It’s Sam Pollock’s Town

by Lowetide
Photo by Connor Mah

I confess. I could never watch a game involving the Montreal Canadiens as a neutral party. There’s too much history, too much misery. This season, more than any I recall, people have asked me about the officiating. “Does Montreal get the calls?” they ask. I reply, “Only when they need them.” I don’t like people who make excuses, it’s poor form. So, over 16 years now this blog hasn’t been overly negative towards the stripes. But I feel it and I hear you.

Hell yes Shea Weber tripped McDavid and of course the ref should have called a penalty behind the net when Draisaitl was dragged down via an open ice tackle. He didn’t call it because Draisaitl had just drawn a penalty.

Veterans like Shea Weber get the calls. Oilers used to get those calls when they were a perennial contender. Someday, maybe the Oilers get those calls again. Maybe we’ll hear “What’ll I tell Kailer?” blurted into a ice level mic. That day isn’t close to this one.


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 2015-16: 15-21-3, 33 points; goal differential -22
  • Oilers in 2016-17: 19-13-7, 45 points; goal differential +4
  • Oilers in 2017-18: 17-19-3, 37 points; goal differential -12
  • Oilers in 2018-19: 18-18-3, 39 points; goal differential -7
  • Oilers in 2019-20: 20-15-4, 44 points; goal differential -3
  • Oilers in 2020-21: 23-14-2, 48 points; goal differential +13

It’s difficult to be disappointed with the point total and the wins are most encouraging. If the Oilers completed the season on this winning path, Edmonton would post 101 points in 82 games. This is a playoff team.


  • At home to: Calgary (Expected: 1-0-0) (Actual 1-0-0)
  • On the road to: Montreal, Ottawa, Ottawa (Expected: 2-1-0) (Actual 0-0-1)
  • At home to: Calgary (Expected 1-0-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • On the road to: Winnipeg (Expected 0-1-0) Actual 0-0-0)
  • At home to: Montreal, Montreal (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • On the road to: Winnipeg, Winnipeg (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • At home to: Calgary (Expected 1-0-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • At home to: Vancouver (make up game) (Expected 1-0-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • Expected April record: 8-4-0, 16 points in 12 games
  • Actual April record: 1-0-1, 3 points in 2 games

I had last night as a loss (Montreal with last change is not a good situation for Dave Tippett and the Oilers). You’ll notice I have Edmonton 1-1-0 at home to the Habs. They’re a tough out even when the referees can’t hear Pollock in the mist.


  • Nuge-McDavid-Puljujarvi played 14:16, going 4-7 shots, no goals, 2-3 HDSC and 12-14 Corsi five on five. Nuge had one shot, some good passing but was quiet in the offensive zone. McDavid took five hits, was tripped, slashed, generally manhandled and still had several looks in the first 60 minutes and in overtime. Puljujarvi rang a post and made it sing like Big Ben at New Year’s midnight, drew a penalty and picked up an assist on Nurse’s goal. This line was fine, the liberties taken on McDavid won’t get easier in the playoffs and that’s something the franchise is going to have to play through.
  • Kahun-Draisaitl-Yamamoto played 11:55, 5-4 shots, no goals, 3-1 HDSC and 7-8 Corsi five on five. Kahun is a little like Nuge in that he scores one night and then reverts to a guy who is in good spots but doesn’t impact the play like you want him to. Kahun had a shot, Draisaitl had 5 shot attempts, Yamamoto had three shot attempts (a good look right at the side of the net), a takeaway and some promising moments. He is one of the Oilers forwards who seems able to push through the Montreal checkers.
  • Shore-Khaira-Chiasson played 8:01, 3-6 shots, 1-0 goals, 0-4 HDSC and 3-11 Corsi five on five. Shore scored a nice goal late in the first period, plus two shots and a takeaway. Khaira set up the goal on a strong drive around the net and then a terrific goalmouth pass. He owns a 2.22 points-60 at five on five. Chiasson had a 10-bell chance on the PP from a McDavid pass to him in the slot, no way Price saw it but he stopped it all the same.
  • Josh Archibald played 9:46, drew a late penalty plus delivered 40 seconds of clean PK time. Zack Kassian took a spin with 97 for 1:54 and Gaetan Haas played 5:07 and posted a takeaway and a block.


