that is no doubt overlap with McDavid (2:43 with LD) but I’m impressed by the Jones-Larsson number.


I still believe this is a playoff team. I’m encouraged by the Jones-Larsson pairing and am now convinced Evan Bouchard will get a chance to play in the coming days. The No. 3 center situation is a big damned deal though and the opportunity for Gaetan Haas is enormous as we speak. The Oilers aren’t buried, rather they have had a slow start to a season. Important for coach Tippett to fix the third line, I think the solution might start with Nygard-Haas. It’s possible Nuge will have to move over, you can’t just let it bleed. We wait.


It’s going to be an entertaining morning on the show, much to discuss and specific issues in play. We get started at 10, TSN1260. Bruce McCurdy from the Cult of Hockey at the Edmonton Journal will help us break down last night’s loss and offer solutions for No. 3 center and the second plus third pairings. Joe Osborn from OddsShark will talk about the Super Bowl and some of the crazy prop bets we’re seeing, plus have a look at strong teams paying off early in the NHL. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter.


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I’ve been stuck in hospital dealing with thoracic cavity/respiratory mess (non covid related) for past couple weeks now.

Its been painful, frustrating and not a lot of good time smiles crossing my face.

This almost made me piss my pants laughing.

After a couple games against the senators…the Canucks are looking ready to take the next step! Thatcher demko’s save percentage just crawled above 900…prepare for the Stanley cup parades!!!

HH you really outdid your high bar of hypocritical fluff pieces right there.

Last edited 1 month ago by maudite

Some posters here like to repeat the same thing over and over , I will do likewise. Tip has 6 NHL Dmen and 2 prospects close. He does not have 12 NHL forwards nor any prospects close. He is very competitive, basically screwed and charged with winning. Unless the 2 aliens way overdeliver on +/- the bottom 6 will sink the oiler tanker. The Dmen are not the biggest problem, agree they may not be the best, but Tip trusts them i believe.

Harpers Hair

Behind Enemy Lines:

Thatcher Demko plays his second straight game and makes 42 saves on 43 shots against…977%

This follows a 27 saves in 28 shots performance on Monday….972.

Now .909 on the season.

The top line finally gets on track as Miller scores 2G and Pettersson gets 1G and 1A.

Quinn Hughes nets 2A for 9P on the season and takes over the points lead for defensemen in the NHL. Hughes is scoring at 1PPG rate.

Of note: Tyler Motte now has 5G in 9G and Vancouver’s bottom 6 has scored a total of 16 points.


So, 2 wins against the worst team in the division means the nucks are world beaters again? Demko stole them a win in the 2nd game, against the worst team in the division. Something to be proud of?


Truly amazing that they had to withstand the first period onslaught from the Senators powerhouse as they took 24 shots in the first period

London Jon

I could not care less what is happening with the Canucks


My backyard faces my neighbors side yard across an alley. They have a young Border Collie, a vociferous black and white ball energy they hide behind their 6ft solid fence. If I crush a blade of grass, turn a pebble underfoot or snag my shirt on a raspberry thorn it erupts as if a coyote is after it’s imaginary herd of sheep. Without a long view much less a 1000 acres to run, it goes berserk at this invisible threat to peace and quiet.

This is my perception of the comments on the Oilers defense for the last little while. Tip has 6 NHL caliber defenders, these he trusts and will play. Jones is not ahead of #4, lots of noise will not help the former. Jones and Bouchard are prospects in Tips mind and he will treat them as such.

Every one of the 6 NHLers on D has made their grievous errors, stuff happens. The bottom 6 forwards however, are a particular sinkhole who apparently play no better on offense than they help on defence. Tip seems to see them as his main concern, he has lots, and will probably leave the defense alone barring players getting dinged up. JMO


I’m not sure I agree with Russell’s spot in Tip’s mind.

I mean, Russell’s TOI/G was down by almost 5 minutes last year and he started the season as a healthy scratch with a sophomore and a guy that was signed in December for league min playing ahead of him……

Eh Team

But he absolutely needed to be signed to an extension prior to the year


absolutely need to? Of course not, but it takes care of a tidy piece of business so the team isn’t forced to make a move for expansion draft purposes and shows some loyalty to a player that has been a good soldier for going on 5 seasons and the risk is a $75K cap hit next season and great call-up depth.

Harpers Hair

He could have easily signed Koekoek to a 2 year year deal @$850K and saved the cap hit.

But he didn’t.


You know this how?


So Holland had little cap room for major signings. He made several “small” bets. Only contract over 1 yr is Turris. Still a bit early but looking like a miss. To date looks like Turris ends up a 4 th line winger, healthy scratch or a Condor. Was optimistic on Barrie signing but he is not fitting in so far and meh at best. Might be one and done. Still optimistic on Kahun and KooKoo looks like a good acquisition. Can we give Holland a “save” on JP??? Other small signings- Shore, Ennis etc not impactful to date. Obviously still some big holes in this line up. Fans are dissapointed but still some road to travel yet. Please show up for Leafs series!!!!


Not making excuses, but perhaps Kassian’s play lacks energy because of the absence of fans. Remember the crowd’s reaction after he flattened McKinnon doing a buttonhook after entering the OZ? Kassian strikes me as the kind of player who probably gets pumped up by the crowd after throwing a big hit.


The crowd was pumped after Zack pummeled krachuck.


This has been oft-sited as a potential reason ever since the play-in.

Maybe there is something to it but, even if so, that does not make it acceptable – you are a professional athlete and making $3.5MM this season – find a way to get yourself engaged.

Also, lets not forget that Zack’s play had fallen off well before the March stoppage, when there were fans in the stands – and he has shown this inconsistency for his entire career.

This is just Zack.

Chief Inspector

McDavid’s six point game but Kassian’s hit and ensuing fight was the loudest the rink became that night. Lucky to see it live!


