Pike’s Peak

by Lowetide

I have to tell you, these last two games by the Edmonton Oilers impressed the hell out of me. It’s the first time in years, probably since 2006, where I saw this club play through the bizarre, the unexpected and another NHL team while never giving up. Frustrated? Yes. The interference call on Leon Draisaitl was mysterious, as the target had just touched the puck (charging might have been a better call, but they don’t call those anymore).

The Montreal Canadiens are not a good matchup for Edmonton. They’re a veteran group with plus goaltending, a veteran defense, rugged forwards and some emerging centermen who pick off passes on the regular.

In the end, the Oilers came back like a house on fire, just like Monday night. This time, the clock ran out. That changes nothing. This Oilers team has added perseverance to skill, speed and youth. Remember these two games against the Canadiens. They may well have served as a useful tuneup for the postseason.


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.

Another fabulous item from the two Montreal games is the names who posted crooked scoring numbers. Jesse Puljujarvi scored twice, Kailer Yamamoto, Caleb Jones and Ethan Bear delivered assists. That young group found a way to help Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Darnell Nurse, Mike Smith and the other veterans to a win and a loss over the two games. The youngsters are becoming battle hardened for the road ahead. There’s some steel here.


  • Oilers in 2015-16: 17-23-5, 39 points; goal differential -26
  • Oilers in 2016-17: 23-15-7, 53 points; goal differential +4
  • Oilers in 2017-18: 19-23-3, 41 points; goal differential -24
  • Oilers in 2018-19: 21-21-3, 45 points; goal differential -12
  • Oilers in 2019-20: 23-17-5, 51 points; goal differential -4
  • Oilers in 2020-21: 27-16-2, 56 points; goal differential +14

Edmonton is still in charge of its own destiny, likely to land in second or third place at the end of the season. The Oilers are seven points ahead of Montreal, and the Canadiens have a game in hand. If Edmonton goes 5-5-1 in its last 11 games, the finish line would be 32-21-3, 67 points. That would mean Montreal would need to go 9-2-1 in the final 12 games to finish with 29-17-10, 68 points. This is not realistic.


  • 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 1-1-0)
  • 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: 5-2-1, 11 points in 8 games

I called a split, suspect we’ll see the same against Winnipeg next week. Calgary and Vancouver are almost dead (“bring us your dead!”) but the wagon won’t take them quite yet. Expect Edmonton flying to Winnipeg for Game 1 of the opening series.


  • Nuge-Draisaitl-Yamamoto played 13:49, going 2-7 shots, 2-6 HDSC and 8-15 Corsi five on five. They were promising but inconsistent. Nuge scored on the power play, TK, five shot attempts and one solid look that went wide. Draisaitl had an assist, 63 percent in the dot, seven shot attempts, 2 giveaways (Habs covered him like a blanket). I was impressed with Leon’s effort, he fought through a lot of garbage and had an impact. Habs up the middle (Kotkaniemi, Danault, Suzuki) are skilled, quick, anticipate well and gave the big man very little air. If the two teams meet in the playoffs, that’s going to be a challenge for Dave Tippett. Yamamoto had two HDSC, was ineffective at times due to the physical nature of the game (lots of hooks and holds and interference that wasn’t obvious).
  • Archibald-McDavid-Puljujarvi played 9:12, going 5-3 shots, 1-1 HDSC and 8-4 Corsi five on five. This was Edmonton’s best line, although there were only two in the competition. Archibald drew a late four-minute power play and had six hits. McDavid scored a beautiful goal and added a pair of assists, took a penalty (a ridiculous call, Corey Perry in another Academy Performance) and was easily Edmonton’s best player. Puljujarvi scored for the third game in a row and is now in a conversation for the title of Edmonton’s third best forward. A stunning value contract for next season.
  • Neal-Haas-Chiasson played four minutes, going 1-1 shots, 0-1 HDSC and 7-1 Corsi five on five. Neal hit four people, turned over a puck but was chasing most of the game. Haas also had a couple of looks and was solid on the backcheck. Chiasson fought because that’s the law in the wild west.
  • Zack Kassian hurt himself with a hit, and it looked not good. Domink Kahun and Devin Shore didn’t get much done but in fairness five or six even strength minutes isn’t much of an opportunity.


  • Nurse-Bear played 18:34, going 3-13 shots, 0-1 goals, 1-2 HDSC and 7-22 Corsi five on five. Nurse played a physical game and handled his defensive work well, wasn’t involved offensively. Bear had a couple of takeaways and defended well, he was part of an addled coverage on the first goal against and had one shot on goal.
  • Russell-Barrie played 12:19 and went 3-8 shots, 0-1 goals, 1-6 HDSC and 9-13 Corsi five on five. Russell had a glorious chance on a fantastic pass from McDavid, and he defended capably. Barrie picked up an assist, had some difficulty with the Montreal forecheck. The GA this pairing was a weird one, involving goalie interference, but not getting the puck out was the original sin.
  • Jones-Larsson played 10:58 and were 10-3 shots but 0-1 goals, 1-4 HDSC and 12-5 Corsi five on five. Jones is coming now, he’s showing up well at both ends of the ice. A perfect pass to 97 led directly to Edmonton’s first goal, and Jones was smart and effective in coverage. Larsson was a rock, save for the Anderson goal (Larsson turned the wrong way and couldn’t get back against a big, fast man). I don’t know if you can defend that play, Anderson didn’t have a lot of clean air but he’s fleet of foot.
  • Mike Smith stopped 27 of 31, .871. The goals that beat him were point-blank shots plus the interference goal and I have time for his argument.

Woodguy has been running these all year and the numbers are a window into the soul of this hockey team. 97-29 together are they keys to the kingdom, but running without (minus 16) just won’t do. I don’t have the answer, but am impressed at how wonderfully math (courtesy Darcy) presents the problem. Math brings clarity. All hail math!


I keep saying this and I’m not sure it’s getting through. That happens sometimes in communicating. So, let me try again.

In the old magazines I bought as a kid, they used to run full page Charles Atlas ads. They were body building ads aimed at nerds, and always created a scenario. Spindly kid with his best girl on the beach, basic fucking nightmare male walks up and kicks sand in his face. 10 seconds later, girl leaves with nightmare, nerd rolled up in a corner.

The ad suggested Charles Atlas had the answer, but the actual solution is bringing all of your powers to bear, turning your back on excuses, justification and self pity.

The referees give Shea Weber that cross checking play, have for years. The referees made a ghastly call on Draisaitl that cost the game as it turned out, while also missing a trip on the big man in an equally important part of the game.

What’s different about this team, about these two games, is that the captain set his jaw and turned all Charles Atlas on their asses. McDavid led, and 18 men followed him into the breach.

If this team brings that to every game? Music! And a deep playoff run.


At 10 this morning, plenty of chatter about last night’s game, and more on TSN1260. We’ll drill down on the game at 10:20, Matthew Scianitti brings his Chuck Taylors to the show at 10:40 to talk CFL 2021. Frank Seravalli from TSN pops in at 11 to update on the general managers meetings and we’ll chat about goalies and why they mean so much. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!


You may also like

3.6 11 votes
Article Rating
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Well that easy to beat team Ottawa has befuddled another team. This time the Canucks. First loss for the Canucks team against Ottawa. but looking at it another way, the Canucks haven’t beaten Ottawa in regulation since January. Actually, Vancouver hasn’t beaten many teams in regulation since Feb 1. In that time, they have a total of 7 regulation wins in 28 games. I am pretty sure the Habs don’t need to worry about them.