  • Russell-Larrson played 16:49, going 1-6 shots, 1-0 goals, 0-3 HDSC and 4-14 Corsi five on five. All the indicator lights on the dashboard are screaming Armageddon and this pair goes 1-0 goals. Russell is a witch man, just is. Russell had three giveaways, Larsson hammered several and toyed with others. He is at his most punishing right now. If the Oilers traded him, and they’re not going to, they could get a handsome return.
  • Nurse-Barrie played 16:15, going 6-11 shots, 0-1 goals, 2-5 HDSC and 13-18 Corsi for five on five. Nurse scored a fantastic power-play goal, showed his increasingly impressive passing ability and turned over the puck on the Tatar goal and it was a bad one. He is Edmonton’s best defenseman. Barrie had three shots on goal and played well defensively, I still wonder if he needs a game off. This week would be an ideal time.
  • Jones-Bear played 10:55, going 7-7 shots, 0-1 goals, 4-6 HDSC and 9-11 Corsi five on five. Oh, it’s an ill wind she blows. Both men were charged with important defensive responsibility on the Anderson goal. Bear correctly checked down to defend the pass but did not in fact defend it. Jones successfully abandoned his check (who was behind the net and not of immediate importance) but did not get to Andersson quickly enough to prevent the goal. Jones played five shifts (3:46 running time) and Bear played seven shifts (6:34 running time) after the goal. If you want to know who the coach blames, look at time on ice.
  • Mike Smith was solid again, 29 of 32 (.906) stops in securing a point. Smith’s save percentages by month: January (8 games, .934SP), February (10 games, .907SP) and March (2 games, .914). The difference between last year and this one is that he has cut down on his bad games. In his 40 games in 2019-20, including playoffs, he had a SP or .905 or better in 17 of those 40 games (42.5 percent). This season, he has been .905 or better in 15 of 20 games (75 percent). I don’t know how he did it, but it’s clear there has been an adjustment. Apparently KevinWoodley on Jason Gregor’s show has identified a few things. Good for Smith. And the Oilers, obviously.


  • Evan Bouchard should get into a game this week, there’s a nice spot here with the Oilers in Ottawa. Get him 15 minutes times two, it’ll benefit later on and he might be needed in the days ahead.
  • The DNB interview with Ken Holland above is full of great information. I won’t mention the items of note today, Daniel worked hard on that interview and earned you reading it. I will discuss a few things tomorrow.
  • I”m reading many angry tweets about last night’s loss. Oilers are not a great defending team and overtime is a coin flip. I had that game as a loss.
  • Jesse Puljujarvi’s pts-60 (4.99) is well clear of Alex Chiasson (3.13) although both men are around 2.5 goals-60 this season.


At 10 this morning, TSN 1260, we’ll drill down on last night’s game and talk NHL trade deadline cap room with Hart from PuckPedia. At 11, Reid Fowler from Draft Kings will set up the Masters field for later this week. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!


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I didn’t watch the game but notice Nuge didn’t play. Is he injuries?


Going almost a full 5 of OT with a team that can run out Byfield, Andersson, Turcotte, Kaliyev, Kupari, Durzi and more….. that was something else.


Furious action on OT – one of the most action filled OTs I’ve seen in a LONG time – back and forth – chances at both ends. Condors’ best chance on a turnover caused by Lavoie with a McLeod/Lavoie duo.

Best chance until Griffith and McLeod go down on a 2-0…. Griffith to McLeod who buries the OT winner for his hatty.


Bakersfield Condors vs. Ontario Reign; April 6th, 2021; first run, (11/7)

Lavoie – Esposito – Gambardella
Benson – McLeod – Marody
Safin – Cracknell – Griffith
Stukel – (McL) – Hamblin

Gravel – Kemp
Niemalainen – Desharnais
Gildon – Kesselring


Bakersfield Condors vs Ontario Reign, April 6th, 2021; after 60, all following 5-on-5



Forwards — Game Score

Marody — +2.22
Benson — +2.07
McLeod — +1.76
Cracknell — +0.97
Stukel — +0.61
Hamblin — +0.57

Defensemen — CF-CA / / CD

Gildon — 16-10 (+6)
Kemp — 12-7 (+5)
Kaldis — 5-0 (+5)
Desharnais — 15-10 (+5)
Gravel — 8-5 (+3)
Kesselring — 10-8 (+2)
Niemalainen — 12-14 (-2)


Reign call a TO with under 2 minutes to go, win the offensive zone draw and put one towards the net that is tipped in to tie it up late.


Condors up 4-3 and get a 5 on 3 with under 5 to go.

The big 3 with Laovie and Niemelainen – decent puck movement but nothing overly dangerous.

Lavoie was set up on the right side, not his off-side. Marody was running the 5 on 3 from where Lavoie should have been set up. They did set Lavoie up for a decent one timer but from the right circles – pass came from down low.


Rodrigue with the very weak first goal and another iffy but he’s settled in and made some solid and some big saves.


Top line with yet another massive offensive zone shift – Marody with a puck retrieval of a Benson shot, sets up McLeod in the high slot and his shot deflects in off a defender.

2G/1A for McLeod
1A for Marody
1G/1A for Benson


What happened next OP…? #slowtuesday


20 minutes worth of delays for maintenance….




Gravel basically shoved Smith-Pelley into the corner boards to Rodrique’s right and the force broke the glass. It took quite awhile for arena staff to make the repairs.

Incidentally S-P went down, shaken up, I think due to what hit, not how he was hit. Gravel was penalized for a very innocuous hit. Prior to this, at the end of the 2nd Lavoie went in on a breakaway and was stopped, and the skated by the net (he was given a one-hander into the hip by the defender, but Lavoie didn’t even extend his stick towards the goalie as he skated by. And then Kaldis is penalized for an extremely weak interference call, sort of pushing against the forechecker as he skated towards Gravel as he retrieved a puck. And then with less than 6 minutes left, Marody gets a bit of a shove in the back by a defender as he goes in to forecheck (apparently interference).