Some that haven’t played the game in front of a crowd don’t understand how a crowd can fuel an energy guy. I agree about the Kassian hit and fight being the loudest that night. Kassian feeds off a crowd.

Brogan Rafferty's Uncle Steve

More importantly, I have a roast to cook. I have never done a proper roast. Any tips or tricks would be greatly appreciated!

Harpers Hair

Put roast on trivet in Instant Pot.

Pour 1cup of beef broth fortified with a couple of lashes of Worcestershire sauce over roast then pour one packet of onion and garlic soup mix over roast.

Seal Instant pot and cook for 30 minutes.



These Turris to the first line suggestions are stone cold crazy.

Turris cannot skate or defend. He cannot create chances against 3rd line comp. He is a supreme liability. Those guys don’t get to play on the first line or anywhere in the top 6.

Russell – Barrie, please never again. These two will get eaten for dinner by the Leafs.

Ideally we see Koekkoek – Bouchard, but I’m not holding my breath.

Harpers Hair

Toronto would be a terrible team to audition Bouchard against.

Better to wait for Ottawa.


Throw him in there.

Third pairing and Tipp has last change. Not a bad situation at all for him.

Harpers Hair

Third pairing D often get caught out against the other teams top lines when there are changes on the fly from the opposition coach.


If Turris could play on a first line with the likes of McDavid wouldn’t the Preds have kept him?


Turris is slow compared to third line players.

What’s he going to do with McDavid whizzing past him?


Wouldn’t the Preds have to acquire the likes of McDavid?


Ya OP, McDavid is the only highly skilled forward in the league.

Last edited 1 month ago by Sierra

There is a large gap between a skilled forward (i.e. Forsberg) and the likes of McDavid, no?


Russell – Barrie, please never again. These two will get eaten for dinner by the Leafs.

I don’t disagree with the premise and I agree they shouldn’t be a pairing tomorrow night but they did play 14 minutes together at 5 on 5 in the first game against the Leafs with positive possession metric (no goals scored either way).


We get the last change so this will help


How much is the blender in the bottom six hurting any cohesion or chemistry? Remember no pre-season so we couldn’t figure out who had the legs and who played well together.

Could this be part of the problem? Yes individuals are stinking right now, but new faces with no time to get settled, can it work itself out?


Kahun has had chances and shown some things without the production being there. The Drai line is solidly positive.

Turris has created very little and gives up a ton defensively. His line is getting caved.

Barrie has been substandard, PP, evens, etc.

You can’t keep trotting these guys out there when they are losing games and not showing any signs of life.

I suspect the plan is Haas and Bouchard in for those two.

It’s a question of when.


I agree with and have also suggested the conclusions of your last paragraph, LT. Turris can go get waived.


I’m not necessarily against the idea but if Tippett has refused to take Nuge away from McDavid to reuinte the best line in hockey from last year, is there any real expectation that he will take Nuge away from McDavid to play him as the 3C?


What are his choices, though?

RNH was and is a C- I can assure that is what his agent is saying.

The patient is bleeding out.


But his agent won’t be saying that he is a 3C.


It’s funny how one can speculate about McD requesting Nuge on his line without assurance, but question how someone else can’t provide assurances about someone else’s speculation about his agent requesting Nuge be looked at as a C. Double standard is strong with some


Not even a little bit.

The former was clearly posted as speculation – not in any way posting it as fact or truth but a potential that may not be reality.

The latter was the opposite, posted as “an assurance” of advice the agent is giving.

Not even close to the sae.


1) His choice is to, well, not to – just like he has used his choice not to put Nuge back with Leon.

2) I’m not sure how you can provide those assurances vis-a-vis his agent. It is likely just as reasonable, heck, probably more reasonable, to suggest that his agent is all for him playing with McDavid to boost his point production in a contract year – he can still sell him as a center with versatily.

Harpers Hair

What Nuge thinks is what matters most.

I doubt he wants to finish his career as either a winger or 3rd line C.

He has the talent and two way play to be a #2C on many NHL teams and #1C of a few others.

Harpers Hair

Michael Parkatti

Oilers problems:

1. The 3rd line run by Turris is getting caved (34% xGF%). Turns out having the worst-performing 3rd line in the league is an issue. This was underpinned by a bet on Turris, who was showing warning signs last season.

2. The PP going from the best in history last season to an 18% average is a huge problem. Whether that’ll last is open to debate, but something is off so far. This regression is a huge blow to last year’s formula.

3. Goalies. Like the entire strategy behind this position. Picking a 38/39yo marginal goalie as your backup had risks from the start. He’s hurt, meaning #1 guy is overplayed.

4.Last year’s obviously unsustainable PK SV% was, well, not sustainable. (Kosk has gone from 0.899 to 0.887). Overall, Koskinen is sitting at a 0.900 overall this year, from 0.917 last season. This was all relatively predictable.

5. Weird lineup decisions on the bottom of the roster. This usually isn’t a big deal unless you have easily better options sitting and your bottom roster sucks. The Oilers have and do. Khaira (14% xGF%) and Russell (39% xGF%) are canaries in the coal mine.


The PP has looked like its old self with Nurse on the point.

Koskinen has been better than his numbers suggest IMO.

How many brutal defensive plays have we seen this season from guys who should know better?


Two games against the Leafs with last change. This is an opportunity to be flexible with your lines and try and put them in opportunities to succeed.

A couple of posters below made some good points.

First, try Turris on the wing with McDavid. Sure he’s been terrible at center, however he’s been playing with weakish linemates and we’ve seen he can score. Put him in an opportunity to succeed.

Second, Puljujarvi has been a revelation. However, someone mentioned that he and McDavid take up a lot of space and can get in each other’s way. This strikes me as right. Playing him with McDavid may not be optimal.

Combine these thoughts with the fact that Toronto has one super line why don’t you to make your own superline to match up with it.