Last edited 23 days ago by Redbird62

Lottery odds aside, I will be heartened when the Sens pass the flames.

Victoria Oil

Knuckleheads lose 3-0 to Ottawa. That’s too bad.


It appears that Draisaitl is starting to understand that he is getting targeted.

Leon always reminded me of Jean Beliveau. Big player, high skilled, with uber vsision when passing the puck.

Beliveau had fairly large penalty minutes when he started out on the Habs, until he started getting enough respect that other teams would back off.

Funny thing about Jean Beliveau. Always a gent off the ice, he looked fairly bad tempered on the ice.


In the NHL, as in the Mob, having respect is very important.


Benson with the empty netter – he wins the race to the puck in the neutral zone and back-hands one from center dead on.

4-1 Condors and they are about to sweep Henderson on the road.

This was NOT an exciting two game set but the Condors sure played some solid, tight and structured hockey.


PP1 with a second wonderful PP for an insurance goal.

Tons of puck movement and pressure culminating with Gildon down to Cracknell in the Ovie spot and a wonderful pass to the back-door for a Malone tap in.


Thinking of upcoming cap space (summer) it looks like Domi has fallen out of favor.

Domi doesn’t have size but he’s got a lot of fire. Too expensive as well.

i do like the idea of picking up an odd man out type player right before expansion draft. Someone that needs to be moved due to protection, cap, or perception. (Such as Bennett)

I think one free agent, one trade, and two internal graduates is enough to fill holes and change up roster. I’m thinking of the forward group here.


I’d like to hear more on Benson and Marody. I do agree, graduate or trade them. They were second and third round costs and they had value, but not sure where they are at today.


You want to pick up someone who will costs assets and be lost for nothing OR do well amd then we expose another player?

I get the buy low; but before the draft seems double risky


Pretty sure there are teams who’s 8th forward is better than the 7th guy the Oilers are going to protect.


People are naturally upset re Montreal’s goonery.

The main argument appears to be that the officials should step in and give McDavid powerplay after powerplay – while the poor saps(top NHL defenders) hope desperately not to be made fools of hook slash and whack Oilers star players.

Glen Sather understood how to win in the NHL. Sather probably didn’t spend much time worrying about the philosophical implications of loading the Oilers with tough players who could generally dish out more than they got back from the opposition. An opposition that both hated loathed and feared them.

Oilers aren’t exactly soft these days. That being said, with so few impact players it’s easy for the opposition to target McDavid/Draisaitl and so long as the score is close a team has a chance to beat them.

Refs for the most part won’t step in to save the Oilers. A Mark Messier on the other hand would probably be able to provide this service by dishing out mayhem to the other team at the start of the game.

It’s also easier to discuss goonery against the Oilers after a win.

PS: It was great to see them nearly come back vs the Habs. This is what great teams can do.

PPS: Puljujarvi has certainly shut up the naysayers, hasn’t he?


The main argument was that the Refs should call penalties …. without bias or game score or put the whistles away ..

Adding A Messier would be Good … I Guess adding a Top 20 All time would help any team

And yes Messier was mean and it mattered; then

Harpers Hair

Do you think this is a generational thing?


Haha maybe hockey is having its own culture war. “They’re cancel culturing our bad referees! Damn Liberal snowflakes!” “Yeah well your stupid referees shoulda been cancelled decades ago you knuckle dragging Republicons!”
(I have learned from experience that it is impossible to make a joke on the internet without someone taking it seriously so… this is a joke)


The joy of following this team is watching guys develop and get it.

JP is the best development story here since Hemsky.


Are they allowing fans in Henderson?


Yes, limited.


Wow, the Condors’ veteran PP unit, which is PP1, with a beauty PP goal – a Cracknell one-timer off a cross-ice pass from Griffith. Think McDavid to Drai with secondary from Barrie (Gildon) but the other way (right to left).

It was at the end of the PP and I was frustrated that they never left the zone so the kids never got some PP ice but they had the puck in the zone the entire time and scored the beaut.


Bakersfield Condors vs. Henderson Silver Knights, full game

****APRIL 20TH 2021

deployment 11/7

Lavoie – Cracknell (Malone) – Griffith (Esposito)
Hamblin – Malone – Esposito
Benson – Marody – Safin
Stukel – Hamblin – Brosseau

(Marody split wing a bunch of times)

Lennstrom – Desharnais
Gravel – Kemp
Stanton – Gildon
Gildon – Kesselring
Lennstrom – Kesselring

Five Forwards by Game Score

Marody – 2.289
Benson – 1.968
Safin – 1.073
Malone – 0.811
Griffith – 0.771

All D by Fenwick Differential

Lennstrom – 13-3 (+10)
Gravel – 15-7 (+8)
Kemp – 11-3 (+8)
Desharnais – 9-3 (+6)
Kesselring – 6-3 (+3)
Gildon – 5-5 (+0)
Stanton – 5-6 (-1)

i) Lennstrom went the fuck off this game way beyond what my tracked gamesheets’ll give you. Outsmarted his partner’s worst impulses the entire game. Sekeraesque. No idea what this means.

ii) I am so glad someone in Condorsland read my writing comparing Stanton and Lowe because good god damn am I glad to see #4 and have it be Gravel.

iii) Benson and Marody have been NHLers for awhile. They’re winning shifts bored. This is ridiculous; should have just traded them at the deadline. That GS by Marody is the record this season and is extraordinarily rare in my whole book of gamesheets.

iv) Lavoie is raw and talented. There was a funny bit where someone fished him out a puck in the right OZ corner after he had snuck in directly in front of the goalie, he whiffed on the one timer and should have been further away. I think he was just excited to be there.

v) Gildon might be hurt

No further remarks!


Why should they have traded Benson and Marody because they are NHL ready?

I would think it makes more sense to have the come to camp next season – I predict Benson has much more value to the Oilers on the ice next season than he would have had in a trade at this past deadline.


I’m biased towards players when management does stuff like this to them, they could have a lot of NHL games on their record by now.


I look forward to them being in Oilers camp in September.


Agree with you both 😊


Suspect you’re right that Benson makes the team next year. Let’s not forget he lost a lot of time in his junior career to injuries. Having him marinate in the AHL a bit longer is not the end of the world.

I have no idea what to make of Marody. Would it be unbelievable if his career followed a trajectory akin to that of Marchessault? Difference in skating ability sure, but at some point you have to throw up your hands and say he’s good enough to get a shot on a skill line.


Gildon with an egregious own-zone turnover and Skinner with a save of the year candidate on a pass across the low slot.


Let’s all continue to ignore the fan of other teams who posts here.

Harpers Hair

Sad Buttercup.


There’s a bit that I don’t like about this “McDavid is letting stuff get to him, and is becoming dirty in response” line. It might be true, but it shouldn’t be.

By rational choice, Connor should have – rationally, pragmatically – applied about ten times the amount of violence as he did last night, and in every game.

By rational choice he should actually be slew-footing and kneeing guys all the time. His emotional response has actually been, up until lately, to *explicitly not* do what is necessary for him to contribute to the winning of the game as much as possible as often as possible.

If he were rational, and not letting emotions of compassion get to him, he would probably – considering the physical talents that can be brought to bear – resolve to defeat whatever checking centre has been placed before him in whatever game, to hook and hold and slew-foot and knee and clip and sometimes headshot, by simply going further beyond the rulebook than they do.


Anyone watching NHL games whose takeaway is that Conner is playing dirty is probably not worth engaging with. I do see the very occasional hit out of him that I disapprove of, but by NHL standards he is a very clean player, especially considering the abuse he takes every night.