To recap, Lavoie got 2 min for deking
Gravel gets 2 for intent to kind of hit
Kaldis gets 2 for touching a forechecker
And Luff gets 2 for game managent

I haven’t seen 4 worse consecutive calls in a hockey game in my life. Those refs should be ashamed of themselves.

End result, both teams were 0 for 5, which is the best outcome out of that mess.

Also note, Safin was pretty bad. He did get a bit of time on one PP with Lavoie, but he was ineffective. He got 0 shifts in the 3rd and probably 8 total. I would not be surprised if he sits out the next few games.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Holland does make a deal that Safin is part of the package.

Last edited 3 months ago by €√¥£€^$

PK had a clean sheet and the McLeod shortie.

Also of note, Lavoie didn’t play much at 5 on 5 through much of the middle portion of the game.


McLeod and Benson come down on a shorthanded 2 on 1 – Backchecker catches up so McLeod takes the snap shot and buries it. Weak one on the tender but we are tied up at 3.

As an aside, Benson is just being spotted on the PK, not part of a fullsome rotation.


Condors continue to dominate possession but turn it over and a 2 on 1 going back the other way. The back-check by Cracknell foils the shot but Rodrigue is fooled and the leave a massive rebound off the dribbler which is easily buried.

It was a 2 on 1, I guess, by Rodrigue has been poor on 2 of the 3 goals – this first one just purely awful.


First line causes and offensive zone turnover, cycle for about 20 seconds and Benson tips in a Kemp point shot. McLeod with the second apple on the pass back to Kemp at the point.

2-2 half way through.


Of course – the feed cuts out for a few minutes and miss the Condors getting that one back – Cracknell unassisted.


Condors dominating early in the 2nd but Esposito with an egregious turnover in the defensive slot and Byfield buried the quick strike breakaway.


Hamlin forces a turnover behind the net and sets up Marody (who had come on for the line change) in the slot but Cooper rings iron.


First line continuing to have dominant offensive zone possession shift – shift after shit.

At the end of this one, Kesslering whiffed on a slapper from the right point but absolutely crunched the attacker who was going to take the puck back the other way – big hit.


First line with a dominating possession shift and then Rodrigues lets in a weak wrist-shot from the point with no screen on the first shot against.


Lavoie starting with Esposito and Joe G. again tonight.


Rodrigue starting tonight for the Condors…… very strange after this long layoff considering how hard the run Skinner (almost every game, back to backs, etc.).

I know Woody said everyone was healthy but…..

Harpers Hair

Hearing that, with Brendan Gallagher out with a broken thumb, the Canadiens are hot on the Taylor Hall trail.


I kinda want to see this. Wonder if they give up a first

Harpers Hair

Might depend on what the GM thinks his chances of advancing in the playoffs might be.

A pick in the late stages of this draft is a total crapshoot.

The Canadiens also have 2 second and 2 third round picks to play with.


Doubt it
doesn’t seem like the type of player


Is acknowledging that he hasn’t produced like a star in a long time make one a “hater”?

Last edited 3 months ago by OriginalPouzar

I called it the minute he went down the runway.


Very interesting discussion looking at the 2019 Calgary Colorado series.


Happy to hear (from Woody) that all the Condors are healthy – games were postponed after speaking with the league and an abundance of caution and they were off the ice for four days.

Here is hoping Lavoie gets his first North American pro goal tonight!

Harpers Hair

Jake Virtanen added to the Canucks Covid list.

Now up to 20 players and 3 coaches.


Several posters ask why no DYR line? No Benson, No Bouch?

i think Holland summed it up on his Athletic interview and today on Oilers Now. “Because we are winning”. He referred to the Oilers record this year on several occasions.

This is far too short sighted in my opinion. Of course enjoy the moment but he should always be looking to improve.

You don’t need to wait until you are losing before looking for improvements.

John Chambers

Here’s the money quote from Holland: “We’re gonna play everyone in our division nine or 10 times, so it’s not like we’re gonna go into the playoffs having played some team four times. We know these teams. They know us.”

I have a hunch that the Nuge-Drai-Yam line gets put together for the playoffs. So that the first round opponent has no scouting detail on them.

I also suspect that Holland is looking to upgrade 1LW.


Now that would be a sneak attack!

Wonder Llama

From your keyboard to Gord’s ears. I really hope you’re right about both those things.


A cunning plan. I like it.


I haaaaaaattttttteeeeeee “don’t change a winning lineup”. That assumes that every one of your players positively contributed to the win. What if the team plays like crap but Smith bails them out? What if the team plays like crap but McDavid and Drai do their thing? As Winchester says, look for ways to improve.

Bank Shot

Wasn’t the DRY line driven by crazy shooting % anyway?

People talk about it like its a magic bullet, but I believe the math said that it wasn’t sustainable.


They had a 77% goal differential (I believe). For sure that wasn’t sustainable, however, even a regression to 65% or even 55% would be fantastic.

Yes, I think they had an unsustainable shooting percentage, however, smart and skilled players, playing with an elite player and the group having chemistry – that leads to a higher shooting percentage due to quality of chances.

I can’t remember the exact stat but, at one point late last season, the percent of Drai’s shots that were one-timers led the lead by a wide margin.