RNH–Draisatl–Yamamoto plays all night long against Mathews. Oiler fans insist Draisatl is better than Mathews, if he keeps this even the Oilers are in good shape.

Kahun–McDavid–Turris plays all night long against Tavares. Tavares is still a good player but there is no way he can keep up with McDavid. This line can win this match up.

Archibald–Shore–Puljujarvi takes the next shift that isn’t Mathews or Tavares. Puljujarvi can control some action without getting in the way.

Neal–Quine–Kassian. If this line gets things going play them more.

Then on D put Nurse–Bear together and Jones–Larsson together and try and play them against Mathews and Tavares. Koekoek and Bouchard play clean up.

That gives you the best chance to succeed. Win the game withe McDavid and special teams, try and break even everywhere else.

Turris has been bad, but it isn’t like he is keeping a first round pick out of the lineup. Playing Russell and Barrie instead of Bouchard tells me the coach is watching a different game, or he really doesn’t think Bouchard is any good.


“Sure he’s been terrible at center, however he’s been playing with weakish linemates and we’ve seen he can score.”

Wasn’t the storyline that Turris was holding back Jesse on the 3rd line? Now it’s that Turris has had weak wingers?

“Put him in an opportunity to succeed”

Wasn’t Turris brought in to be the 3rd line centre?

Last edited 1 month ago by Sierra

Fire Turris into the sun….now…no wing…no bench…no dressing room….sun…fire…now…sail on Sir…

Last edited 1 month ago by fistycuff

That lineup adds Shore, Bouchard and Quine from the taxi squad.

Remove JJ back to the taxi squad and which other two are being waived to and re-assigned?


Put Nugent-Hopkins with Draisaitl and Yamamoto.

The line needs a player who can pass, shoot, and play give-and-go at range, .

The two Yamamoto strategy for Draisaitl doesn’t work. The Oilers best weapon, Draisaitl’s shot, is stuck in the holster with the current line. And Kahun can’t finish, certainly not from range.


I usually agree with you about the dry line but I don’t think it was the problem last game.
McDavid and Drai are top 5 in the league in points, Yamamoto and nuge are getting a point per game.
The McDavid and draisaitl lines both look dominant IMO.

Nuge helped Yamamoto get started last season, maybe they’re trying to do the same for Puljujarvi

90s fan

I think we should reserve judgement on Holland for the end of next year. Next year he builds HIS team. Lots of guys coming off contracts. He has done well to limit guys that you all dislike (Kassian the exception) to 1 year contracts.


Repeat after me.

“If Kris Russell is on your blueline in 2021, you are not a Playoff team”


In fairness Holland extended Russel for minimum cap to have a D for the expansion draft. This was an okay deal by an experienced manager. The Oilers need to give Bouchard the at bats to see where he fits in the D moving forward. We are very fortunate to have two plus D matriculating that have size, above average skating and projecting as top four D with very different skill sets. With above average D all the team is missing, in my opinion from being a consistent playoff contender is Goal tending and that also has possibilities.


There is a possibility that there are three such matriculating d-men – including Samorukov. Lets of a sure bet but to reach top 4 status but, at this point, I’d be surprised if he doesn’t become a legit NHL d-man and, frankly, his skill-set is broad, built for today’s game, and there is definite top 4 potential.


Kris Russell is a fine 4LD/7D which is what he is this year.

He is behind each of Nurse, Jones and Koekkoek on the left side and was a healthy scratch for the first 3 games or so. He came in due to struggle in the lineup and played well for a few games. He has come off his high and will likely go back to being a healthy scratch next game and competing with Lagesson to be next man up when its needed again.

I’d be surprised if he’s in the lineup next game.

He’s expensive for this role but will be reasonably paid for it next season (if he even makes the team – Klef may be back, Samorukov likely impacts the roster)

Harpers Hair

Jim Rutherford resigns for “personal reasons”.

Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) Tweeted:
Rutherford is in final year of his contract in PIT. Timing of this decision/announcement is what is so stunning. @Real_RobRossi wrote a story awhile ago on what a difficult year, personally/professionally, it’s been for Rutherford, but I’m not sure there’s any cause/effect here.


And the personal reason is horrible choices in defensemen


*Personnel reasons.

John Chambers

Optimal lineup deployment:

Kahun – McDavid – Puljujarvi
Neal – Draisaitl – Yamamoto
Archibald – RNH – Kassian
Nygard – Haas – Chiasson

Nurse – Bear
Jones – Larsson
Koekkoek – Bouchard

Turris needs to be pulled from the lineup. I’d give Alan Quine a shot ahead of him. Barrie could be a useful 7D, but I think Bouch should get 35+ games here on out.


Looks interesting, maybe it’s finally time to try. If we’re doing the blender, I would like to see
Benson – RNH – Kassian
Nygard – Haas – Archibald


Not the worst but can’t agree fully.

Neal/Drai have negative possession metrics and are 1-6 goals in their time together (last year and this year). Small sample but doesn’t look great.

Tyler Ennis or Joakim Nygard could be better options.

Archibald on the 3rd line cannot be optimal. Archibald on his off-wing on the third line even less so. Tyler Ennis, again, an option.

Turris may need to sit but there is also the option of allowing him to play on the wing where the defensive responsibility is reduced.

Bouchard needs to play.

Barrie will still impact the lineup – he is better than he’s played. Lets hope he finds the game he can play.


Turris needs to sit..don’t put him on wing…don’t let him sit on bench…don’t let him come to the arena….fire him into the sun. Now…


That is indeed one opinion.