Harpers Hair

Very interesting discussion today but tinged (not unexpectedly) with homerism.

Observers often see what they want to see and forget or disregard the rest.

To wit, the nonsensical tripping call on Draisaitl.

Just moments earlier, Draisaitl left his feet to plaster a Habs player into the boards…should have been a charging call. I expect the other ref noted this and responded.

There was of course some angst about Perry embellishing a call which is justified but not a mention it was the second recent instance of McDavid showing his frustration by targeting an opponents head with his elbow…a very dangerous play and if McDavid continues to do this it will ultimately lead to a very poor outcome.

The Weber crosschecks were of course numerous and obvious but Nurse is very often guilty of the same albeit usually after the whistle.

In a physical game like last night’s was, it’s also important to remember that there is a lot of shit going on that the TV cameras don’t capture.

From a tactical point of view, it’s obvious that Montreal, Toronto and to a lesser degree, Winnipeg, have figured out the way to beat the Oilers is to make life as miserable as possible for McDavid and Draisaitl…I don’t think I’ve ever seen Draisaitl spend so much time on his ass as he did last night.

There is nothing new or revolutionary about this…it’s been happening for decades and is not likely to change especially in the playoffs.

Recalling the 2011 Cup final when the Bruins overtly manhandled the Sedins right in front of the refs gives us a clue to how the league feels about this…it’s not going to change no matter how the home side feels.

It truly is an eye for an eye situation…can the Oilers respond in kind?


You’re right, the league allows this so it’s something the players have to put up with.
Personally I don’t like it and don’t think it should be a part of the game. Still, I found it interesting that some find this a very major and important part..
“If you can get away with injuring someone, you should do it”. That moment was a bit of a life lesson tbh

Anyway, It’s crappy but it won’t change

Harpers Hair

They don’t call it a Gordie Howe hat trick for nothing.

He was a killer.


Observers often see what they want to see and forget or disregard the rest”

Totally. This is how a Canucks homer for example, would think Brogan Rafferty was bound for the 2nd line and playing 60 games.

Harpers Hair

Still haven’t figured that out have you?

Ear worms are pernicious.


You are confused. I’m laughing at you for the Rafferty thing.

Harpers Hair

And I am laughing at you for perpetuating it.

Ever heard on memes?

They’re a thing.


Ahh the “I’m just kidding guys!” backpedal.

Yes, yes, sure, sure.


also known here as goal posts moving ;)…


Any team or fan base that had Kesler, Burrows (chomp chomp), Bieksa and Torres (yes I remember he was an Oiler, but glad he left them) crying to the refs about unfairness and that their players are being abused needs to give their head a shake. That Canucks team had virtually no support in the rest of Canada outside of the lower mainland in the cup finals because of how many of those players conducted themselves on the ice. Particularly Bieksa and Kesler got penalized for a fraction of the offenses they committed on a regular basis. The Sedin’s were a classy pair, as was Luongo, but they were surrounded by a lot of thugs that season. That Canucks team that playoff year had the most single season playoff penalty minutes of any team from the strike year through last season (435 minutes).

Last edited 23 days ago by Redbird62
Scungilli Slushy

As someone who has never been a fan of a team with a truly elite player, you can’t or will not choose to understand.

As a fan of a team that has had 2, I do understand.

Harpers Hair

You mean Gretzky, Messier, Kurri and Messier weren’t elite players?



Yeah your not exactly right about that Hair was a fan once upon a time till Messier stole his gf one night or something.

Scungilli Slushy

As for the Canucks screwing up their Cup final.

Allowing what they did the Sedins made their own bed. Don’t need to fight, but there is only so passive one can be in the top league in any sport.

Crawford played right into the Bruins wheelhouse with his at that time mindset.

It was in the bag until it went goon squad.

Harpers Hair



I thought you were an expert on all things Canucks. Yet you agreed with Slushy about Crawford. Except Crawford wasn’t the coach then was he. It was Vigneault. So you really can’t comment at all about how things played out in that series can you? Just like most of your other drivel. You shoot off your mouth about some theory to prove an Oiler fan wrong without making any effort to see if there is any evidence to back it up. Tsk Tsk.

Harpers Hair

It’s not what I agreed with..I ignored it.

The real issue with that team came from Mike Gillis who was convinced the league was changing to a fast, skilled model while eschewing the team toughness that the Bruins represented.

As it turns out, Gillis was mostly right but the league hadn’t evolved to match his thinking and perhaps it still hasn’t.


Oh you mean like Ken Holland had done for all those years successfully in Detroit. During his tenure as GM of Detroit, they had the least majors and pm’s and clearly very successful in winning with a formula of puck possession. Meanwhile, during Gillis’ 7 year run, Vancouver was 3rd in total pm’s and 6th in majors, 8th in match penalties and second in misconducts. Clearly a team only focussed on speed and skill. He may have talked the talk, but his team did not fully walk that walk.


The troll is getting lazier and lazier. Sad little man.


You’re absolutely right that they have to find a way to battle through some of the borderline checking and non-calls. All teams have to do it at some point if they want to go deep in the playoffs.

We saw some elements of a strategy shift recently when we saw the fake breakout pass to McDavid with the puck going instead to Puljujarvi, who was wide open for an open break.

I disagree with you on the Draisaitl call. Canadiens were taking every single opportunity to cross-check Drai and finish checks on him. So Drai responds in kind and gets called for interference? Baffling.


The most beguiling “toughness” trope in the NHL relates to cross-checking.

Weber has built a career on it. Our own Adam Larsson also does it more often than most.

Isn’t there something inherently cowardly about cross-checking someone in the back? I think there is. It’s “cheap”. You don’t have to have watched a single hockey game to have that reaction. There’s something about cross-checking that grates at a universal sense of fairness.

Consider a few other measures of toughness in hockey:

1 – Blocking shots
2 – Absorbing a hit to make a play
3 – Laying out a hit

All three plays, by different levels of players, require some level of skill.

Kris Russell, Ethan Bear, and Zack Kassian in blocking a shot, absorbing a hit, and laying out a hit, respectively, are employing elite abilities (as measured to the rest of human-kind) in spatial recognition, awareness, and trajectory calculation. This is all done in a split second.

Notice that, with cross-checking, there is no such skill. A non hockey playing adult male of the same size and strength as Shea Weber could cross-check as “effectively” as the former Norris Trophy winner. This cannot be true of the other measures of toughness.

Further, all three plays require some semblance of physical sacrifice.

Kris Russell subjects himself to some level, or probability, of experiencing pain when he blocks a shot. Ethan Bear, when retrieving a puck in the corner, absorbs physical punishment and/or pain to make that play. Zack Kassian, in hitting someone, may come out the worse for wear, as happens on occasion.

Notice that, with cross-checking, there is no physical sacrifice for the perpetrator. The probability of harm is zero! There is no “skin in the game.”

In terms of using it as a tool to regain puck possession (as happened with Drai yesterday), there is no substantive difference between a slash, a hook, or a cross-check.


A player who hooks incessantly is not considered tough. A serial slasher doesn’t get away with it (at least most of the time).

A cross-checker typically gets away with it AND earns the perfunctory tag of “being tough”.

It is not a tough play. It is not a play requiring all-world skill. It is not a play requiring physical sacrifice.

It IS cowardly.

So when will the NHL start treating it that way?


Great post.

I will add that the few times the roles are reversed and a forward cross-checks the dman it is almost always a penalty.