Harpers Hair

Draisaitl had a shooting percentage above 20% but is just over 16% this season.


wow what a drop..error rate in statistics much?


It’s been so long since Holland’s won with a stacked team that included the Russian connection that he’s forgot what it feels like. He needs to get his thumb out of his ass and get some sandpaper to help out Leon and Connor who getting abused more than a redheaded stepchild.


He swung and missed on that already: Zack Kassian’s contract.

That unforced error is part of the reason for the lack of cap space required for the suggestion.


He missed on A.A as well regardless you can’t allow your 2 best players to be mauled every game their both getting frustrated why do you think Connor threw the elbow. I can’t believe the abuse Leon takes without him losing it your going to see Connor drop the gloves soon if I’m running the show I get him and Leon protection immediately. If Holland thinks the Flames aren’t going to take runs at Connor and Leon to impress Sutter you’ve lost the script.


I mentioned Kassian because he was supposed to be the player you descried (and for a stretch, he was that player).

In any event, there isn’t a single player that could be acquired that would stop the constant infractions on McDavid and Leon. There is not “pugilist deterrent” for that.


Leon Ryan Nurse J.J Kas and Company are so laid back we need a couple of nasty pricks. Smith is the only one that kinda meets the description.


They need to let Draisaitl run someone with intent! Don’t worry about him. Be more afraid for the poor smuck that pushes him over the line.


Good news (in my opinion):

18. I get the sense it’s been quiet around the Red Wings’ UFAs. I’m not as convinced about the Oilers and Luke Glendening, but I think there will be interest elsewhere.


I think so too. Holland has his reasons all set, done his interviews so that fans will understand if he does nothing.

However, he does offer “things could get busy” right at the trade deadline and I’m sure he would love to get something done if at all possible.


Condors back in action tonight which is nice after they had a couple games postponed over the weekend.

They have a heavy schedule coming up.

The last thing I remember about the Condors is Lavoie being set up for 3 or 4 one-timers in the last minute with the goalie pulled. No goal but it was a sight to see in his first AHL game.


Jesse Puljujarvi’s pts-60 (4.99) is well clear of Alex Chiasson (3.13) although both men are around 2.5 goals-60 this season.

I assume this is PP.

Of note, going in to last night’s game, the “Big 4” with Chiasson had produced more goals per 60 than the “Big 4” with Jesse….. not an overly material difference mind you.

Of further note, the “Big 4” with Neal crushed bother of the others – it was like close to 15 goals per 60 I believe (apx 25 min of ice if I remember correctly).


Evan Bouchard should get into a game this week, there’s a nice spot here with the Oilers in Ottawa. Get him 15 minutes times two, it’ll benefit later on and he might be needed in the days ahead.

The DNB interview with Ken Holland above is full of great information. I won’t mention the items of note today, Daniel worked hard on that interview and earned you reading it. I will discuss a few things tomorrow.

These items go together as Holland speaks about Bouch and their plan for him for the rest of the season. I won’t ruin it either.


The McDavid line needs to do more at even strength – end stop.

I understand what McDavid needs to fight through over the course of a game but this team needs the McDavid line, in whatever form it takes, to be a material outscoring line.

I don’t know why this isn’t happening or what to do about it.

Last edited 3 months ago by OriginalPouzar

Part of the problem is that Nuge is below par this season. He is doing alright defensively and on the PK but his offensive game has abandoned him right now. What is there to lose in bringing up Benson or whoever Woodcroft recommends and give him a look there? The team will absolutely need two outscoring lines if they hope to accomplish anything.


I never thought Benson should have been sent down to start with (thought he should be in the mix for a middle 6, if not top 6, LW position.

Listening to Holland today, no chance Benson gets recalled.


I’m not sure what his issue is this year, but to me he seems to be missing the net a LOT on his shots. I have no stats to back this up. Am I the only one noticing this?

John Chambers

I wonder if Buffalo would be interested in Zack Kassian. Assuming they deal Jack Eichel this summer they should have loads of cap space, and a sandpaper player is a morale booster for a bottom-feeding club. I would’ve liked to have a Kassian around during the decade of darkness, but alas Ben Eager didn’t quite work out.

Holland would still have to pay Buffalo for the privilege of absorbing Kass’ contract, mind you, but perhaps Kass, Caleb Jones, and the 1st for …

In any regard, if Holland gives up a first rounder (which I support), I hope it also helps the Oilers divest from a cap-constraining contract. Brace yourselves for a Darnell Nurse contract that begins with an $8


The real question is if Kassian is a sandpaper player.

I say that he no longer is.


Would be nice if this presentvteam had a little more sandpaper


Being a rich sober family Man you lose the edge. I hope we start on the road maybe the boys will have a edge to them with no jiggly jiggly every night.


Holland on Oilers Now (caveat: summarized in real time):

Yes, its been a quieter deadline as far as conversation so far but things could certainly heat up. With team performing at a high level, as a manager, would like to do something to give the team a boost but, being in LTIR and up against the cap it will be difficult.

The roster set on April 12 is the roster – no limit to players but have to be cap compliant….. may be able to get 24 people on cap compliant roster.