I’m guessing next game Koekkoek is in for Russell, Shore is in for Khaira, and Nygaard is in for Archibald/Russell.
Russell wasn’t good last night and the coach has shown he’s willing to bench him.
Khaira looks slow out there. Shore looks quicker and seems to have more compete.
Archibald struggles on his off wing. He fumbled a few passes away that were right on the tape. If you are going to play a righty on left wing, pick the guy with the best hands. Yamamoto would be my choice.This really only applies if you are mmoving Turris to right wing.
Which brings me to the teams biggest hole at 3C. Turris looks done. His skating looks slow and awkward, and I have yet to see him win a puck battle. He still has a decent set of hands, and maybe he could cash a few chances from the wing, but he is killing the Oilers at center. The sad thing is, there is no one pushing for his job so it’s tough to replace him. At least he’s not blocking an actual prospect.
Like Barrie is. I would love to see Bouchard get some games, but it’s a tricky situation for a coach. I know Bouchard is not a great defender either, but he can’t be any worse than Barrie, can he? I wonder what Barries trade value is if we retain half his salary.


The team in my opinion needs to employ Bouchard and sit Barrie. Barrie deserved an honest opportunity but it is now to the point that he has to sit as he is not helping us win and the team needs to get Bouchard at bats for experience moving forward. Barrie at his cap hit for one year was a reasonable bet but you don’t throw good money after bad.


Were there D errors last night? Yep. Big time.

I mean Russell was literally backing up to Koskinen’s crease on some plays.

Nurse and Bear not look as sharp as usual – yep.

But if that is your takeaway from last night – I would have loved to get your thoughts on the acting on that play Abe Lincoln went to.


Even if taxi/roster options suboptimal, I cut bait on Turris now (yesterday). Send him down. Get him out. Try something else.


For the record – I was really happy with the Turris signing. So I can’t fault Holland here.

That makes it more frustrating.

But once again, this is the Oilers after all, we should ask the “pro” scouting department some tough questions here.


Why were you really happy with the Turris signing?


I really thought in a softer minutes role – no pressure to score – he would at least be able to defend . Zero pressure to score.

Hall of Famer Dale Hawerchuck:

“Anyone can play defense.”

I really thought almost anyone would be better than Riley Sheahan.

I thought the issue in Nashville was lack of scoring and pressure to score…not brutal defensive hockey.

My fault.


Pro scouting has been a pronounced weakness for more years than I like to think about. Since the Oilers came in the league you could count on one hand the successes. The abject failures would require a computer. Unfortunately when you pick through others garbage the results are usually predictable.


I think its more about Edmonton as a free agency destination. We are rarely the first choice so must compete on what’s available to us.


While I believe that could be part of the problem the bigger names that we have been able to sign and or trade for have for the most part not provided value.

cowboy bill

I can understand Kris Russell’s value . But somehow it gets lost in the translation . Why ?
He just has no compatibility with any of his fellow Dmen . Maybe he’s too much of a throw back . He and Sekera were solid . But I can’t think of anyone else he’s been good with , certainly not Barrie . KOEKOEK – BARRIE .

Hurry back Geatan Haas , I have to agree Kyle Turris should be a winger .It all effects the team dynamic . Finding answers is tough .

Tip has to sort out his hand and play his cards properly . He has some good cards mixed with some that need to be tossed . The process continues .


He’s also 33, he’s lost a step and he’s too small.


If Bouchard is not a better defenseman than Barrie is right now, this team is in very serious trouble this year AND for the rest of the “McDavid Window”. Full Stop.

I had significant concerns with Barrie and those are being verified in real time. He needs to sit and watch and think about what a defenseman is supposed to do on the ice.

KRusty should only be getting ice time when there is an injury to Nurse, Jones, or KK – or when one of those three needs a little time out (rest/re-set).


Even up until yesterday, there was still defenders of Kyle Turris.

Kurt Leavins sums up Kyle’s night nicely and gives him a grade of 2.
( a little high if you ask me, but I won’t quibble)

Not just -3 on the night – he was *Destroyed* in the face off circle.

Every metric on Turris is horrible. He is literally tanking the season here.

I don’t see any other choice than to put RNH there. Haas can’t cut it that high in
line up.

How can we have possibly have found a worse 3C than Sheahan?

Inserting Bouchard won’t help Turris.

How long will Dave Tippett allow this to go on?


Tippett sees what we see. He also has a much better idea of what he has to work with. He needs to assure Haas is up to speed and then I think the change will be made. His knowledge and experience allow him to be more patient than the average fan and this is a good thing. Tippett will get this sorted.


Agree with everything but moving Nuge down. Robbing Peter to pay Paul there. I don’t know what the solution is but playing nuge 11min/night isn’t one of them


But Nuge is a C – so this is not really a stretch.

Our last playoff series win – Nuge centered his own line.

And as McDavid showed last night on his goal – a lot of times – his wingers are immaterial to his greatness.

Again, nobody is saying this is ideal.

But the patient is bleeding out


I would anticipate that Nuge’s icetime would remain close to 20 minutes per – in addition to the regular shift with the 3rd line, I would anticipate he get the odd shift up the lineup at evens during certain situations and, of course, primary PK and PP1 time.


What is expected goals worth? Copied from another site:

Here’s a look at the 5v5 xGF% of the 5 most common partnerships:

Nurse-Bear: 62.19 (115:04)
Jones-Larsson: 51.71 (50:13)
Koekkoek-Barrie: 51.55 (37:24)
Koekkoek-Larsson: 37.88 (40.22)
Russell-Barrie: 37.82 (69:22)


Jones/Larsson were good last night. They did have lots of top 6 forward time but they were good as a pairing and lets not forget they were good as a pairing in the spring (8 games). They struggled early this year but, overall, they have been more good than bad in their time together. Here is hoping the early struggles were mostly due to, well, first games in months with a short camp and no exhibition games.


Three minutes and 27 seconds shouldn’t define a hockey club but last night three minutes and 27 seconds absolutely defined this hockey club. The old “weakest link in a chain” adage was never more obvious during that fateful time frame. And for those that say Kassian had a fine game I’m not so sure. His job is to put the puck in the net. He could have won that game all by himself in the 2nd period but couldn’t bury it when his team needed him the most.


