There Will Be Blood

by Lowetide

The Edmonton Oilers and Montreal Canadiens played the best game of the year last night at Rogers. The refs put the whistles away for much of the game and the Habs scored a working goal early in the second period to set up the thrilling final period.

Connor McDavid set his jaw, Dave Tippett moved Ethan Bear on to the Nurse pairing, and the Oilers flattened the Canadiens in a dizzying 3+ minutes in the final frame. I’ll remember that game for a long time. It was fantastic entertainment.

THE ATHLETIC!

I’m proud to be writing for The Athletic, and pleased to be part of a great team with Daniel Nugent-Bowman and Jonathan Willis. Here is our recent work.

OILERS AFTER 44 GAMES

  • Oilers in 2015-16: 17-23-4, 38 points; goal differential -26
  • Oilers in 2016-17: 22-15-7, 51 points; goal differential +4
  • Oilers in 2017-18: 18-23-3, 39 points; goal differential -25
  • Oilers in 2018-19: 21-20-3, 45 points; goal differential -11
  • Oilers in 2019-20: 22-17-5, 49 points; goal differential -6
  • Oilers in 2020-21: 27-15-2, 56 points; goal differential +15

This Oilers team has the best record of the McDavid era and is miles better than all but the 2016-17 group based on goal differential. I’m not sure how to balance this year’s record against the competition and the previous seasons, but these are blinding heights compared to 2017-18.

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM APRIL

  • At home to: Calgary (Expected: 1-0-0) (Actual 1-0-0)
  • On the road to: Montreal, Ottawa, Ottawa, Calgary (Expected: 3-1-0) (Actual 2-1-1)
  • On the road to: Winnipeg (Expected 0-1-0) (Actual 1-0-0)
  • At home to: Montreal, Montreal (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 1-0-0)
  • 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)
  • Expected April record: 7-4-0, 14 points in 11 games
  • Actual April record: 5-1-1, 11 points in 7 games

Edmonton is approaching my projected point total with four games left in the month, there is the potential for the Oilers to hit 60 points by the end of April. There are 8 May games. Remember when we agreed 62-64 points would be the playoff line? Oilers could pass that total with five games left in the year. The team is also just one point behind Winnipeg with a game in hand.

SQUEEZING OUT SPARKS

I’m not going to do the usual because Jujhar Khaira’s injury and a shift in pairings gave us little of value. Here are the major observations:

  • Mike Smith is good. His only GA was on a shot headed miles wide until it hit a skate blade. He owns a .923 SP, that ranks him No. 6 among NHL starters. At even strength, his .925 has him in a tie for No. 11 overall.
  • I had these observations after the second period:
  • Midway through the game, Dave Tippett moved Ethan Bear (who had his best game of the year) to the top pairing with Darnell Nurse. The duo clicked immediately, playing 9:28, going 12-2 shots, 2-0 goals and 7-0 HDSC.
  • Once Jujhar Khaira went down, Tippett shuffled the lines like a Vegas blackjack dealer and came up with an interesting trio: Archibald-McDavid-Puljujarvi. Lord knows how long it lasts, or if we see it again, but in 5:33 they went 8-0 shots, 3-0 goals, 6-0 HDSC and 13-2 Corsi for five on five. That’s a stunning stat set. Archibald had three HDSC.
  • Ethan Bear had a goal and played very well, his passing is such an effective weapon. He needs to be on the ice with skill forwards, as he was tonight, and the magic happens.
  • Caleb Jones is coming on, too, he was taking over more minutes but an elbow to his head from Paul Byron got him out of sync for a time. He’s a fine young player.
  • McDavid put his stamp on the game and it was over the minute he found Bear with the pass. Shortly after he found the puck at his own blue line (Jesse Puljujarvi made a brilliant play on Tomas Tatar to the turnover) Captain Fantastic flew up the ice, split the seam, sent the puck shelf and cooled the jets in time to remain intact. We’ve seen variations of that play dozens of times, but it never gets tiresome. He’s a joy to watch play the game.
  • Puljujarvi had a great game, scoring a goal, adding an assist and making the Tatar takeout seconds before the 97 goal.
  • I’ve said this before but to me Barrie looks less effective than earlier in the year. That often means injury. For the season, Nurse-Barrie have played 558 minutes, with a 37-27 goal differential five on five. Shot differential 49 percent, expected goals 48.6 percent. Since March 29, the duo is 1-5 goals in six games, 36 percent shot share. Without Nurse in those games, Barrie is 0-2; vice versa, Nurse is 1-0. Something is happening.

BOB MCKENZIE’S LIST

I’ll have USA, Sweden, Russia, Finland and the Hinterlands in the coming days, looking to get this done by the end of the month and will publish my top 120 June 1 (as I do every year). Will tell you the more I drill down on this draft (McKenzie list is here) the more I like Zachary L’Heureux.

PULJUJARVI’S GOALS

JP now ranks in a tie for No. 2 on the Oilers roster in goals-60 at five on five. Connor McDavid (1.04) leads the pack, Draisaitl is tied with young Puljujarvi, Dominik Kahun is .81 and Kailer Yamamoto is .70. That’s an extremely young group and the big winger is having success in a key area. I’m glad for him.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

At 10 this morning on TSN 1260, we’ll drill down on one of the most memorable games in the last couple of years. Andrew Peard, Edmonton Oil Kings play-by-play broadcaster will pop in at 10:40 to talk about the Oil Kings on McKenzie’s list and how well they’re playing. Kenny Ducey from Draft Kings will pop in at 11 and we’ll go around the horn on MLB’s season so far. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!