To get “upgrade players”, they are making real money. The current guys have done a great job….. pro rated to 110 point pace. Have played at a high level and many of the players have done a good job for us. The depth has allowed us to perform at that level. To try and upgrade and bring in a better player we need to factor in the cap space and the assets.

Bob asks about potentially moving a pending UFA (Larsson, Barrie, Nuge) – Traditionally teams that are trying to win don’t trade away regular players. Last year I spent assets to try and beef up teams, maybe, this year, to not spend assets is to beef up this year’s team. We are trying to win. We are trying to make the playoffs and go on a playoff run. To trade someone that’s a regular on our team to get a draft pick and a prospect or the future….. we are trying to win now, I don’t see that happening.

Where are we at with Holloway? Spoken to the agent and the family. No real urgency from anyone as he has the broken thumb. May be able to practice somewhere late April. Have had conversations about turning pro. Dylan has a decision to make and we’d need to negotiate a contract that works for both.

Does the reduced quarantine help to bring up McLeod or Benson from the farm if need be? “If need be….. ugh ughhh”. Those guys are playing 20-22 minutes a night and that’s not happening here. If they come here…. looking at the ice time, the bottom part of the roster, if you don’t kill penalties (and its hard to believe these guys will kill penalties or play on the PP), you play 8-9 minutes. You need to play special teams to impact the team….. I just think those players are in a great spot where they are and continue to develop and down the road they will be here. If you don’t play on specialty teams in the NHL, its hard to get minutes. At the beginning of a season is where the coach will try guys on specialty teams.

If there was no pandemic, would Bouch have seen some time in the AHL? Can’t handicap it but having, effectively, a 29 man roster, its effected many of our decisions. I talk to the coaches every day – they like Bouch, I like Bouch but its about the make-up of the team and if you look at the run we’ve been on, we are winning lots of games and that’s what we want. We haven’t had injuries so its tough. He’s a big part of the future. He’s a big part of what I’m planning to do with the team going in to the summer. His attitude is great. He’s working hard. He’s ready. When he goes in I expect he’ll do a great job. None of the right D have spend time on the left and its tough to squeeze someone out of position when we are trying to win.

Stauff brings up Nurse and his 13 goals and asks about salary management and if they are factoring in his next contract? Yes, that’s my job to look to the summer and summers out. Don’t look 3 plus years out but definitely need to look a few years out. Nurse has grabbed the opportunity and taken his career to another level. The plan is to get him signed up long term at the appropriate time.

Can you re-sign Mike Smith? Mentioned Chellios and a number of players he’s had in to their late 30s and 40s and they’ve won with those players. Not scared of age, look at how guys are playing.

Just want to get in and want to get in playing good. Don’t care who we play. Just want to play our way in and be playing good.


Doesn’t sound he has any intention of bringing up Benson (or Marody) until maybe the Condors are done, and certainly not to slot into the top 6. So that’s probably that unless there are injuries.


Correct: no current plans from what I could tell.


I don’t quite follow Kenny’s math there. If a winger comes up and plays with Connor or Leon they will get more than 8 or 9 minutes. The way the refs have been calling the games there are often very few penalties. Montreal is very effective at 5 x 5 and the Oilers should do everything possible to improve at it as well.

Another top two winger would move Kahun down to a third line with Ennis or Archibald and likely Khaira. They would have the potential to be a competitive line.

Of course if Holland manages to land a legit top LW at the deadline then better yet.


Doesn’t sound like a call-up would be deployed in the top 6.

Cape Breton Oilers 4EVR

I thought Shore-JJ-Chaisson should have played a little more last night. That 3rd line has looked OK to the eye test for a while now. When Shore scored I figured they’d get some more time. Maybe like 2-3 minutes more for them would have the big boys a little fresher. But another top 6 LW is sorely needed on this roster. I’d rather run JJ at 3C and add a LW than add a 3C and keep hoping a LW can get the job done with 97/29. Maybe give Benson a look?

Harpers Hair

TSN rolling out 5G Live View.


I gotta say LT, I must have seen at least a half dozen Russell turnovers by the time the 2nd was over. I am using the eye test but I though he had a rough night.
What actually consists of a turnover?
I watched at least 3 off the glass and outs and at least 3 off the boards and out, to know one in particular.
Maybe I’m fixating on Russell but I gotta believe he turned the puck over more that 3 times.


Turnovers by the NHL standard leave out at least 90% of what I would deem a turnover by watching the game.

For instance – every weak clear of the zone that goes directly to the other team *IS* a turnover, but is not counted. It’s a useless stat.


The NHL Officially for the public tracks giveaways and takeaways and they are useful for tracking for what they narrowly defined as. A giveaway is an unforced error by a player leading to a change of possession to the other team. A takeaway is where an opposing player takes the puck away from an opposing player. For example, the Nurse pass intercepted by Byron leading to the Tatar goal was a takeaway for Byron, not a giveaway by Nurse, because the stats reviewer deemed that Byron’s pressure lead to the takeaway, not that it was an unforced error by Nurse. If Bryon and been 15 feet away and intercepted the pass, that would likely have been an unforced error. Still a mistake by Nurse, but not reflected in the NHL public data other than he and others got a minus.