He also was buttery soft on the wall losing the puck battle on the go ahead goal by Winnipeg.


I thought he won the puck battle? But then immediately turned it over handling it like a grenade.


He lost a board battle. He turned the puck over. You say tomahto. I say tomayto.

After losing the puck battle, he skates aimlessly to the point, letting two Jets who where in the precinity of him giving the puck away, go to the net.

You lose a puck in the corner in your own end. Two Jets, one with the puck, start racing towards the net, and Kassian skates aimlessly towards the point.

He could have kept Stastny out of the play by blocking his path to the net.


Recurring issue. The guy had a couple daughters and now he’s softer that butter in microwave for 10sec


Yes Kassian can skate, but it was “Nutsy” that was rewarded with a hefty contract for being…….nutsy. 2 suspensions last year and the “crazy eyes” disappeared. If he was told to change his game because of penalties, why give him the contract? If he’s suffering from “fat contract syndrome”, sit him. It’s not as if anyone is looking over their shoulder when he’s on the ice now. Maybe we need Tkachuk to wake him up?


I hate to say it but how good would we be with Tkachuk this team badly needs a shit disturber that can play. Kassian has been playing in the self checkout isle since he signed his contract Yamo tries but he’s just to small


I agree, this team requires a Tkachuk type player.


His two suspensions not withstanding it is my belief that the average fan has unreasonable expectations for Kassian. Turtlechuk showed his class or lack thereof. There is a fine line that Kassian is expected to walk but not cross. He deserves a break! I am pretty sure that say he is butter soft wouldn’t say it to his face!


I agree, some have unreasonable expectations of Kassian. Some are hating the player because of the contract


Serious question…how can you separate the player and the contract? With his play this season, Kassian for $800,000 would be fine. Kassian @ 3.5 million is not anywhere close to value.He’s not expected to score 40 goals or even be the best player on his line. He’s supposed to skate, check, hit but most of all, provide some ….swagger. I’m not sure where to find the stat, but from what I’ve seen this year, McDavid has more hits than Kassian.

Last edited 1 month ago by elgruntus

The Ehlers goal was an abomination. As a goalie, here’s how I saw it…

Two on two. Cowboy allows yet another unchallenged zone entry then dives unnecessarily and misses his guy. Barrie has to hedge his bet in no man’s land on the sudden 2 on 1 instead of covering his guy. Koskinen has to play the shooter so becomes a pylon for the pass resulting in an open cage goal. Koski would have played a 2-0 better. Embarrassing.

If Bear sat for his transgression then Cowboy must sit too. I’m sick of these double standards.


It was so. bad.

Almost stopped watching at that point. If only.


Lets not forget the other mis-plays:

1) Barrie taking a step towards a bad pinch and then having to get on his horse to get back in the play

2) Khaira letting the outlet pass go right through him

3) Russell backing in (as per usual) and then getting walked

4) Barrie getting turned around and falling (as a result of just getting back in the play and being frantic)

Russell was very very bad on that play – he was far from alone.


That was a really really tough night for Nurse and Bear defending but I will give them a pass as that pairing has been so very good this year. The game happened and, of course, posts all over the internet about Nurse not being very good, trade him while he has some value, he’ll never take the next step. Yup, it was a bad game but, overall, he has had a fantastic season and taken that next step. He played 29 minutes…….

The key is the bounce back and get back to form starting Thursday night.

Very encouraging on the Jones/Larsson – that was more like what we saw last year when they were together. More please.

Russell/Barrie – those numbers are flattering. Russell was in the picture on many goals against tonight. That tying goal, my goodness. Barrie thinks about the pinch and has to reverse and chase, the puck goes through Khaira, Russell and Barrie back in right on to Koskinen, Russell gets walked, Barrie flops – goal.

Koekkoek must play.

Bouchard maybe? If his back is OK.


Its hard to watch cause they were hemmed in the D-zone but with the 4th line and just dominated for who knows how long. They need to pursue the puck, win the battle and move the puck quickly. They don’t have Clydesdales they have Arabians or Quarters.


JP – CMD – Turris
Kahun – Drai – Yamo
Neal – Nuge – Kass
Nygard – Haas – Russell

It is time to give McLeod some at bat’s at 4C, as well.

Archibald and Russell can rotate in and out at 4RW, Benson can come in and out with Nygard.

Turris just cannot handle Center, so try him on wing. He still must have some tread left, his goal was a goal-scorers goal. Surely he can produce at least as well as Rattie did.

I am still not convinced that Kahun is a great fit on Leon’s wing, I think he defers too much to Leon and suspect it is holding him back. I bet he is a better fit with McDavid. I also don’t like 2 small wingers on the same top 6 line, unless the are heavier and have rockets on their feet.


Turris can’t handle 3C so let’s move him to the first line?


waive, baby.


He’s scored at a 17 goal/season over the last 5 seasons. It is established that he Is an offensive player.

So because he is trash as a Center, you believe he doesn’t deserve the same kind of shot Ty Rattie, Patrick Maroon, Josh Archibald or Zach Kassian were given over the past few years? Are/were any of these players ever seen as 1st liners or top sixers before given this chance?

Kyle Turris is an experienced scorer in the National Hockey League who is paid $1.65 million for the next 2 years. Do you think a 3 game test drive is really a stupid idea?

Last edited 1 month ago by €√¥£€^$

I agree that Turris failing at 3C doesn’t mean he couldn’t help as a winger in the top 6. Turris has been thrust in to a role as a “2-way center” that it seems he’s not apt for. He’s clearly not a good, or even average, defensive center but is being asked to take on defensive zone starts and tough match-ups.

One can’t turn a blind eye to defensive play just because of being “elevated” to top 6 wing, however, the responsibilities in that regard are lowered and it could help the player.


As far as it being time to try McLeod at 4C, I’m going to look for him to establish himself as a center in the AHL. Last season, he split 3C and 3W, not even a full time center.