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dangilitis

One last thing. Holland doesn’t get enough credit for reclaiming a first round pick in Jesse. Handled situation as best as one could imagine, and all Oilers fans have been rewarded. More importantly, a young talented player’s dream of an NHL career is being fulfilled.

dangilitis

With RNH likely back tomorrow it makes a lot of sense to run

Archibald-McDavid-Puljujarvi
RNH-Draisaitl-Yamamoto
Kahun-Haas-Chiasson
Nygard-Shore-Kassian

Ideally Kassian could play up in 3rd line role and play aggressive like Yamamoto was doing, but too much of an ask at this point.

Quick aside: does anyone know what is going on with Neal? This isn’t just age or lack of interest, seems like something post COVID. Did it just put him behind the 8-ball when it came to endurance?

tileguy

So, 5 points out of first with 2 games in hand. Do we really want to finish first and meet Montreal? I druther see them beat on the Leafs and soften them up for us in the second round.

OriginalPouzar

Honestly, while the regular season shows that Winnipeg should be the “preferred opponent”, the playoffs are a different beast and that may not be so in the second season.

The Oil will need to beat two out of WIN, MTL and TOR in order to move out of the North and they absolutely can beat any of those teams in a 7-game series.

Health, goaltending a bit of luck.

Brogan Rafferty's Uncle Steve

Despite the Oilers record against the Jets, I am most scared of that match-up. Hellebuyck is the best goalie in the division. Good goalies in the playoffs, a tale as old as time.

Brogan Rafferty's Uncle Steve

The Habs are not a good team. Look at Georgesx post below. They are the ideal first round opponent.

Let the Laughs and Jets beat each other up in the first round.

OriginalPouzar

The Leafs have a goals against issue and David Rittich is NOT the answer!

Lucinius

Outside of that stretch with Campbell, the Leafs have had a question mark in net all season. They’ve been able to out-score it most of the year, but now.. now they’re struggling to score 4+ goals every game.

TheGreatBigMac

The interesting part to me is next year Toronto needs a goalie upgrade but also want to resign Hyman who should get a raise. Hyman would be great at LW for the Oil, it’s a long shot for sure but Toronto doesn’t have much cap to work with, you never know.

Last edited 25 days ago by TheGreatBigMac
Our Edmonton Operation

I was pulling for the Canucks to hit the Leafs’ empty net. They were up two goals already but it would’ve sealed the deal. But it was comical watching Boeser miss twice, and then Pearson and Horvat missed. Finally Sutter put the Leafs out of their misery.

oilsnc79

The young oil did a fine job. I caught the third, thanks for the updates Op.
I think they will be quite fine without their center.

OriginalPouzar

Benson took over in that 3rd period as the puck transporter – never really been his role but he was prominent as the game wore on.

OriginalPouzar

Wonderful full team effort to beat a very good Henderson team on the road.

I’m quite impressed with the progression of the some of the d-man. Deharnais, who will probably never get an NHL contract, is miles better this year than last – quite a presence defensively.

Moreso, both Kemp and Kesselring are really starting to settle in and are playing solid defensive minutes. You can see the potential in Kesslering with that size – he’ll need a few year though.

OriginalPouzar

Griffith with the empty netter after a Malone clear.

OriginalPouzar

Malone with the insurance goal late – Lennstrom hits Malone back-door after a great hard-working shift for the middle six.

3-1 with 2:30 to go.

OriginalPouzar

Condors with a wonderful looking PP but can’t cash – Lavoie had two shots blocked from the right side circles.

Griffith then takes a bad penalty – the kill is going well but then Henderson gets some pressure – a shot goes off a skate leading to a big rebound that is potted.

2-1 Condors with 13 to go in the 3rd.

OriginalPouzar

Second period has been much better for the Condors, carrying the play much more this period and creating some chances. Lavoie just missed a point blank chance from the slot and Griffith foiled shortly after. New top line (with Safin) starting to gel a bit and getting more zone time.

Marody took a massive hit in the neutral zone to make a play – my heart stop but he popped right back up, no worse for wear. The line then cycles a bit and Benson with a wonderful little pass from behind the net to Marody and, boom, 2-0.

Skinner has been dialed in.

1:42 left in the 2nd.

Giggleplex

Lavoie seems to be labouring a bit in his skating. Perhaps an injury?

OriginalPouzar

Perhpas but it could just be a function of him needing to improve his overall strength and skating. He’s got decent speed when he gets going but doesn’t have great edges or lateral mobility…… he’ll improve.

Giggleplex

Thought he looked faster the other times I’ve watched him. I do think he could work on his conditioning though. He seems to get tired rather quickly.

OriginalPouzar

Yup, strength and conditioning – almost always something rookie pros learn they need to work on after a year in the AHL. The jump from junior to the AHL is massive.

McLeod, Sammy, Maksimov all learned this last year.

Even Bouch took some time to get up to speed last year and he’s known for his fitness.

Last edited 25 days ago by OriginalPouzar
oilsnc79

Marody short side. 2 0

OriginalPouzar

He’s been reading Godot’s posts…..

I agree re: increased shot volume.

OriginalPouzar

A fairly low event first period from the Condors – couldn’t get much sustained in the offensive zone against a stingy Henderson team.

Top line was much less dynamic (and slower) with Safin over McLeod.

With that said, some good work for the 4th line at the end of the period, hard work and they bang one in as the clock expires. Devin Brosseau banged it in.

Condors take a 1-0 lead to the intermission.