Why is it a dman can cross check a forward in front of the net but the forward cannot cross check the Dman in front of that exact same net.

It’s ludicrous, always has been and always will be.


Completely agree.

Bill Clinternet

Is lacrosse a cowardly sport?


There are only 18 players who play regularly in the NHL who weigh more than Shea Weber, and only 7 of them are forwards, so how brave does Weber really have to be. I would argue that NHL forwards like Archibald, Ennis, Yamamoto and even Nugent Hopkins (and smaller forwards on other teams as well) are far braver than Shea Weber to engage in the offensive zone. Shea Weber didn’t have to do a lot special to be become 6’4″ and 229, most of that was a genetic lottery. Toughness to me is watching Ryan Smith take a puck to the face, have 3 or 4 teeth knocked out, skate off immediately unaided to go get stitched up and come out the next period.


Hear hear. I aplaud


Condors tie it up with less than a minute left on an even luckier goal – the Knights basically just shot the puck in their own net.


Safin and Lavoie switched right now (Lavoie up with Benson and Marody).

Todd Macallan

Great push so early in his AHL career. Hope he’s takes advantage of this great opportunity!


That’s a high event start for Foligno as a Leaf – on for 2GF and 2GA at 5 on 5 and the game is in the 2nd period.


Very low event first period in Henderson through 13 minutes and the Knights score a lucky/ugly one – bangs in off a player and Skinner I think.

Not really sure how that went in that the replay didn’t show.

Last edited 23 days ago by OriginalPouzar

Condors with the same lineup that beat Henderson on Tuesday. It was FAR from a Picasso but a good full team effort. Skinner starts.

New Improved Darkness

In reply to tapper, far below, who mentions Yuval Harari and cultural relativism.


We were animals before culture, and we remain animals now. If you don’t believe this, you’ve chosen to take the blue pill.

Yes, the vast majority of modern human affairs are mediated through human culture, but our animal nature is still there on the inside, just as it always was.

The entire post-modern community seems unable to grasp the system dynamics of boundary conditions. How to tell when you’re rammed up hard against an uncomfortable boundary condition: the cat comes back. No matter how you choose to behave (culture), the cat comes back. You wanted a different outcome, but it turned same as it ever was. But no worries: you’ve got a standard-issue scapegoat, intersectional credit rating: over-educated, middle-aged white male. We wanted to eliminate social caprice, and we did so by inventing a whole new social caprice. Same as it ever was.

There’s no possible way outcome-managed intersectional theory can function without a scapegoat, because it contains a fundamentally incorrect view of the system dynamics of boundary conditions.

Our animal nature used to be the whole enchilada. Now it’s been relegated to “merely” a boundary condition. (Those aren’t scare quotes, they’re Dunning Kruger quotes.)
I’ve been reading a stack of old to ancient books by William H. Calvin recently. Quite a lot of this concerns the origin of modern human cognition, language, and culture with a side venture on tipping points, forcing functions and global warming. At times he annoys the heck out of me, but at least he actually understands boundary conditions. This is especially useful when you place human history on a 6-million-year savanna canvass.
One issue that Calvin gets wrong is this business of 24/7 narrative story telling. His view is, once you’ve mastered your first 100 words, would you ever shut up? His supposition is that once evolution delivers a tool as versatile as language, when would you not use it?

But actually, digesting the red-pill suffused human-reality reinvention field 24/7 is hard cognitive labour, and the human brain is thirsty, thirsty, thirsty for precious glucose. A million years ago, did we really have the stamina to discuss the zebras from sun up to sun down with barely a wet whistle-break at any point in between?

The hardest cognitive labour I ever do is trying to come up with new words (neologisms) for concepts that are clearly already in the water supply, about which we aren’t yet organized to address with direct language. Two or three hours spent in the salt mine of inventing new language, and I’m pretty much done for the day. (I’m not known for lack of stamina in bandying about pre-existing vocabulary.)

My favourite recent coinage is noöonomy (no-oh-on-oh-me). Wish I could now recall what it meant on the day. Obviously, it’s a riff on noosphere.

The noosphere is a philosophical concept developed and popularized by the Ukrainian biogeochemist Vladimir Vernadsky, and the French philosopher and Jesuit priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.

My notes also say something cryptic about vagary bundles. This has been a term in my private lexicon for a very long time. A good social example of a vagary bundle is the triplet poverty, education, racism. Any one of the three explains 60% of why the not-yet-privileged fail to thrive (to formulate centuries of sustained colonial oppression in the rosy glass-half-full modality). But all three together fail to explain 180% of the problem. (Turns out, arithmetic is not a social construct after all.) In reality, all three together might only explain 75% of the problem. Meanwhile you get to thump your chest three times: once for poverty, once for (mis)education, once for racism.

My notes on my noöonomy neologism also helpfully remind me that: the categories of “tart”, “flan”, “quiche”, and “pie” overlap, with no sharp distinctions. Hmm, that’s covertly Viennese, isn’t it? What precisely was I trying to tell myself?
I’m pretty sure I’ve cracked the nut on how the whole Vienna Circle obsession with logical positivism came about.
Ernest Nagel decided to order a pain au chocolate and while he was fumbling with his German, he said “you, know that moon-shaped pastry thing” and Oskar Morgenstern shot back, “formally, a croissant is not a pastry, it’s a Viennoiserie.
“That’s entirely correct”, chimed in Ludwig Wittgenstein harking back to his own Austrian heritage (this was before he entirely renounced “entirely”), “which includes all delectables based on a yeast-leavened dough”.
“Uh, not so fast. You do know,” interrupted Otto Neurath, “that the categories of tart, flan, quiche, and pie overlap with no fixed dividing line—even if you do weild all these fancy words from the French brigade de cuisine?”
“I guess that’s true,” observed Ludwig, filing the interaction away on next week’s mental grocery list.
My other cryptic cribs on my noöonomy neologism:

  • depends on sensibility around “thə same”
  • convergent sensibility saddle-points

Gee, thanks, former self, that really clears things up. Bits and pieces of this still make sense. I always write “thə” to indicate a premature summing up that breaks Treebeard’s Golden Rule of philosophical divination: don’t be hasty.

From Quora:

If Gandalf was created “in beginning of known time”, how come the Ents call him “Young Master Gandalf“?

A just question, my leafling.

That was the one new thing I picked up on my last LoTR cycle over xmas 2020. Treebeard is the one true senior citizen of Middle Earth and he does actually say “Young Master Gandalf” by way of greeting. If you sit down with Treebeard to explain to him and his beech-buddies this new post-modern conceit that because of a newfangled gift of gab—hence the animal-origin boundary condition isn’t in there any longer—you had better acquire a taste for lembas bread, because you’ll be there for an age of man. “It takes a long time to swallow a red pill of fresh-squeezed orcshit in old Entish,” as he is known to observe.

[*] Speaking of beech buddies, Woodguy’s satirical division titles have been shivering my jolly timbers these past weeks.

[*] Question for Woodguy: does an Ent have a funny bone? See, here’s what I think happened to all the Ent womenfolk. There were all nerve-pinched into submission by a Swedish masseuse—a Pied Piper of the Entland Realm—after first being lured to an obscure Nordic fjord by a Groupon promotion (remember those?) for free sapicures. Our surreptitious, Swedish masseuse did not miss a trick, and left no knot unferned, leaving them all wilted, supine, and so gelatinous they can barely whisk their bushy fingerlings vigorously enough to prevent drifting out to sea at high tide; at low tide, under a new moon, they sing softly into the wind calling for their Ent menfolk, to no avail.