I know, he’s fast and big and with a defensive IQ – I look forward to him developing those skills at center as a Condor this season so that he may be ready to compete for a bottom 6 role on the Oilers in September.


Cap hits:
Neal – 5.75M
Kassian 3.2M
Sekera (remember him??) 2.5M
Benoit Pouliot (remember him??) 1.33M

Total = 12.78M

This forces you into the bargain bins when shopping.

Brogan Rafferty's Uncle Steve

You are missing a few:

Russell- 4M
Chiasson- 2.15M
Larsson 4.16M

Darth Tu

To be fair, not counting the one year guys on small contracts this season, we’ll have the following coming off the books:

Pouliot 1.33 mill
Sekera 1 mill (he’s still a 1.5 mill cap hit till the end of 2023 season)
Larsson 4.166 mill
Russell 2.75 mill (1.25 mill contract for next season)
Barrie 3.75 mill
Chiasson 2.15 mill
Nuge 6 mill
= 21.146 mill

Now of course we need to either sign Nuge or replace him, the same with Larsson, but that’s a decent chunk of walking around money. Heck, surely between his own 6 million and the Pouliot 1.33 million we can get Nugent-Hopkins to sign?

Larsson I still have time for so would sign him again if we can do a deal somewhere in the 2.5 to 3 million range. I can’t see him getting close to his current contract value if he hits free agency.

If we can get Bouchard into some games and see what we have, maybe we have our Barrie replacement good to go for next year, and on a cheap deal!

Cape Breton Oilers 4EVR

I think the DRY line could put some wind in the sails here. It saved the season last year, and time’s a wastin!


29 18 +11 Habs
28 21 +7 Jets
26 22 +4 Laffs
16 13 +3 Flames
23 29 -6 Here Come the Oilers
27 34 -7 Nucks
15 27 -12 Senators

Brantford Boy

Some quick thoughts…

Russell-Khaira-Archibald; I have time for the wingers, not the center. That pass back into the zone while the Jets were still exiting caused another 90 seconds of high danger sphincter panic. Obviously Khaira hasn’t learned how to use 215lbs to eat a puck on the wall yet. I can’t see any reason to pull Russell of the line, he brought his lunch pail the entire game, can see why the coach loves him (as per LT). Insert Haas here or swap Haas and Turris for 4th line duties.

For those wanting to spread the wealth and have Nuge center the 3rd line. I’ve mentioned this several times and it hasn’t went over well with the Breakfast Club here. This year, I happen to agree that it is not a good idea. Nuge is playing the best hockey of his career right now, sending him down to cleanup after sweating orange and blue for 10 years would cement him walking as UFA at seasons end in my opinion. He’d probably do it with a smile, but doubt he’d accept that role long term.


Maybe if he wants the team to make the playoffs for the second time in his 10 year tenure here, he could consider “taking another one for the team”…

Pretty sure if the Oilers don’t make the playoffs this year, Nuge will be gone.

If they do make the playoffs this year and he had to be used to stop the bleeding…maybe he stays, maybe he doesn’t. The chances of keeping him with the salary cap situation and his expected salary are relatively low already…


I’m not sure why ppl are surprised about Turris.

Ottawa fans were down on him years ago for his defensive liability
His time in Nashville was an adventure.

His coverage issues are well established.
This one falls squarely on Hollands lap




Lot’s of verbal about Bouchard getting in a game.
Yahoo is saying he’s out with a bad back? What’s the source of this? Anyone has any info?


Believe Stauffer mentioned it, I think Tipp maybe said something about it on Monday as well.


is there a timeline?

Any word what happened. Did he crush some legs at the gym?


Tim mentioned 2 days ago that he’s recently had a bad issue flare up and wasn’t an option for last night. That’s all we know. Maybe he’s an option for tomorrow night. Maybe he’s not.

We’ll find out late morning I would presume.


Try Turris as a winger. He absolutely should never play as center ever again.
try Kookoo with Barrie. Anyone who plays Russell with Barrie deserves to lose
i can’t imagine Bouchard being worst defensively than some of these guys


You think Turris will win any board battles in the defensive zone?

That is most of our D game –



Eh Team

Holland has really screwed this season up. His prime additions were Barrie and Turris. Barrie we really didn’t need as we had Bouchard who certainly would have performed better in these eight games than Barrie. Turris is a lost cause as a 2 way centre. Turris makes someone like Sam Gagner look like a Selke winner. His goaltending ‘moves’ were an absolute disaster. Sign Smith rather than a real goalie. then keep Smith, DL him and lose Forsberg in the process.

He stumbled onto Koekkoek and Kahun who will help.

You have to wonder about the Oilers pro scouting (if it really exists). Who in their right mind would have thought Turris was an answer? He’s got a long record of being a liability defensively.

And signing Russell to an extenstion? That’s insanity. If you needed a defenseman for the expansion draft it would be easy enough to sign someone like Koekkoek to a 2 year deal.

And Tippett needs to figure out who is best players are. Get Russell, Turris, Khaira out of the lineup. Jones, Bouchard, Lagesson are all better than Russell. Haas and Nygard need to play.


And Athanasiou was a poor gamble last season – I remember Young Willis had an article on The Athletic looking at and then rejecting AA as a candidate and then, one week later, Holland overpays for him. 😀

Fuge Udvar

AA? You mean the guy that is sitting at 3-2-5 in 7 games and is providing the secondary scoring that we are desperately looking for right now


Barrie didn’t need to be signed but another legit/established right shot D needed to be signed – on that could, at least, compete with Bouchard for 3RD and provide cover for injuries and player struggles. To go in to the season with a sophomore 1RD, a veteran 2RD that has struggled recently and has injury concerns and a rookie 3RD with zero cover would have been egregious.