OriginalPouzar

Kevin Gravel is such an average AHL d-man and very “meh” in transition with “meh” at best passing accuracy – I don’t see how I ever thought he was a serviceable 3rd pairing d-man at the NHL level…..

OriginalPouzar

There it is – Safin starting with Benson and Marody.

OriginalPouzar

Lavoie starting the game with Cracknell and Griffith so no bump up for him to start.

Reja

I wonder if Holland inquired about Bennet I imagine Treliving wanted a 1st and a prospect say Benson being that they’re in the same division.

Last edited 25 days ago by Reja
OriginalPouzar

Skinner starts tonight.

Malone will play (he had another kid today but made it in time).

Will probably have to wait to game time to see what the lines look like.

Drai by Shooting

Is it just me or is anyone else enjoying seeing Bennett producing in Florida. A bit of a slap in the face to Calgary no? 2 more goals so far tonight.

OriginalPouzar

Sure am enjoying it.

Moreso than the Adam Fox success (as they were kind of forced in to that one).

Drai by Shooting

Yes i agree. Although he didn’t play for us i feel the same way about Marino as Fox. Or similarly. Bennett didn’t have to go. He seemed better under Sutter somewhat

OriginalPouzar

Yup, similar to Marino.

The main difference, to me, being biased, is that Fox was highly touted at the time of the trade whereas Marino was certainly not and his success last season was a big surprise. Also, Marino has had a fairly massive regression year.

Georgexs

So, yeah, turns out PP opportunities ARE down since Peel was fired.

Up to Mar. 24th, the median team had 3.12 PP Opp/GP.

Since then, the median team has had 2.73 PP Opp/GP.

This could be the refs scaling back on discretionary game management calls. Who knows?

Also, who knows if it’ll last into the playoffs. I know it’s a favorite phrase, but refs don’t put away their whistles come playoff time. PP Opp/GP are generally higher in the playoffs (again using the median team for comparison). This is mostly (but not entirely) explained by longer average game length in the playoffs (due to sudden death OT).

If the Peel firing causes refs to decrease discretionary calls (maybe because they’re being assigned game grades that are more dependent on what they call than what they miss) that’s an overall good thing. There weren’t any makeup calls yesterday after the Oilers tied it up for example even though the Oilers had two more PP Opps by that point.

Cassandra’s list of obligatory calls (easy to spot, hard to second guess) is mostly right. I’d add infractions that take away or create scoring opportunities. Maybe the league is still focused on slashes to the hands. Players seem to have adapted to that directive though.

Refereeing is probably hard.

Tarkus

LT saith unto his followers:

Will tell you the more I drill down on this draft (McKenzie list is here) the more I like Zachary L’Heureux.

Interesting to note L’Heureux is slotted #27 on the Bobfather’s list, since both Pronman and Wheeler have him at #28. And Mike Morreale at NHL.com has him at #30.

Early days, but perhaps his draft position seems to be surrounded?

McNuge93

Well since our first pick will slot in at #32 drafting him there will look pretty good.

SoCaloil

Bear was the catalist for McDavid’s goal.
He read the Habs breakout like a book, held em up long enough for reinforcements to come. He earned an apple but technicalities.

OriginalPouzar

Will be interesting to see what Woody does with the top line tonight sans McLeod.

One would think that Marody would shift back to center and Lavoie could move up to the right wing.  

At the same time, Lavoie is really settling in with Griffith and Cracknell – a couple of good veterans for the rookie to play with.   

Given that, I wouldn’t be surprised it they put someone like Stukel or Hamlin on the top line and keep the other two lines the same (Espoisto/Malone/Joe G. and Lavoie/Cracknell/Griffith).

Two in a row against first place Henderson coming up.  

Should be fun.

€√¥£€^$

I can see Lavoie with Benny & Roady

And Safin taking Lavoie’s spot (hopefully)

OriginalPouzar

Tip said that he spoke to JJ today and “he’s feeling good, he’s feeling fine today” – they are going to do some tests today and they’ll see where it goes over the next few days but JJ says he’s feeling 100% normal.

Nuge skated today, a hard practice today. We’ll see if he’s cleared in the morning by the doctors and, if he does, he may play tomorrow.

For me, at this point, it may make sense to give Nuge one more game because its a full 5 more days if they do.

Ice Sage

As crazy as it sounds, the Oilers have played better without him?!?

OriginalPouzar

The Oilers played a couple of their best games of the 2019/20 season when McDavid was out.

The team played two games without Nuge prior to their break – they were not pretty.

Lets not forget quite how drained the team was, mentally as much as anything else, a week ago…….. all that time in hotels.

greenshifter

Missing him on the PP though.

Rebillled

DeBrusk mentioned it briefly but did Perry try to knee McDavid in the first 5 minutes?

The camera kinda flashed at something at centre but you could tell something pissed McDavid off big time and was never mentioned again.

SwedishPoster

A few things I’ve noticed in the two games since the forced break. First of all overall team movement is much improved, every player on the ice is very active in finding new ice which helps the passing game. It also seems like more guys are trying to make plays more often, not just the usual suspects but the bottom of the lineup are attempting actual skill plays almost every shift. This could be a bi-product of the better movement creating more space but it’s like someone injected the whole lineup with confidence.
Noone more so than Jesse, he’s looked more like a guy on the ice with two great players when playing with McDrai rather than “holy crap I’m on the ice with McDrai I better play well” that was more the case before which translated into him very naturally elevating himself to McDavid’s right hand man when the duo was split up. He’s obviously been coming on all year but to my eye there’s a new level of comfort.

Let’s hope they can maintain this fluid, confident and entertaining style of play down the stretch and into the playoffs.