The dump outs by Russell are not unforced errors, he is doing what the coach wants him to do if he doesn’t have another option he can safely execute. Based on his own passing capabilities, his risk averse nature and who he is deployed with, he uses it more often than others. It’s like a punt in football, considered a change in possession, but not a turnover unless his attempt fails to clear the zone. Nurse might have been better off up 2-1 to have used this strategy at that moment.

There are companies that track much more comprehensive player data on controlled and uncontrolled zone exits and entries, and its available by paid subscription. Jason Gregor has written articles on the Oilers defense (focussed a lot on Nurse) using this data. Tippett is well aware of all of the tendencies that Russell and every other defenceman on his team have, and he still feels more comfortable with Russell in the line up than not right now.

Harpers Hair

Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) Tweeted:
BUF head coach Don Granato says Taylor Hall will not play tonight

Harpers Hair

CapFriendly Depth Charts (@CF_DepthCharts) Tweeted:
Random stat of the day:

G Tristan Jarry (3) has more assists than LW Taylor Hall (2) has goals this season.


Give Jarry $9 million.


For those doubting Ken Holland’s roster construction, which other available options would be an upgrade over him?

For those doubting Dave Tippett’s coaching and lineup decisions, which other available options would be an upgrade on him?


I’m not really one to get too hung up on lines but you’d have to have lived in a cave if you don’t expect someone to mention the trio of Nuge-Drai-Yamo that had some mild success…

90s fan

To me, maybe we have different thoughts than Tip, or than Holland, but to me, all those conversations end with: “But in the end we are getting the best results yet in the McDavid years, so they must be doing something right.”



I don’t believe you can even find too many defenders of the first 2 anymore…

That is 7 million dollars…

Fuge Udvar

Disappointing they weren’t able to close the game out. But also fortunate to get the Bettman considering they aren’t creating many chances.

I would like to see them flip Yamamoto and Puljujarvi. Puljujarvi has had some looks but hasn’t found much chemistry with McDavid lately. Draisaitl needs some help down low. I could see Draisaitl and Puljujarvi being a force on the cycle with Kahun lurking in the weeds where he seems to get most his goals. Yamamoto’s excellent forechecking causes a lot of surprise turnovers that McDavid should be able to capitalize on. I see a Nuge-McDavid-Yamamoto making a quick strike offense line where suddenly they make 2 quick passes and someone is in all alone.

Regardless, that top 6 needs a shake up that isn’t putting McDavid and Draisaitl together and apparently DYN isn’t going to happen.

Last edited 3 months ago by Fuge Udvar

So many players contributing SFA right now. The list is long. Kassian, Kahun, Archibald, Pulu, and probably 5 or 6 more. Some D men are scary… Jones, Russell. I’ll assume Barrie isn’t 100% healthy because he’s a shadow of the player he was a month ago. Anyway, when you have low shots every game winning gets tougher.


I will continue to pump going after Philip Danault if he is allowed anywhere near free agency.

His numbers are out of this world.

Against Elites:

DFF% 59.5%
CF% 56.10

GF 27 / GA 8

He is a magician that makes other teams best players – Disappear.


You drafted and developed McLeod to do that job. Danault comes at the cost of a top six forward.

There have to be value for money contracts on the roster or one is not going to contend.

Yeah you can pay Danault and Barrie, but then one has no one to play with McDavid and Draisaitl.

With Draisaitl and McDavid being paid what they are paid, one has to develop and coach up value for money centres for the 3rd and 4th line centres, in a hard cap system.

And well, McDavid and Draisaitl are being paid to handle tough matchups, so one has to give them the wingers to be able to do that.

Unfriendly Regional Arachnid Individual

Play him in the Nuge role. If you sell him on coming here with “Come split C duties with one of the 2 best Cs in the league”, that’s at least a compelling case. You retain the roster flexibility but get a player that does more of his damage at EV than Nuge. Not sure how the cap works on this next part but then toss some money in the direction of a Saad or Coleman and you’ve got a nice top-6.


Might be spending a bit too much in the top-6 at that point, though. Gotta add something to the 3rd line, too.


Danault replaces Nuge…it is a literal swap.

Unfriendly Regional Arachnid Individual

I support this message. Danault > Nuge


Thank you.


For those on here daily you may recall I’ve suggested that the Oilers play through the neutral zone is the key to the season. We always talk about getting McDavid (and Leon) clean air but I think that misses the mark.

We know Connor leads the NHL in zone entries by a wide margin. The typical play is very simply a D-to-D pass, Connor circles, receives the pass and attacks with speed. Success rate when not countered would be over 75%. Leon must also be top-10 here.

The Habs and Leafs and Backlund and Horvat have created a counter where they follow 97 wherever he goes and impede his ability to even get the puck or if he does get it, he’s at half speed and can be contained.

I’ve got to think this is all Tippett and Gully are thinking about and I noticed two plays last night that really gave me hope.

  1. Connor ran his normal route but Nurse (I think) faked the pass to him and instead fired to Jesse who was open, running a parallel route. This lead to a breakaway and a penalty.
  2. On another play, McDavid came back crazy low and you could see him actually point up the wall. Bear (RD anyway) faked to 97 and fired a stretch to Jesse. Connor used that slight freeze of Danault to take off and because he had come so low he had 50 feet to open up a gap to pick up the Jesse chip to the middle. Clean zone entry.