Its easy to stay that it would have been easy enough to sign Koekkoek for 2 years but its not reality. Do we think that the player would have accepted league minimum for 2 years? Presumably he’s looking to earn more money over the next few years. He could have been signed for term but I would suspect the cap hit would be 7 figures (and, lets not forget, he was (and still is) somewhat unproven – he’s just establishing himself now.

The Russell re-sign its absolutely fine – there is essentially no risk for next season. He does not have a NMC and he could be assigned to the AHL (if he clears waivers) for a nominal remaining cap hit.

Brogan Rafferty's Uncle Steve

Honestly, Tip’s early season decisions have been confounding but it is the goalie situation that will kill this team long-term.

I like Koski, he is a league average starter. But, he is going to get burnt out quickly. He is already the most played goalie in the league playing in front of the worst defence. We have seen this show before and it is not a happy ending.

Holland betting on a pee-wee quality, injury-prone, 39-year-old, to be back-up in a shortened season where it was obvious there would be an increased chance of injury and where rest was crucial still blows my mind.


To be fair to Nurse last night he was let down by his partner a lot last night, Bear has had an inconsistent start to the season and that game was one of the lower swings. They need to stay together though, best the team has currently. Jones-Larsson were solid, hopefully a sign they are finding their respective games. Still not loving Jones positioning and Larsson is mixing defensively very strong nights with major mistakes and total off nights. Didn’t like his sloppy penalty but overall he was good.
Russell-Barrie just feels like a bad fit, not really playing off each other in either zone.

I mentioned after the first Winnipeg game that both McDavid and Puljujärvi cover a lot of ice, they’re also both good at being around the puck a lot which means they’ll often be heading to the same areas, which can be a great thing and in the first Jets game they managed to be at the same place without getting in each others way which is tough on the opposing team, but last night the timing wasn’t quite there and they cut off lanes and crashed into each other a couple of times(read Jesse got in Connor’s way, let’s not kid ourselves who the alpha is). It got better as the game rolled on but a key for Jesse in his role is to be able to play his extremely active and somewhat irrational game without interferring with Connor’s. If they can find that balance they’ll be a nightmare both to defend and beat on the forecheck.
Jesse needs to finish one of his chances soon, kind of feels like he’s trying to make sure he gets his shot off as quickly as possible which affects his accuracy and he fails to elevate the puck when in close. Sometimes when you move to league with higher pace you overrate just how quickly you have to do things, a tenth of a second to control the puck ever so slightly can do wonders for how well you finish. Finishing in tight has never really been a strength of his either, hopefully he can find a way to sharpen that ability.

The bottom six remains a major work in progress. How much longer can they fail to deliver before Tippett considers injecting one or more from the Benson, McLeod, Marody group into the lineup. Eventually you just have to figure they can’t really do much worse than the vet. I guess Nygård and Haas will get the first shot to make a difference but if they can’t do it they’ll have to see what the younglings can do. Not like the PK is really cooking at high temperatures either, basically gave up two goals yesterday even if the second one just had expired.

Last edited 1 month ago by SwedishPoster

I agree for the most part with your assessment of the defence SP except for one point. Do Nurse/Bear really “have to stay together”? It’s not like any pairing is killing it right now, so time to shake it up. Bear has looked a bit off to me all year…upset at contract negotiation? Feeling more pressure heading into this year as a “trusted” D man?

From the start of the summer I have maintained that Barrie should be playing with Nurse. I know he hasn’t had a great start either, but I feel like he will more mentally be in the game, have the most solid partner on the team to get him acclimated and feel a part of the team. Koekkoek/Bear has the potential to be a solid pair, with less pressure on Ethan to get his game back. Leave Jones-Larsson for now.

I would try these first before bringing in Bouch, but I do want to see him in sooner rather than later

Last edited 1 month ago by Primetime

Bear has worked his ass off to get his skating up to pro levels, but it will never be a strength. Very smart player, will always perform well offensively. Teams are going to target him because he’s not the fastest guy out there, and he’s going to get beat, plain and simple.

A great d-man for any roster, but surely as a 2nd pair. He’s playing over his head and I agree on the swings, but I’d say he’s outperforming expectations.

Decidedly Skeptical Fan

The season will likely be lost by the time Benson, McLeod or Marody get a shot.


He will never be an in tight finisher playing with a telephone pole. Someone needs to spend an hour or two with him finding the right size stick and lie that suits his game.


Regarding challenging the third goal, under the old rules it might of been close as the back half of his skate was up, but under the new rule his boot was clearly above the blue line. There was no need for a long close look.


I honestly can’t believe Turris is a veteran hockey player his defensive reads are so bad


I feel we are getting close to the ‘good bets gone bad’ part of the program

Barrie and Turris have played very poorly in sheltered minutes

With Barrie in particular, it has really impacted the d-pairings

Our track record with reclamation projects the past number of years isn’t strong!


I didn’t watch the first, but was not impressed with the quality of play in the 2nd or 3rd.

Kinda wished Tippett would have challenged the 3rd Winnipeg goal. Might have changed the momentum a bit even if they were wrong and took a penalty.

It looked like a preseason game. If the Oilers can somehow grind 5 wins out of January, I’d be encouraged. Real season starts Feb 1. They’ve split 3 series and got swept in one. At some point they need a sweep themselves but so far it’s been inconsistent play. They could have won all 4 games on that trip.

I still think there are encouraging signs, but all the teams are not all up to speed yet. The Oilers have shown the ability to lock down games at times.

Doug McLachlan

I tend to agree but you could also fairly suggest they could have lost all 4 games on that trip. Just as they were unlucky in the second game vs Toronto they got bounces in the first. Against Winnipeg they coughed up a lead in the third period in both games – one they had enough McDavid magic to pull it out, the second it was not enough.

Like LT, I think that this team could be/should be a playoff team but it’s going to be cardiac kids straight to the final week if this last one is any indication.