[*] Due to a horrific misprint on a bureaucratic communique, the wrong wizard was summoned to undo these unfernal knots. “All things infernal, aye, that one is mine,” said Gandalf, who really ought to shake out his earwax more often than Gondor powerwashes the Argonaths. “Not plots, knots,” said Radagast, trying to set Gandalf straight. “Whatever,” said Gandalf entirely under his breath, “crazy old bat lady, if you ask me.” Old as snow, white and bearded, he really wasn’t trying to misgender Radagast, it was “merely” an unfortunate turn of phrase born of accumulated millennial frustration that silently crossed his lips.

To sum up, I once bunkered down through an entire decade of darkness++ twisting words into wondrous, strange and misguided balloon animals, just to see what it takes to make language finally cry “uncle!” (Cast Away, director’s cut: instead of washing ashore with the bloodhand-branded Wilson—shades of the Uruk-hai—Tom Hanks washes ashore with a tank of helium gas and a shipment of a 144,000 rainbow Trojans; pondering the weird prophetic significance of the number 144,000, Tom ceaselessly hums “up, up and away” by the Fifth Dimension—adding a fine soprano chorus after a quick huff on the hookah—while cursing the Gords he doesn’t have at hand an equal measure of fishnet stockings to fashion his many rainbow “balloons” into an NC17 Pixaresque Up-mobile, so as to mount a grand airborne escape, all the while fantasizing about how his successful aeronautical exploit will make him the global “trust in Trojan” spokesman for decades hence.)

Yes, you can do a lot with language. No, you can’t make the animal balloon boundary condition go “poppity poppity poof” like a fishnet raft of buoyant prophylactics caught between a cirrus rock and nimbus hard place in a Fred and Ginger Rogers uncle buckshot enfilade.

[*] “Not Fred Astaire or Buck Rogers, but Fred Rogers,” offers a downcast Radagast to anyone who might possibly hear the wind.


I’ve always wondered what the French word was for “cuisine”. And for “brigade”, too, for that matter.


It’s a good thing that everyone agrees on what what the animal is and what it does, so that whenever anyone puts anything out of nature everyone notices at the same time and agrees to, and on how to, stop.

John Chambers

It’s probably fair to say, judging by today’s thread, that there is no consensus on how the game should be officiated.

Called by the letter of the rule book you have the 05-06 NHL season. Let teams play physical and free flowing and you get Monday night’s 3rd period masterpiece.

The league, the players, and the fans all have different viewpoints that don’t entirely align.

I see McDavid and Draisaitl get hooked and held each and every game. Sometimes they get the calls and quite often they dont. I also see Oiler players commit infractions that don’t get called. A fan’s bias tends to amplify one and disregard the other.

Officiating NHL hockey or any level of hockey is an imperfect exercise. I learned very young that plenty of people cannot grasp the subjective nature of the task and their vitriol was inevitable. Too bad for them as the frustration over a call made or missed ruined their enjoyment of the sport.


Tor Komata was a BAD man.


It only really bothers me when the health of a player is threatened because the refs want to look the other way.

How many double hand slashes on McDavid’s body/hands/arms, slew foots or trips should the refs watch before doing something about it?

How many consecutive crosschecks to Draisaitls back from Weber away from the play do the refs need to see before doing something about it?

I am only biased towards the Oilers cause I primarily watch the Oilers. But I don’t think other skilled players like Matthews, MacKinnon, Hughes, Goudreau, etc. have it much easier.

The sport as a whole loses when skilled players get injured because less skilled players are allowed to get away with it due to their inferior skills as a way to “even up” the game.

Who wants to watch McDavid and Draisaitl sit in the stands because they were injured by some plugs? I know I don’t.


I disagree with this post outright:

Everyone here wants the game called right!

#sorry #imdone


You have some good points. You are right most it can be difficult to be objective. I would hate it if we were the cheating team too. I want to watch hockey games that show off the skill of the players and team play, not obstructive and physical intimidation. Hockey is about speed passing and shooting. That should be the goal of the NHL to create in the game of hockey

Last edited 23 days ago by flyfish1168

Apologies if it’s been said (I’m sure it has), but you really have a way with words LT, that Charles Atlas bit really paints a picture. Bravo sir!


We’re just waiting for you to turn in so we can get to the drink’n & the fued’n

Bag of Pucks

Is it at all possible that the referees are instructed to even up the calls precisely because the league knows fans always have and always will complain about the reffing, particularly when their team loses? So, in a misguided attempt to mitigate this whining, they err on the side of equal punishment for optics? Given the NHL is an entertainment product, this effort to maximize the single game experience and intended customer satisfaction seems far more plausible to me than a shadow conspiracy to create artificial parity, the latter of which is a death knell for any competitive league if proven on a systemic scale.

Fans claim they’d be ok with a game wherein their team was the one receiving the vast majority of the calls provided the ref was exercising fair judgement, whatever that means. But is there any actual proof of this? I suspect those lobbying to have the game called as written would simply migrate to a new angle of complaint if this suddenly consistent reffing ended up with their team consistently on the short end of the penalty ledger.

Last edited 23 days ago by Bag of Pucks

If possible, isn’t that the same problem for a different reason? Refs making calls for reasons other than what’s happening in the play, which again is damaging for the integrity of the sport (i.e actual performance, merit-based competition.).

Last edited 23 days ago by MushedPeas

To be clear: For reasons other than what the officials themselves believe to be happening on the ice.

Bag of Pucks

It’s not the same problem in terms of severity of impact on the outcome.
If they were doing it for parity, they’d consistently be penalizing the stronger teams more frequently to benefit the weak especially at crucial points of the game. Zero evidence to support this allegation.
If they’re doing it for optics, the attempt is to balance powerplay time. In this instance, the strongers teams which are presumably the teams with the better special teams, still have the advantage.

Last edited 23 days ago by Bag of Pucks

I’ve always viewed the parity accusation as relating to game state – as you say, keep it close, entertainment, it’s a business – not on a team’s position in the standings.

If you keep games artificially close, the ‘natural’ outcomes of those games + the Bettman point keeps the standings artificially close.


Ask yourself the following:

Does the NFL stop calling Roughing the Passer because it’s the 4th quarter of a tight game?

Do NBA refs put the whistles away and stop calling fouls in the last 5 minutes?

Do MLB umpires stop calling double plays so they don’t disadvantage one team?

The NHL is the only League that has grown to adopt the “Put the whistles away” mentality


You can call holding every play and yes they put away their whistle’s in the playoffs. Go on their fan boards they whine just as much as the blog today. Trust me Oiler fans are not special every fan base feels the fix is in when they lose.


Hockey seems to be a unique sport, we can’t seem to decide if we like rough stuff or not. There is no expected or sanctioned fighting in basketball, baseball, football, or soccer.


I don’t think people are complaining about the level of violence. I think they are complaining about the myopic zebras.


I’ll take a punch to the head over a 98 mph fastball coming straight for my face. I’ve seen some nasty brawls in baseball. Football is cruel if your at the bottom of the pile hair pulling eye gouging knees or feet to the nuts. Basketball is almost unwatchable as soon as they breathe on each other it’s a foul the playoffs they definitely let more go but everything is reviewed which makes it boring. Soccer can also get physical and getting kicked in the chins really really hurts.


~My chins are actually quite flabby, so it doesn’t hurt that much~


The refs could of reffed a well fought physical affair, instead they orchestrated a drunk men’s league game where everyone forgot they have to work the next day.