ASkoreyko

Nice to see McDavid recognize the backchecking effort by Puju to shake loose the puck for his own goal. McDavid obviously does really well off the rush like that and having big Jesse creating havoc like that all over the ice will generate “off plan” scenarios like that where McDavid can easily take advantage. McDavid seems to thrive on chaos and Jesse seems built to create that with his work ethic and long reach.

I also think Jesse deserves some extra credit on his breakaway for picking up the McDavid pass essentially in his skates while still maintaining his lead over the dman. Watching him then move the puck up and effectively out of the reach of either dman further drives home the huge advantage he has with his stick.

Georgexs

MTL isn’t a good team.

They started 7-1-2 and had the league’s best offense. In games played since then, their offense ranks 26th. I think they’re closer to 26th than 1st. Price is lights out against us this year, not so great against the rest of the league. Their defense is ho-hum.

Having said that, really looking forward to them getting their act together in time to play TOR in the first round, scheduled to start a few weeks after the Leafs have held their annual parade.

Dustylegnd

 I have a competition in me. I want no-one else to succeed.

It was Holland who told me about Puljujarvi. He’s the prophet. He’s the smart one. He knew what was there. He found me to bring him back from Finland.

You’re not the chosen one Mathews. ‘Twas Mcdavid who was chosen. See, he found me and told me about your weakness. You and Mitch are just fools! Joe proved it last night!

Numenius

That game felt like a turning point.

Beforehand they didn’t know if they could impose their will on a chippy, bullying, veteran team (like Anaheim in the playoffs). Now they do. Montreal won’t dominate them again this year.

OriginalPouzar

Unless he is injured, I just don’t see them sitting Barrie, even with the playoffs wrapped up. Maybe for a game but he is going to play down the stretch.

Love or hate his game, think he helps or hurts the team, either way, Tyson Barrie did indeed choose to sign with the Oilers as a UFA for less money he could have received elsewhere. He has proceeded to play exactly as the organization hoped and is among the top offensive producers at his position.

Sitting that player down the stretch as he heads in to free agency would likely hinder future UFA procurement.

pts2pndr

They aren’t going to sit Barrie unless he is injured or they may rest him down the stretch to have him fresh for the playoffs.
curious OP has there been any info on Samorukov’s shoulder injury. Did it require surgery and if so will he be ready for training camp this fall?

OriginalPouzar

I haven’t seen any updates on Sammy’s status (although I haven’t really looked). As far as the info at the time, I don’t think there was danger of not being ready for camp.

pts2pndr

Thanks I was worried there might have had to be surgery.

Klam

They need to sit him if they think his game is what is going to help them in the playoffs. They have Bouchard in the wings to hold the fort. Get him healthy so he can be the best he can be “IN THE PLAYOFFS”.

Simple, “We are giving Barrie some games off to help a lingering issue so he can help us power through the first round.”

OriginalPouzar

If there is a “lingering issue” – if the player is healthy, its tough to sit him.

Dustylegnd

Will be really interesting to see if Barrie chooses a value team friendly deal in return for a great fit and success and a possible cup or money…based on what I know about him, it will be the latter

jp

Wtf?

What do we know about Barrie?

Darth Tu

I read that as a possible cup OF money at first glance. And I was like, cup of money, cup of tea, aka small serving.

Hopefully that’s the way it goes and not the huge contract for a bottom feeder route.

Unless we win the Cup this year and he decides he’s happy with one ring. Then fair enough, go get paid.

Brogan Rafferty's Uncle Steve

How does sitting Barrie hinder UFA procurement?

Coaches dressing the best possible line-up every night sends the message that the team cares about winning. Players want to play on teams that win.

If a UFA wants to be handed cherry minutes regardless of performance the Oilers do not want that player.

OriginalPouzar

I think I explained my thoughts on that in the initial post.

Barrie has done pretty much exactly what management hoped he would do when he signed – he’s one of the top offensive producing d-men in the league – playing him would not be “regardless of performance” – it would be based on performing as hoped.

Scungilli Slushy

I have criticized Tipp a few times recently. One thing I do like at least reg season is his steadiness and direction to the team about focusing on their game.

The other team is going to do things. He says worry about what we do and our plan and it will take care of itself.

I think it’s true, but the other benefit is it helps the team focus inward.

Montreal and Toronto seem to get drawn into their own and media narratives.

I suppose it helps the Oilers at this point that everyone expects them to not play strongly as a group and will fail.

Lets hope that the corner has been taken and it’s on to the next phase. It seems there is smoke on the horizon for the other two.

OriginalPouzar

Do we honestly think that Tippett/Playfair are going to scratch Russell for Jones going in to the playoffs?

Jones has been playing better, more confident and consistent and making fewer defensive mistakes. I would be very comfortable with Jones/Larsson and Kulikov/Barie (or even switching the lefties) but I don’t see it happening subject to Russell injury or regression.

Paddy Morans Jockstrap

Kulikov will make a real difference. It gives us another solid LHD who can cover for Barrie (we have none aside from Nurse). This cuts back Nurses minutes and gives us another LHD for the PK. He can also form a very nasty pair with Larsson that can protect a late lead. I’m hoping he fits in and stays another year. Best case for next year with and without Klef:

Nurse Bear
Klef (Jones) Lars
Kulikov Bouchard
Sammy

Klam

Unless we see a trade out, or Klef does not come back we have our 4 LD.

Nurse
Klefbom
Jones/Lagesson which ever does not get picked up by SKraken
Krusty

ashley

Barrie is not injured. He’s skating as well as he ever has. It’s not his body that’s the problem. It’s the decision activity in his head that creates all the problems.