(Dared to hope when we were up 3-1 and the Flames were down 0-2 that it was going to be a special night. Hope, it’ll get you every time.)


And let’s not forget how bad they were in the first period in the first Jets game.


Fair enough. It seems period to period the team changes. I still see them as getting up to speed – although it can be said for all the teams. So starting in February the real season begins and we’ll see how they line up. So far defensively they’ve been disappointing but have shown they can pin games down if they want to.


So long as the coach plays the wrong players every loss is a self-inflicted wound.

The goal against Russell and Barrie was Pee Wee hockey. I’ve seen it dozens of times. If you play a D who plays a tight gap with a D who plays a loose gap you will get picked apart. I said it in the summer. I said it before the season. You couldn’t get a clearer example of this than that goal. That Tippett doesn’t recognize this is an indictment of basic intelligence. This is basic hockey. Playing them together is indefensible.

The fault on that play is Russell x1000 percent. It is inexecusable for an NHL D to play that loosely. Barrie, has been terrible, showing none of the quickness and offensive flair that made him an NHL player. At his best right now he is just another guy. Playing him with Russell makes him a liability, since his strength, if still has one, is playing an aggressive gap.

In any case, both these guys need to be on the bench. Bear and Nurse were poor, and that last goal was awful, but they’ve had lots of moments of goodness. Russell and Barrie bring zero to the table.

Play Koekoek and Bouchard on the 3rd pairing the next two games, hide them from the Mathews and Nylander lines with the last change, and see what happens. It is your only chance, this division has four good teams right now and Edmonton isn’t one of them. Trotting out the same tired players isn’t going to get it done, they need to hit on a wild card.

Also Khaira is an average AHL player, putting him on the ice is inexecusable. There are better players. Shore is better. Haas is better. Quine is better. Everyone on the roster is better.


Agree with this 100%. We are talking below replacement level performance.

Doug McLachlan

Good bets can still lose. Honestly think that Turris and Barrie were good bets at the price (and the cap hell they are in necessitated that) but they are NOT working.

KK (a fine bet, btw) and Bouchard as a third pair should get thrown into the fray for Russell and Barrie.

Brogan Rafferty's Uncle Steve

Agreed. I am having flashbacks of Will Acton.


Agreed…you forgot Turris.




I think the key is that JP needs to put a few in the back of the net. If he does, it’s easier for Tippet to convince McDavid that he has a scorer on his line and then you can move Nuge to 3C. RNH may not be happy but too bad…they’ll still have PP1 together…


The 3rd-period line changing was confusing. I kept waiting to see Leon or Connors line out there and they were not coming out for the first part of the period. What was Tipp saving them for? I don’t see Turris as a fit on the 4th line as a center. Maybe try him on the wing if the other center gets thrown out at least we have another FO guy out there. Barrie is a hazard out there trying to defend. Bouch =/> Barrie.

Last edited 1 month ago by flyfish1168
Elgin R

The Song Remains the Same.

3rd line bleeding chances / goals and it appears to be on the center.
Sit Turris
Kassian is good on the 3rd line – does removing 1st line pressure help him?
Neal looked good.
Need an upgrade on JJ

Neal – Hass – Kassian
Nygard – Shore / Mcleod – Archie

Last edited 1 month ago by Elgin R
Darth Tu

Yup, I’d try Haas in there as soon as he’s healthy. Turris is bleeding too much. As others have mentioned Kassian and Neal were doing good work on the cycle so continue to run with them for a bit on the 3rd line. Haas might have a little more hustle defensively than Turris.

Again, as pointed out by others before, Turris looks gassed on a lot of his shifts. Surely he should be finding his game legs by now? The schedules not been that hard so far and he’s not been playing heavy minutes.

buck yoakam

I would love to see these changes and honestly could it be much worse than what we are experiencing now?


No reason to be sitting our 5th highest goal scorer, his goal are all memorable.


On the other hand, he is one goal behind Larsson.

stephen sheps

The 3rd line may be killing the team defensively but offensively they definitely showed signs of life last night. Kassian and Neal were both cycling and creating chances and had Neal not hit the post with that wide open cage, we might be having a very different conversation this morning.

That 4th line though, lordy what a mess. There was a shift in the 2nd period where they simply couldn’t get a clear, first running around too much and then it looked like they were just sort of standing on the ice, watching the Jets pass the puck around like it was a 5v3, not at evens. It reminded me of the infamous ‘shift’ that should have ended Strudwick’s career. Koski and a post bailed them out, but it was really tough to watch.

I fully agree with DBO – it’s time to at least try Nuge as 3C and move Turris to the 4th line. Nuge can still get the occasional double-shift on Connor’s wing, but this current forward configuration isn’t working, especially in defensive zone situations. Something has to give.


For part of the game, I tried to focus on JJ when I noticed him on the ice. Watching 3 full shifts, including the one you mentioned, he did not once get involved in anything. Just kind of circled around looking lost. Even on the PK he mostly just takes up space.
If there is any competence in the organization, that was the last time he ever put on an NHL sweater.


I agree, JJ often looked disinterested, lost and or confused as to what he was supposed to be doing. I think his time is up.


I agree. Neal and Kass looked good last night. Turris was the obvious weak link on that line. If they dropped Nuge there those three would crush weaker comps.


Who plays 1st Line LW?


Kassian did look good offensively – a couple high danger chances off the rush. Not finishing is not a great look (and he hit the cross-bar a few games ago so its starting to become “a thing”).

Of course, Kass was also directly culpable for a goal against (a turnover/lost battle on the defensive boards that resulted in a goal second later).

Signs of offensive life is great but, damn, focus, awareness, battle and consistent commitment in the defensive zone is needed – from both Turris and Kass.


Let’s give Haas a go, but I see Nuge moving down as the only solution.

We need another scoring winger


I’m sure Haas will be given a go just as soon as he’s ready. From the most recent verbal on the subject, that will not be this week.