The 2 handed slashes to McDavids ribs as a last resort option to stop him, that’s not good physical hockey.

Then they call penalties on legal checks, it’s insulting to see such a disregard for integrity of the game being sold as the game. It deserves better, I’m left with at 0.001% chance that ESPN wants to try and sell the skill of the sport this time around and maybe apply some pressure to clean this clown show up. Most likely though they trot out Barry Melrose and Jeremy Roenick talks around his nose.


If we don’t sign RNH but we manage to sign Danault for what RNH is making now, that’s… just… terrible.

Both selected 2011, both first rounders, RNH has almost as many goals as Danault has points. Danault has scored 54 (!) goals total. That’s a little more than one season of Drai. His career best is 13 (!). He’s scored 1 (!) PP goal for his career. How is a comparison between this guy and RNH even possible?

Oh right, he wins at 5v5. So-so offensive guys like Danault don’t win 5v5 all by themselves. They win as part of a unit. The GF-GA (GF%) in the last 3 seasons:

Danault-Gallagher, 125-73 (63%)
w/o Gallagher, 28-31 (47%)
w/o Danault, 16-23 (41%)
w/o Both, 254-248 (51%)

Danault and Gallagher work well together, a whole that’s better than the sum of its parts.

Gallagher’s probably not coming along with Danault methinks.

Danault is a tier or two below RNH in the NHL pecking order. He shouldn’t expect or get the same money.


The Oilers are not going to spend big money nor big duration on a 3C with McLeod on the brink. They will re-sign Khaira to be 4C, and look for a short term value deal on a veteran.

Maybe one just tries to sign Getzlaf on a one-year deal, for example.


Not just McLeod but also Holloway.

I think most see Holloway as likely a LW on the top two lines but he very well could play a lot of 3C.

McLeod is definitely trending towards that 3C role but he’s not a lock to be that guy for the next decade – here is hoping though..


Nice post.

Good info and you make an important point, which I agree with to an extent.
A few things to add:

1) Tatar is part of the Danault-Gallagher equation too, and maybe the most important part.

Also last 3 seasons: min SF% GF%
Tatar-Danault-Gallagher 1500 61% 66%
xxxxx-Danault-Gallagher 462 58% 56%
Tatar-Danault-xxxxxxxxx 399 57% 53%
Tatar-xxxxxxx-Gallagher 159 57% 35%
Tatar-xxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxx 453 54% 61%
xxxxx-Danault-xxxxxxxxx 354 48% 41%
xxxxx-xxxxxxx-Gallagher 229 49% 47%
All off ———————– 6031 52% 50%

Major synergy with the 3 together, Danault has also been quite good with one or the other winger. You’re right Gallagher isn’t coming with Danault to the Oilers, but Tatar actually could. Danault and Tatar for $5M each could make some real sense. Seems that they’d stand a pretty solid chance of outscoring which would allow Draisaitl-McDavid to remain a thing full time.

2) Nuge scores more goals than Danault, but points-wise for the last 3 years the gap between them isn’t massive. And if you don’t credit Nuge at 100% for his PP production (seems fair to me) that gap narrows.

3) Like Danault, Nuge is no screaming hell without help either.

Last 3 seasons for the Oilers, same metrics as above:
Nuge-McDavid-Draisaitl 47 67% 69%
Nuge-McDavid-xxxxxx 782 51% 48%
Draisaitl-McDavid-xxx 1567 49% 56%
Nuge-Draisaitl-xxxxxxx 584 50% 60%
xxxxx-McDavid-xxxxxx 793 49% 47%
xxxxx-Draisaitl-xxxxxx 1075 46% 44%
xxxxxxx-Nuge-xxxxxxx1242 43% 43%
All off ——————– 3597 48% 37%
(apparently none of them can do it on their own)

That last set of numbers is a bit depressing..

Anyway, not that Danault IS a better choice than Nuge, but I’m not sure the gap is so large.

I hope Nuge stays, by the way, but I don’t think it would cripple the team if he were to follow the money elsewhere.


Likely my last word today, but no one wants the refs to “call everything.” The very idea is question begging. How could you call everything if you didn’t know in advance what everything is?

What I want is for them to call the game as it happens, exercising their judgement as best they can, and not fall into the futile trap of “letting the players decide the game” by trying to keep the ledger even.

I can live with missed calls. I can live with bad calls. I very much like it when referees tell players in between whistles where the line is. I can’t live with the even-up calls that in turn causes so many more missed and bad calls because there is no line at all.


Wow. You’ve really racked up the upvotes. Seems you’re the voice of the common man today. What a strange role for you.


I’ve become a new kind of prophet. Perhaps I need a new handle.


No. No that fits.

As far as the league is concerned, we are all Casandra.

Bag of Pucks

Welcome to the Kingdom of Utopia.

In our fair land, the women are attractive and always amorous, your favourite tipple is free, abundant and non-fattening, and you’ll never have reason to complain about NHL reffing, because here the humans are perfect.

Tis truly a wonderous fairytale kingdom.


s it possible to read without also comprehending?

Evidently so, since Bag of Pucks clearly hasn’t understood a single thing that has been said today.

If literacy requires comprehension then Bag of Pucks is illiterate.

Bag of Pucks

My Kingdom’s proclamation was not commenting on anyone’s post specifically, hence why it was not a reply. Is that difficult for you to comprehend?

It’s just a wee bit of general sarcasm suggesting that fans have always complained about the reffing and always will. Expecting anything else is utopian.


What a wonderful condescending poke at a position you disagree with.

The key word is always “reasonable “

What is reasonable when making a decision in refereeing or safety, or some type of disagreement.

Minor hockey is about fun and all kids play big or small. There is a seasonable amount of leeway given but a hard stance on head shots or bad behaviour. People support this.

The NHL does not land on reasonable. Hard stance on puck over the glass which is rediculous and then everything else open to interpretation.

Anyway, more in regards to your post, nobody is looking for Utopia, simply a reasonable attempt at officiating.


Actually, pick over glass is my favourite penalty. There’s NEVER any interpretation. It’s a penalty all the time – every time.


On that note, at the recent GM’s meeting this week, Jarmo Kekalainen proposed a change to the rule where its not a penalty if the player didn’t have control of the puck. Apparently, it was not a suggestion favored by most of the GMs.


Actually I’ve seen it interpreted wrong on a number of occasions. Darnell put it through the photographer’s slot one time and got two minutes. Other examples would include the ref not seeing a deflection and wrongly attributing the offense to a player.



John continues to demonstrate that he doesn’t understand the issues, which is telling since I happen to believe that his view is the dominant view in the hockey community at higher levels.

But to be clear this has nothing to do with refereeing being hard, or hockey parents or any of that stuff. I hate it when parents or coaches yell at the refs in minor hockey games. When they do it is almost always for partisan reasons, without any connection to what has happened on the ice. In this vein, I see John, the NHL, and bad hockey parent all on the same side. In any case, my opinion is that minor hockey is refereed to a consistently higher standard than the NHL precisely because minor hockey refs are not taught to manage the games.

International hockey is also officiated to a higher standard, and the games are better, for the same reason. In many ways this is a Canadian specific problem, rooted in its higher levels.

Here is the main issue. John thinks that I have a problem with subjectivity. In saying this he misunderstands the epistemological issues at play. No one is saying that there is a clear, black and white, objective criteria that could be applied across all cases. Even if there it would have to be interpreted to the particular situation. So that red herring can be put to rest.