I’m also seeing a concerted effort for the defense to take that vacated ice left behind 97/29 and their shadows and make the zone entry on their own. Now unfortunately Russell makes God-awful 8 foot backhand passes 10 feet in front of Leon and Bear and Larsson have the slow boots, but the concept makes sense.

Much like a football team bringing 8 in the box to defend the run, you need to find a way to get them to deviate from their game plan. Instead of the Oilers “forcing the run” these counter plays will crack the defense open.

Of course you need puck movers and wingers that can handle puck transport and those aren’t our strengths. Josh Anderson would be nice.

Ice Sage

Appreciate that analysis, the chess match continues!


Great post.


Relying on the powerplay is death. Find a way, boys!


relying on 5 players of 21 is also death, find a way Ken


Will be absolutely comical if Bouchard doesn’t play this week.

but sports really is just entertainment in the end, so whatever works.


Why no Yamo Leon and Ryan? Why haven’t they given Benson a well deserved chance? Why no Stalock? Why hasn’t Holland picked up a pest to help out Leon and Connor as Kahun Ryan Jesse and Yamo are all to laid back. Connor and Leon are taking a beating and our GM is sitting on his thumbs.

Last edited 3 months ago by Reja

I agree that the entire top 6 are too mild-mannered. Need to get some sandpaper in there.


If Bouch plays who do you sit/or do you dress 7 Dmen? Our 3 RHD ahead of him are ahead for a reason.


I suspect Barrie is playing hurt. Either that or give Bear a reset day.


Why does Bear need a rest day?


Give them all a rest alternate them have them physically ready for the real season.


The Oilers are a playoff team, but they are not a cup contender. Holland should sit on his hands at the deadline, unless he’s bringing in a winger with term left on his contract. At least 2 more years after this one.
The problem with this team right now is not the bottom 6. It’s the top 6. You get past McDavid and Draisaitl and no one else is really producing, or even consistently impacting games.
I think the Oilers will be better at every position next year, except goalie. Maaayyybe Smith has another good year in him, but they need to find a long term solution here. They also need to add 1 impact forward. Expecting Holloway or Benson to jump in and save the day next year seems crazy optimistic to me.


Totally agree about the top six. Outside of McDavid and Drai, no one helps push the offence. We need two more top six forwards who can score. They don’t have to be world beaters; more like the many wingers on the Habs. Nuge, JP and Yama are all good players. It’s just not enough. I think this team is better and can possibly win the division, but I don’t think they stand much of a chance I’d they make the final four.


Is this a function of McDavid and Drai taking up so much of the cap? I don’t know, maybe?

and what’s changed from last year when RNH and Yamo seemed to be instrumental in pushing the offence?


RNH and Yamo aren’t pushing offense this year. That’s whats changed.
Is that because Tippett broke up their line with Draisaitl? At this point I’d have to say yes.


We had Zegras he was like a fresh juicy okanagan peach ready to plucked instead Holland picks a flyer on Broberg. How good would Zegras look right now for 1 million in the top 6.


Any team that makes the playoffs has a Cup shot.

Long term sustained success and multiple championships don’t exist in the modern, parity-obsessed NHL.

Go for it. Reload. Repeat.

If you sit there waiting you’ll have a bunch of shiny 3rd place finishes that no one cares about.


Didn’t you think that last year?

They went for it – last year.

Big fail.

Holland just mentioned this again….now cupboard is empty.


Holland’s express philosophy is to have “multiple chances” – to build a team that will be in the playoffs year after year after year. He has stated this from day 1 and multiple times since then, including today.

He also talks about, if the team is performing at a high level, trying to do something to give them some help. He talked about that at last year’s deadline and made some moves. He talked about it today as well.

Trying to help the team but also ensuring that it doesn’t materially hurt the “multiple chances” is Holland’s philosophy and I’m not sure if that fits in to “going for it” in a paying large for rentals.


On the typing goal, Mike Smith passed the puck to a defensemen who was covered by three Hab forwards, with Byrum (I think) closely marking Nurse. The two wingers had already (Archibald and Kassian) had already scedaddled.

The Habs were prepared for the “Mike Smith” pass. Their forwards knew exactly where to go to make it three on one where every option for the D would be covered.

Even if Nurse had decided to eat the puck in the corner, the Oiler wingers were long gone, and it would have been three on one in the corner.

Pretty easy for the Habs to guess that Smith is going to the Nurse side, rather than to the Barrie/Kassian side.

90s fan

I mean, first off, people make mistakes.

But the thing is, I don’t think Smith made a mistake. He had 1 option: Nurse. And Nurse had 2 or 3 moments of space when the puck hit his stick.

Nurses pass then hits a stick. Would have been great if it did connect, but it did not. It looked like his SUPPORTING WINGER (yes there is winger support there) may have been the right call. Look again (

I think get it up the boards is the right play. But great job by the Habs on this one.


There was a Habs forward between Nurse and Archibald on the boards.


Actually there wasn’t. There was a Hab covering Archie, but Archie had position on him if the puck went up the boards. The Hab was also cheating towards Has.