Nurse Barrie has always been a clumsy pairing. Nurse has covered him off well, but it was nice to see Tip go back to a very successful combination from last year in Bear-Nurse. He also has been doing it at other times during the year at the end of tight games.

He doesn’t trust Barrie for good reason. That is why Barrie keeps finding himself with a new jersey every season or two. The point total is meaningless. Nurse or Bear could have the same or more if they were given the same opportunity.

My theory is that Holland doesn’t want Nurse or Bear to have a 70 point season because they are long term solutions that need to be signed at reasonable prices. A 70 point season amplified by playing pivot with CMD-Drai-RNH eliminates any chance of signing a Dman for fair value.

Bill Clinternet

Bear would just magically have jumped from 21 points to 70 points if he would have played on the first pairing all year?

ashley

Yes.

JimmyV1965

i’m always very very skeptical of narratives that the GM tells coaches how to fill out lineup cards based on future contract negotiations. Really doubt this happens .

ashley

To be clear, I don’t know if this is actually happening. Just throwing something against the wall.

OriginalPouzar

I agree with Jimmy – I don’t think for a second that Tip is deploying his roster with future (or present) contract implications as a factor.

Sierra

Of course he’s not. Has any coach in the modern era done anything as ridiculous as this suggestion.

Scungilli Slushy

To me Barrie is an instinctive player. Which is why the dog whistles get him, many offensive players are like this.

Nurse was also an instinctive player, and it led to the bees chasing. The difference this year is he is also thinking and making far better decisions, it was his final step in development.

Barrie never got there.

northerndancer

I see Barrie as a good example of how to run a 5 player offensive unit. He has been successful at jumping into the offensive play and this is a good example for some of the younger players who have been timid. His lack of wheels has surprised me as I recall his offensive effectiveness for the Avs. He makes a good 3rd pair guy now that Bear is healed. On the other hand, he should not be signed for big bucks because Bouchard also fits this role for a year or so until he becomes more established. IMHO

Klam

Your first two paragraphs are spot on, but Barrie is special in producing points. He sees and tries things that others either dont, or have been coached not to. Barrie will produce more points, but on the flip side, he will also give up more points.

winchester

Here is a good question, and not intended to poke anyone in the eye.

After viewing the last two games, would you now be more likely to spend assets on deadline acquisition s?

Durag

Absolutely. Great wins but zero 5v5 offence without McDavid on the ice. Also, the last 2 games have featured championship caliber goaltending. I’m not saying that means the goaltending will be at that level throughout the playoffs, but it’s enough of a sample size to justify rolling the dice on loading up a bit.

edit: Smith’s season has been enough of a sample size, not saying 2 games is

Last edited 25 days ago by Durag
Keeper_13

For me, it’s not a large enough sample size to factor into the long term strategic plan of the team. Super encouraging though, and fantastically entertaining.

Abbeef

For me it doesn’t change anything. 1)Kulikov fills a big hole for this year in a 2nd pairing D (Hopefully one that meshes well with Barrie) for a minimal cost.
2) I feel the team is good enough to win a round or 2 as is, which is great for experience and morale.
3) Lastly I feel the contending window opens after this off-season and if managed correctly (keep developing good young players) stays open until the end of the McDavid contract.

Last edited 25 days ago by Abbeef
OriginalPouzar

Per Stauffer:

Best NHL Records Since Jan. 29th:

Colorado: 25-6-4 (.771)
Vegas: 27-10-1 (.724)
Edmonton: 24-9-2 (.714)
Carolina: 26-9-5 (.713)
NY Islanders: 25-9-4 (.711)

Of course, inferior opponents, Yada, yada, yada

OriginalPouzar

Nuge fully practicing today.

OriginalPouzar

Per Gazzola:

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins practicing today. 8 forwards & 8 d-men on the ice. Koskinen & Stalock in net. McDavid, Draisaitl, Kassian, Kahun, Puljujarvi, Archibald, Nurse & Smith not skating. Khaira banged up after collision with Romanov last night, not skating.

Boil-in-the-Oil

I’m super worried about Khaira’s condition. His block got rocked again, after only a short spell of healthy play, following getting KO’d a couple of weeks ago. It is entirely possible we may not see one of my favourite players again this season.

I’m sure our medical staff will be sure he is completely OK before letting him anywhere near competitive play. Best wishes Jujhar.

fishman

Jesse had a whale of a game last night! His post game interview was almost painful to watch. His English is better but has a long way to go. Kudos to him for participating! His last comment was that he had never played in a game that hard!!! More to come Jesse!!!!!!

DieHard

Everybody was playing up tempo. Seemed like every pass was going north.

Our Edmonton Operation

This saying can be overused but last night Puljujarvi looked real and spectacular. He’s had a good season but last night he was rewarded with points and he looked good doing so. I’m convinced that if McDavid had gotten him the puck on the two on nothing, Puljujarvi would have scored, and we’d have to find a saying better than real and spectacular.

Primetime

When I watched in real time I thought Connor DID give him the puck the first time and expected him to go in and score…JP needs to find the confidence to understand he can be a star too…he still defers to getting the puck to Connor no matter what the situation. Leon is one of, if not THE, best passer in the game and he has realized when he plays with Connor, don’t be afraid to be the trigger man.

Hopefully JP’s eventual goal later cements it in his head that he can go in and bury it himself. Once that light goes on, I think that duo will be unstoppable.