The issue is that the application of the general rule to the particular case requires judgement. When John characterizes as subjectivity is a backhanded way of saying that it is impossible to distinguish between good and bad judgement as it relates to the case in front of us (penalty or no penalty) and hence good judgement requires taking the larger context of the whole and using that to make a judgement of penalty or no penalty. That is what game management entails.

The problem with this view is it takes a difficult job and makes it impossible. I will stipulate and agree that refereeing an NHL game would be very difficult. It requires a remarkable combination of athleticism, focus, and judgement. Now take that situation and add on top of it the task of managing the game so that it is fair, but doing so in such a way that what happens in front of you no longer matters. It is an impossible task, which is why I don’t blame the NHL referees themselves and think it is an abomination that Tim Peel was fired.

So there two possibilities.

On the one hand, you take the play as it comes to you and make your best judgement on what happened based upon what you see. This strikes me as hard but doable. There are people in the world who have good judgement.

Or, keep a mental calculation of minutia in your head, forever paying attention to the score and and the game situation, and then make penalties for or against depending on which team is owed what/when, trying to make sure that it all evens out in the end. [If you think this is an exaggeration of what John thinks go back and read his posts, he says exactly this].

Somehow John has convinced himself that the latter choice is both easier and fairer. This is a crazy thing for a thinking person to believe. Once you go down this road exercising good judgement becomes impossible because you take the already difficult task of exercising good judgement and you layer on top of it the task of adding and subtracting the calls that led up to it. Sooner or later the actual play in front of you, the thing you are supposed to be adjudicating recedes, and good judgement is no longer an option.

It is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Once you decide that good judgement is just subjectivity, the only answer is to replace subjectivity with an even distribution of penalties.


This is a take I can agree with more than your earlier posts.

It’s all well and good to shoot for the ideal or textbook application of the rules, but in the real world events unfold too quickly to remain ideologically rigid. One must be flexible.

Speeding is an offense and injures or kills people. But going a few over while passing a semi isn’t worth being ticketed for – that’s legitimately a waste of resources and time. Which is why we trust peace officers to make judgement calls on what to let slide and what to pursue.

Context matters.


Ha I’ve been ticketed for exactly that.


What if the top 50 scorers in the NHL formed their own “union” and refused to play until the standard of officiating was similar to international officiating?

Would that get the league’s attention?

I can’t be the only person that would like to see the NHL stars shine each night.


That would be a mutiny to the NHLPA and they would be suspended immediately.

The PA should be banging the drum more loudly for the stars as well as the tweeners.

If the application of the rule book is consistent the product on the ice improves and so do revenues. Everyone wins.


Enter the KHL.


As soon as I get the option to pay money to support a league that isn’t the NHL, I’m taking it. If that league is the KHL… well, it would be friggin bizarre to have to go to Russia to get a fair contest, but it’s been a bizarre last few years.

Darth Tu

Careful now, this sounds a lot like Perez and the European Super League….


Nygard was held out for precautionary reasons – his hand swelled up a bit (same hand he has surgery on twice). Should be fine to go.

Kass isn’t thought to be serious – likely just soft tissue stuff which will take a week or so (likely).

Bouchard, his agent and Holland had a meeting to discuss what was best and all 3 believe it’s best to keep him up with the team. Gregor things he’ll get some games in May.

McLeod comes out of quarantine on Sunday so will have one full practice with the team that day before the next game on Monday.

Paddy Morans Jockstrap

It’s pretty simple. The NHL is match fixing to control matchups and make sure large tv markets are in the playoffs and go deep. TML and MTL will get the calls until the semi-finals, and then, they will get nothing.

They were caught red handed match fixing only weeks ago. Let’s call this for what it is, and any calls to “play through” the match fixing only enables the corruption. The media at all levels is part of the problem.


Yup. LA has had this cornered in the NBA for decades and for the NHL for a time when they were relevant.


I don’t buy this narrative at all. I would like to see proof the NHL is favouring one team over another. Its incompetence mixed with a tradition and history. This is the way it’s always been done is quintessential NHL.


I 100% agree that the NHL is NOT directing the officials to favor certain teams over the others. No way, no how, in particular with gambling on games, and single game betting, becoming such a major industry.

With that said, I 100% believe the NHL expanded the play-in this past August from 4-8 teams (i.e. 20 playoff teams to 24) due to Chicago, MTL and NYR – in the name of fulfilling certain TV obligations.

That is NOT the same as fixing the on-ice games.


Dig your posts on hockey but I totally have the bit in my teeth on this issue. By paragraph:
With tens of billions of dollars at stake, do you trust a multinational corporation to do the right thing even though there is no regulation or oversight?


If they *were* fixing matches, how would we know? They wouldn’t hold a press conference to tell us, so we would have to figure it out for ourselves. We might see evidence that referees are not calling the rulebook. We might see the standards of what is or isn’t a penalty change all the time. We might see consistent efforts to avoid accountability. We might see people who speak out being punished by the NHL. We might see people who accidentally say the quiet part out loud removed. We might see the NHL leaning on their media partners to toe the line, and we might see the NHL revoke access to members of the media who won’t play ball.

To be clear, I’m not saying “th’ guvmint stole m’teefs and their rigging the games!” I’m saying, “the mechanisms necessary to rig games exist and are actively defended by many people involved in the NHL, and we should consider whether we are okay with that.”

Paddy Morans Jockstrap

The league is represented on-ice by the officials who enforce league rules and league policies. An on-ice official was caught match-fixing red handed this year. Are you trying to say that Peel is some kind of bad apple and was independently ignoring league directives or league policy? You are way too bright to believe that. The NHL is far closer to the WWF than the NBA/NFL/MLB in terms of legitimacy. They engage in bald faced match fixing, were caught, but will double down until shamed into reform. Saying teams should “fight through it” simply legitimizes bad behavior. Should we have expected George Floyd to fight through the knee on his neck?

Last edited 23 days ago by Paddy Morans Jockstrap

Officiating with game management, likely in the name of parity, is not the same as officiating with the intent of ensuring a certain team wins and a certain team loses.

A general mandate re: “game management” is a LONG WAYS from a directive to favor MTL, NYR, CHI and LAK.

Paddy Morans Jockstrap

Game management = match fixing in polite terms that do not embarrass the offender too badly and it’s a very very short way from directives to favor certain teams. How can you deny what Peel did was not “fixing” the match?


That was 100% NOT an example the refs going in to a game with the intent of calling the game to favor one team over another.

Paddy Morans Jockstrap

Trying to fix the game to insure some definition of parity is no different than trying to fix it in insure one team wins. You are benefiting one side and handicapping another in a deliberate manner. How can you pretend the Oilers and other Canadian and small market teams get a fair shake in the NHL after all that has happened over the past 20 years? Does the NFL screw Green Bay because they are in the middle of nowhere? No, they celebrate the franchise and market the hell out it.

I’ll stop now as this is getting a bit too much like the old Twain quote “it’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.” Hey we all love the game and it hurts to see it so obviously perverted, but the ugly truth is staring you in the face. Just wait until the playoffs.


I was responding to the position that the NHL is directing referees to favor bigger market teams and to help them win games.

That is 100% not happening, in my opinion.


I love that so may Oilers were finishing checks in these last two games. I can’t tell you how many times in the last few years it’s irked me when most of the team’s forecheckers skated up to the other team’s player moving the puck and curled off rather than initiating any contact whatsoever.


LT are you propagating the narrative that the depth isn’t good? Cherry picking stats to slander Ken Holland. My word. OP where are you?