No. There was a Habs forward between Nurse and Haas. One between Nurse and Archibald, and one between Nurse and a reversal to Barrie. It was three on one, with all the outlets covered. And the Oilers wingers had already turned up towards the blueline.

90s fan

I have the replay on pause. On the boards, the winger (Archie?) definitely has position, and would likely get the puck beyond the blue line at least.

That being said, its like Redbird says.


That’s simply not true.


Just because you want this to not be on Nurse doesn’t make it true, no matter how many times you post this. Nurse had the puck with plenty of time.

And using your own logic there was a Hab between Smith and Barrie. There was no Hab between Smith and Nurse. Again Nurse had the puck with plenty of time.

Last edited 3 months ago by Sierra

And even Nurse after the game took full responsibility, while at the same time said he wasn’t going to beat himself up over it, just needed make a better play next time. He emphasized, yes we would like to win, but not to get to low, stay on an even keel and be ready for the next one.

That quick pass back into the middle for a breakout has been what the Oilers have been working on the past two seasons, since without it the Oilers were always getting forever hemmed in their own end only ever going up the wall. Playfair even conceded once in a while it will come back to bite you, but they need to keep doing it to not be predictable about just going up the wall. Haas was in good position to take the pass if Nurse had gotten it through.

Last edited 3 months ago by Redbird62

No, your assessment of the tying goal is not correct.

You said last night that Archie had “flown the zone” – no, he had not move up anticipating the breakout but was on the wall, well within the defensive zone.

Archibald was FAR from long gone. He was half way between the circles and the blueline on the boards.

Nurse took that pass with time and space. Even if he had zero “clean options” there are MANY better options than the high risk pass to the middle that he decided on. Put it up the boards, put it off the glass and out, flip it out, etc. He had time and space and made a bad decision that resulted in a goal against.


We very well look to have a goalie who could catch lightning and steal games. He also is making some absolutely perfect stretch passes that come to mind.

We also have two stars who will not lightly just accept that this year its a lot easier to dial in on opponent habits due to consistent matches of small group of teams.

This is good playoff level training IMO.

If McDavid has proven one thing he refuses to accept any limitation seemingly placed on top of him. Personally with a playoff spot near locked this adversity against the top end of division will make this team a lot more dangerous in longer run. The opponents have already sprung their traps. Good for now but maybe not great when chips are down.

While sometimes I do find the lead time on tippet adapting is too long. His long game is solid. This also plays into his more methodical strengths.

Last edited 3 months ago by maudite

The Oilers have been figured out in OT and we’re no longer a dominant OT team.


Look, that OT goal is on the goalie, no?


The OT problem is more like “Tippett has lost the plot”.


How so?


Playing McDavid and Draisaitl for 4 of the 5 minutes, so they are so tired they make bad decisions, like Draisaitl last night. Like McDavid, earlier in the year.


What about Nurse? Didn’t he play about the same mount of minutes and was also culpable on the OT GA?

cowboy bill

Nonsense all they need to do is win a faceoff and maintain possession . The same as any team in 3 on 3 OT .


97 & 29 felt like it was automatic 3v3 a few years ago, but the last couple of years it felt that teams would play super conservative against them to start the OT, wait for them to get tired after a 2 minute shift, and counter.

But yeah, Smith could have had a couple of them back I think last night.


For whatever reason Nurse didn’t go at him at all. Just said “here, shoot it!”


Overtime is man coverage. Staal was Draisaitl’s man. Nurse delayed moving to cover Staal because he was tracking and covering his mark, Petry.

Draisaitl went for a double team on McDavid’s man, Toffoli, which left Staal free.

Fatigue leads to bad decisions.


I agree, fatigue leads to be bad decisions. Might explain why Nurse was hanging back and not challenging the shooter.


Lavoie tenacious in the neutral zone a few times and creates a bad pass turnover and the puck is moved forward to Lavoie for the breakaway – nice move, goes fivehole but its stopped. Lavoie pokes at it prior to the whistle and somehow goes tot he box for slashing – wild penalty call.


Nurse’s man was the Habs’ defenseman? Please

Litke 94

Weird game last night. Absolutely throttled in the first, way better second, and then a strange third.

LT has been saying all season that momentum in this division swings like a drunken sailor. That’s a bang on assessment.

It makes you wonder just what the playoffs will be like. Montreal is about to embark on a month of hell, now without Gallagher and maybe Price for a couple of games. What will that team look like by May?

All four playoff teams have had at least one stretch in their season where they have played poorly for a stretch of 3-6 games. And all four playoff teams have had at least one stretch where they have all looked like world beaters.

I have exactly zero clue how these first two playoff rounds are going to go, no matter who ends up playing who.

Last edited 3 months ago by Litke 94
Silver Streak

Contrary to our host`s opinion,Ottawa is playing a solid game now, a Calgary type game, but quicker and with a better D corps….Forsberg ( remember him ) was lights out last game.


Watched the 1st, slept through the 2nd & saw the rest. LT says Jones had 5 shits. That would account for his reduced ice time. We’ll have to monitor the shits/60 to see what makes this team better.
Free the Bouch…🤣


Jones played five shits (3:46 running time) and Bear played seven shifts (6:34 running time) 

Is this one of those Freudian slips?? LOL