Last edited 25 days ago by Primetime
Redbird62

Possible interestings stats of the week:

With 5 points in his last 2 games, Connor has just passed Milan Lucic for career regular season points. Milan has 539 in 1003 games, Connor now has 543 in 395 games. Next up on the active player lists are Eberle, Kucherov, Mackinnon and James Neal. He trails MacKinnon by 5 points, but MacKinnon has more games left this season, so he may stay ahead of Connor this season.

Leon needs 2 to tie and 3 to pass Marco Sturm for the all time career regular seasons points total for a German player. He will pass Sturm who had 487 points in 938 games. Leon will need roughly half that many games as he is at 485 in 466 games. Dany Heatley was born in Germany, but only because his Calgary born Dad was playing professional hockey there.

kgo

Deutsche eishockey konig….translates to German hockey king

Litke 94

Last week, I did a small post about cup-winning teams and how many playoff attempts they needed in a close to consecutive manner in order to win a championship. Lightning, Caps, Blues, all ranged around 7-10 consecutive playoff attempts before finally winning the big one – which seems like an eternity. (All three teams had a missed playoff appearance amidst their run but the point remains the same)

Watching Marleau’s celebration last night, and I was thinking about how crazy it was that he didn’t win a Cup, and then I went back to look at the Sharks’ numbers.

Since 1997/1998, there have been 22 seasons. The Sharks have made the playoffs in 19/22 of those seasons. 19 playoff attempts in 22 seasons, including a stretch of 10 purely consecutive playoff seasons, which is more consecutive playoff appearances than the Lightning, Capitals, Blues, Penguins, Kings, Blackhawks were ever able to string together.

The Sharks’ playoff ineptitude has been well-recorded, but when I seen it splayed out like that, I was pretty stunned.

I am not sure how long it will take to see another team put together 19 playoff seasons in 22 years without winning a Cup, if ever. Too bad for Marleau, I always thought he deserved one.

Kraz

a lot of that should fall on Todd McLellan. That guy had an elite team for years with elite players in their prime and they couldn’t get past the second round. In a seven game series he could never make adjustments and would always get out coached. Probably not a coincidence the year after he leaves they finally make it to the cup final.

Litke 94

That could very well be the case. Coaching in the playoffs is huge.

Despite what we say about MacT, in 2006 he had a strategic plan for success, the team stuck to it, and we damn near won a Cup.

John Chambers

Even teams with elite talent have to adjust their lineup and tactics over a long series.

I thought McLellan did a pretty good job of adjusting in the Anaheim series his one playoff here. Wasn’t out-coached by Peter DeBoer in that series either although Martin Jones didn’t help De Boer much.

yeraslob

One should not dismiss Calgary for playoff ineptitude… in the past and in recent history. First round participation ribbons galore! The free space on the playoff bingo card if you will. They were bounced in the 1st round yet again last year as I recall. And, after winning the Cup in ’89, they never bothered winning another playoff round for the next 15 years. At least the Sharks won a few rounds here and there.

John Chambers

The Flames best the Canucks in rd 1 in 2015.

yeraslob

Ah yes, getting by an older team led by the declining Sedins. If memory serves, that’s the only 1st round win for the flames since 2004. Like I said, playoff ineptitude… I don’t know if there’s another team with a more pathetic playoff record than the flames in the last 30 years… quite the feat. As the resident troll said at the time, the flames “went deep” that year. Winning all of one game in the second round is going deep apparently. You see, the resident troll also trolls Oiler stories on Sportsnet where he’s a flames fan.

4sberg

We cheered so loud on that McDavid goal we scared the dogs. I’ve watched that highlight about 10 times this morning and the smile never fades. What a talent! Love to see JP’s progression – that breakaway just felt like a goal the minute he crossed the blueline. Confidence is a crazy thing in hockey. He knows he can score in this league and his defensive play is finally getting noticed. I think it was always there and underlying metrics have hinted at the story for this kid the whole time – glad the eye test is revealing the same info now.

winchester

For any Oilers reading, you may not hear it in the building, but the cheering is happening in front of thousands and thousands of TV screens. Big thank you for the pandemic entertainment.

Whaler Slamamoto

If I was an Oiler I would definitely read these comments!

winchester

To the Oilers who may be reading. Although the fans could not raise the roof in the building last night, it is still happening out here in front of thousands of TV screens. Thank you for the entertainment particularly in the pandemic environment.

David

I thought Jesse was going to get caught, but it seemed like after controlling the pass he had another small burst of speed to keep separation. Fantastic goal.

Paddy Morans Jockstrap

Nobody was catching him with that gigantic stride. He looks like an olympic speed skater not a hockey player when he has time to wind it up. Upside on this kids is a big as he is.

Harpers Hair

Roberto Luongo named GM of Canada’s World Championship team.

https://www.thescore.com/nhl/news/2157439/amp?__twitter_impression=true

defmn

Elliotte Friedman
@FriedgeHNIC
·
14h
FLA head coach Joel Quenneville says “good chance” Spencer Knight makes his NHL debut tomorrow vs CLB

———————————————–

I would think this means they know Driedger is planning to move on this summer and they want to know if they care.

He has to be on the Oilers radar.

Last edited 25 days ago by defmn
dustrock

McDavid to the entire NHL: I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE

Side

You could have just posted a thread with only this

https://giphy.com/gifs/daniel-day-lewis-there-will-be-blood-i-drink-your-milkshake-l1BgRIamescnkx5Dy

And I think you could have called it a day.

Indy

That scene is so, so, so good. Thanks for posting the reference. I am sniveling in the corner after just watching it…

Side

It is a classic. I wish McDavid brought that Daniel Day Lewis intensity and trashtalk to the ice after scoring a goal sometimes.

Durag

Hard to argue he’s not the third revelation

Keeper_13

They’re going to need something else to use to bring all the boys to the yard.

Jaxon

I’m cheering for the Rangers to make it. It will be nearly impossible, but they are super on fire right now. the problem is the teams ahead of them are hot right now too (NYI, PIT, BOS). They are +33 goal differential. It will be a shame if they don’t get in and STL, at -11 goal differential, will. I’ve been following Jeff Gorton as GM since Edmonton hired Chiarelli on the heels of him getting credit for the Bruins Cup win in 2011. In reality, Gorton built that team and got very little credit. I’ve been cheering for Gorton since and I have loved how he is building that team. He’s draft picks have been great. Fun to follow.

Our Edmonton Operation

I’m neither cheering for or against the Rangers but I did notice their high goal differential lately (in the 30’s as you say). It does seem a little unjust for them to be on the outside looking in at a team like STL which has a negative goal differential. I checked now and I see that when the Oilers won the cup in 1990, their goal differential was +32 for the season. Tell that to the Rangers if they don’t make the playoffs and see how they feel about that stat.

David

I’m very interested in how good Kaako and Lafreniere become. Two years ago any team that was told they would get those two would cackle with glee at the thought of domination. They haven’t hit the ground running, especially Kaako.

Jaxon

And Kravstrov, and K’Andre Miller, and their 2 young goalies… and so on.

Abbeef

Normally I’d agree with you when comparing teams across divisions or conferences. This year though the goal differential between teams in different divisions seems to be more a product of the division make-up than a something that can be compared directly.

Jaxon

True.

OriginalPouzar

How much of that goal differential is due to a couple wild blowouts of the Flyers?

Harpers Hair

Surprised no one has mentioned the Canadiens were playing their third game in four days with a cross country flight on the only day off.

That they ran out of gas in the third period is not a surprise.

The definition of a scheduled loss.

jtblack

Since their 7-1 start, they are 12-14-9.

Quite a few scheduled Losses in there.

Elgin R

Habs doing their yearly meh after a fast start. Canucks are 10 pts back with 5 games in hand but they do not play each other again. However, the Canucks play the Sens and Shames 4 times each. I really don’t care who finishes 4th, but it would be too funny if the Habs missed again!

‘So your saying there’s a chance’ – Go Canucks!

dustrock

We didn’t mention it because we knew you would.

defmn

Watching the game it sure looked to me like they were trying to win. 😉

Harpers Hair

Indeed they were. But the tank was drained.

Side

The stink of desperation is strong on you today.

Keep it up.

Ranford.85

Instead of bringing up new troll material, how about you back up all your talk from before the season staryed?? How’s Rafferty doing? You’re a spineless worm, the type of person you hope your kids don’t become.

Dustylegnd

 I hate most people…there are times when I look at people and I see nothing worth liking.

Daniel Plainview

McNuge93

It happens to all teams this year. No sympathy. We never got any sympathy last week when the Flames beat us. A good team makes sure a scheduled win is in fact a win.

Profit

It was mentioned multiple times yesterday in the thread… but you know that.

And when it’s the Oilers playing 3rd in 4 days you don’t think that’s an excuse for them… but you know that

It was indeed a scheduled loss for the Habs. And you know what? The Oilers put the boots to them in the third the way a playoff team should. And you know that.

So stop trolling.

Primetime

Not only was mentioned multiple times, several people gave the Habs big props for playing so hard after 3 in 4

Material Elvis

The troll repellent only works on game nights when the Oilers kick ass.

jp

Don’t the Oilers had the most B2Bs and 3 in 4s of any team in the North?

Side

What’s all of this confusing B2B and 3s of 4s talk?

Can you explain it in terms of rubber impacts per road?

Bill

maybe no one other than you gives a crap?

Abbeef

It was mentioned many times in yesterday’s blog. Try and keep up.

Ice Sage

that rubber is dried up on the side of the road

flyfish1168

Every game the oilers traveled to Montreal has been 3rd so what’s your point

jonrmcleod

New record for number of down votes?

tileguy

Did you make a little spurt in your underpants with so many people replying to you?

m3sh

I comment at ON typically… but LT’s is just a higher caliber of article and comment section IMO. You’re a busy man LT, but man ON could use your prose back, it’s… touch and go over there. And the trolling while sometimes amusing at times can be a bit exhausting.

In any case – first time commenting here, because last night’s game demands the accolades. That was playoff hockey, everybody was engaged. McDavid trying to hit Weber for chrissake – man oh man doesn’t Archie hit like he means it. Pure joy! PJ throwing his weight around, checking, creating space, awarded for his efforts. His unbridled enthusiasm is clearly infectious out there. Smith rock solid SIOTBOHC-class effort we’re now expecting as a minimum.

Wifey got mad when I hollered for Bear – but damn did he and the team need that goal, right at that moment with all that piling up momentum threatening to become maddened frustration. I’ll cross the happy wife/happy life line any day of the week for those moments.

What a third period!! Best period this group has delivered all year, better than the romps and blowouts we’ve authored this year by far, the intensity was pouring through the screen. You couldn’t look away. Even me, pacing around like crazy at the second intermission convinced the Habs just have our number and Jake Allen was going to wizard a win, just had this feeling the boys were simply not going to be denied.

defmn

Complaining about the refereeing in the NHL has changed nothing in the 60 years I have been watching games.

Winning teams figure out what they can get away with and play accordingly. As it ever was.

And with Sutter back in control in Calgary the sooner the Oilers accept that the better because the only way Sutter knows how to coach is through physical intimidation & he will take his Oiler hatred to his grave so this will be part of the Oilers schedule for the next several years.

Cassandra

I don’t buy the “it was ever thus,” explanation. While it is true that there isn’t anything you can do about it as a team, and so you are better off to just ignore the refs, if you watch old games you can see considerable variation from time period to time period.

Hell, the numbers say it has gotten worse since Tim Peel was fired.

My hypothesis is that were you to control for non-judgement calls (high sticking, delay of game, major penalties, etc.) the difference would be even more stark. They have stopped calling slashing, tripping, hooking, and holding unless to even up calls.

This is a choice not a natural law.

defmn

What I mean by ‘ever thus’ is not that the reffing is better or worse but that winning teams figure out what is being called or not called and adjust their game accordingly. One year you can’t trip, another season hooking disappears as an offence. Some games you can club a guy over the head and get away with it.

Winning teams adjust to the inconsistencies of the reffing and play accordingly.

Last edited 25 days ago by defmn
Keeper_13

So who is at a bigger advantage – the better team, or the team that is better at figuring out what this year’s secret rules are?

defmn

The rules aren’t all that secret. They are usually pretty clear by the ten minute mark of every game or the 5 game mark of every season.

Waiting for a cup

I don’t think the rules are secret. There are just a lot of variables in the algorithm.
1. Look at the name on the back of the jersey
2. Look at the crest on the front of the jersey
3. Look at the score
4. Look at the clock
5. Look at the calendar

Keeper_13

You’re totally right, but what I mean by “secret” is “the NHL denies these rules exist.” Exhibit A:Tim Peel. People don’t hide things they are proud of. If the NHL believed they were doing good things they wouldn’t lie about them. The NHL is a profit driven multinational corporation. We know that corporations sometimes do bad, even illegal, things for money. Maybe there are other criteria that haven’t occurred to us yet:
6.Look at which market the NHL could gain more from. Suddenly the Zebra job against Anaheim makes sense. A Cup run for Edmonton doesn’t put money in the bank, but a Cup run in California could be viewed as a long-term investment. Are there secret rules in the playoffs telling refs to favour certain teams? How would we know if there were or weren’t?
7.Look at which fan base’s complaints are responded to (Las Vegas) and which fan base’s complaints are ignored (Canada). Which of those markets did the NHL stand to gain more from? Canada’s money is in the bag already, they can jerk us around all they like and we’ll keep paying them. Sure would suck for them if Vegas didn’t work out.
8.Look at the fact that the NHL does business with gambling sites and is actively promoting people gambling on the outcomes of their games. Suppose one of those sites took in massive amounts of bets on one game, and were worried about their ability to pay out certain outcomes. Suppose the NHL, or someone working for the NHL, wanted to alter the outcome of a match. Does this provide a way to do so?
9.Score & Win. Sure would suck for their sponsor if someone scored 5 goals. Are there secret instructions to try to make that less likely?
But let’s say I’m being paranoid. Can anyone think of a good reason for the NHL to be actively involved in altering the outcome of matches the way they have secretly been doing throughout their entire history?

Georgexs

Interesting. Where are you getting the numbers?

Nvm if this is one of the everyone know this is true and no one can question this variety.

JimmyV1965

You’re likely right. But you can guarantee nothing will change if no one ever complains. Maybe we should be complaining to the TV rights holders.

Keeper_13

Yes we should. If we act like angry customers then either the NHL will change to reflect our concerns, or in 10 years the NHL will be out of business and we’ll be watching the AHL or something like it instead.

dustrock

Right, and the NHL wonders why it can’t grow the game. They don’t market their superstars, nor do they let them play. Parity being King. Not to mention celebrating gritensity over transcendent skill.

defmn

I think the NHL has been the fastest growing team game in NA for the last 20 years, has it not?

There are things some people don’t like about Bettman but the owners seem to really like him and I am pretty sure that is because they keep making more and more money.

Sierra

How are you defining fastest growing?

Jaxon

With a system fairly stocked with forwards and D coming up, what would everyone think if Edmonton picked Sebastian Cossa at #20-ish in the upcoming draft. I doubt he goes earlier and I think that’s in his projected range.

They’ve got a full line plus more of very promising players:

Benson-Holloway-Lavoie
Savoie-McLeod-Maximov/Safin/Marody
Broberg-Bouchard
Samorukov-Berglund
Lennstrom

At goalie, Skinner is having a good run, but I don’t know if anyone projects him as a future starter.

As one of the missing future pieces, I think it might eventually go a long way to possibly convincing McDavid, Draisaitl, and Nurse to sign another contract (assuming they do see some successful runs before then). A top-tier goalie prospect on the way in when their contracts are set to expire that Holland can say, “Hey, we have Cossa, playing very well in the AHL (or as a backup) and he’s ready to step into the spotlight as a #1. This could be our Vasilevsky,”

defmn

Was thinking the same thing looking at McKenzies list the other day. I expect a trade for a goalie this summer but it never hurts to grow your own.

JimmyV1965

I think we should draft from leagues that have played more games, especially in the first round. How much do we really know about this goalie? He’s played four different teams.

Jaxon

He’s an Edmonton Oil King, so I imagine they know more about him than any other goalie, as the Oilers Entertainment Group owns the team. There aren’t many leagues that have played more games. Also, he had a very good draft-1 season last year (21-6-3).

OriginalPouzar

McKenzie’s list has Cossa going before the Oilers would have a chance.

Of note, May 1 is coming soon, I’ll be on the look out for a Konavalov signing!