John Chambers

One side of refereeing minor hockey in Edmonton are the parents. Some of them should seriously not be allowed in the rink.

I’m no victim or shrinking violet, but when I was 15 my dad had to drive me to the opposite side of the city to file a report because a parent had issued a death threat directly to my face. When I was 16 a parent sprang to choke me on my way to the official’s room. I’d say in roughly 20% of games you’ll receive very rude and harsh verbal. This is the experience for virtually all officials. You let it run off you like water off a duck’s back.

It’s nice when parents and coaches thank you for calling a good game. In an afternoon of calling four games, three will be handshakes and smiles, and one will be Cassandra giving me a face full of ugly hockey parent. Same referee, but I guess I became stupid for the 60 minutes I reffed your kid.

The hockey community in Edmonton is only so large, so you run into a lot of the same folks. The coaches and referees know one another and there is a long history. As a referee the guiding principle is to stay impartial even when a coach has a history of frothing at the mouth at you.

Thanks to the parents and coaches who offer encouragement, or who at least remain tight-lipped when they don’t agree with your on-ice decision. “Good game ref” is a very Canadian thing to say. I’ll single out Dr Randy Gregg – among many many nice coaches and hockey parents in Canada would respond to close call against his team with: “let’s go kill it off guys”.


FWIW this is a thing I agree with. Have volunteered in sports a lot, avoid reffing whenever possible. Completely thankless job, everyone wants you to favour them and thinks you are favouring the other team. Always make a point of thanking the folks who ref games I play, even when I feel angry at them. Want to reiterate I think the problem is the NHL, not the refs.


I would love to read last nights referees briefing notes. I don’t think we will ever have them made public. I think we would be shocked. Think of the loss of revenue if Montreal doesn’t make the playoffs. Take a look at decisions made in determining last years playoffs. Follow the money is an old adage but is more true now than when it was coined!


Great post by someone that’s actually been in the trenches and not make believe pixie land.


What magic pixie land are you referring to? Is it the one where NHL refs are making 6 figure salaries to effectively not do their jobs?

Shit, magic pixie land to me is getting paid $300k a year to skate around the ice and not call penalties and only arbitrarily call them when I want to.

And then have a legion of people defend my poor work.

And then when star players (assets worth millions of dollars to the league) get injured because I let a game get out of hand due to my unwillingness to call a penalty, I can just go “meh, that’s hockey”.

Last edited 23 days ago by Side

Is “make believe pixie land” the place where people still believe players decide the results of games?


I can attest to this. In my early 20’s a roommate of mine was a referee and was doing a midget AA game and had a parent from the opposing team wait for him in the parking lot. My roommate was 6’5, ex college ball player, so he could handle himself… Upon seeing him in street clothes the dad ended up backing off a little, but I can imagine a scenario where the dad might have acted differently if the ref in question was a more regular sized person.


Nice post. But I see zero parallels between minor hockey reffing and the NHL. If you equate Cassandra’s arguments to a rabid parent, you’ve missed the point. This coming from a guy who’s called out parents on his son’s own team for being Jack asses.

Scungilli Slushy

As for reffing I agree they can’t call everything, but how about call all of the dangerous and obvious ones?

They have always picked a thing they are going to call consistently, this year reaching in and touching gloves is a fave.

Even if it’s not really a slash or hook. Weak IMO.

There are also 2 refs on the ice now, right?

It is completely possible to clean up the calls and keep the flow.

Might take a few more old guard to head out to pasture. Please.


Why can’t they call everything?


Exactly. Set a damn standard. Short term pain (i.e., parade to the sin bin) for long term gain (i.e., consistency in officiating). Players will adapt–and for those stragglers who don’t, well, they can keep getting whistled.

If it’s expected that the Oilers ought to adapt to how games are being officiated, is it not reasonable to expect all players to adapt to a new (read: consistent) standard?

Or am I out to lunch here?


I agree. This is especially obvious at lower levels of hockey. If a ref lets things go, I’ve seen minor hockey games get completely out of hand. It happens all the way up the ladder.

Even on a game by game level, a couple early calls have players feeling a little more cautious. Set the standard early, players adjust. Nobody wants to watch players be mugged through the neutral zone, it’s garbage to watch.


If you’re out to lunch, I’m at the same table in the same restaurant.


Never reffed hockey, but reffed soccer and basketball for years. Would call every single foul for the first 5 minutes of each half, the teams would get the message and calm down, and then we had some nice games.

Also had teams where there was an obvious dislike or rivalry and those I tended to be heavy-handed, or it got out of control.


The other thing, and this is only by eye and completely anecdotal, but I’d swear the quality of reffing dropped as soon as they went to the two-referee system.


They should. It would be interesting to watch.

Scungilli Slushy

Because it’s a contact sport played at above normal speeds bcs skates.

They have to decide that actions that potentially cause serious injury, career altering and lingering damage need to be called every time.

Instead of things like reaching in with the stick regardless of whether it’s hard enough to be a slash or hook. Which you bet they call 90% of the time.

Cross checking, any head shot, cross checking to the lower back (kidneys, ever been punched there?), slew footing, kneeing, taking skates out when you’re cleanly beat, etc etc – no.

As many have said it’s possible but takes league direction. Protect the players that drive revenue. Every other league has done it.

Picks are called in the other 3 bigger majors.

If you are done you’re done, hack play/obstruction should not be an option.


Unfortunately the reffing in the NHL will never change as long as Bettman and Daly are in charge. This league under them is based on parity and this type of officiating favours that. It levels the playing field for lesser skilled teams and teams that are lower in the standings. I mean look at how long it took highly skilled teams to win a cup (Tampa and Washington).

I think the model for a fairly reffed game while still maintaining the integrity of the sport has always been there. And I’m talking about the International games I have been watching for years. The world juniors, olympics and world championship reffing is what the NHL should be striving for. Those games are amazing to watch as the reffing is consistent and completely unbiased. As a result the players adjust and you get fast, highly skilled and competitive hockey. I would love to see the NHL bring in some international refs into the fold just bring in some diversity and different opinions. The NHL is the best league in the world with players from all over. So why should It be any different for the refs? Bring in the best of best regardless of where they are from.

SK Oiler Fan

Well said.
NHL fans get a bit upset at first when they see their national team get called for 5 straight penalties, since it never happens to your favorite team in the NHl. But everyone knows that situational officiating doesn’t happen there and they soon turn their frustration to the players for taking mostly dumb penalties since they should know what the standard is going to be.
The problem starts at the top. As mentioned there’s some grey haired fossils running the league that need to go before anything will change.
Or the MSM needs to go on a crusade to bring even more attention to the issue. Will Never happen

Craig Zonit

Agree with this 100%. Guess I prefer my barbecue vegan because I prefer goals to blindside hits.


I just like to understand what the rules are. Am I really the only person who has no idea what is or isn’t interference anymore?


Almost every rule is written with the preface … “at the discretion of the referee…”. So literally nothing is written in stone, nothing is finite.


Official Rules – Rule 67: Handling Puck | NHL.com – Rookies

Doesn’t look to me as though that is the case. If I’m looking in the wrong place I apologize and would appreciate if you could point me in the right direction. (Clicking on the links on the right hand side take you to the full rulebook, where using ctrl+F and searching for “discretion” did not take me to very many places).


As an example here is the rule regarding Rule 42 – Charging. I found this on the Hockeycentral website…

42.2Minor Penalty – The Referee, at his discretion, may assess a minor penalty, based on the degree of violence of the check, to a player or goalkeeper guilty of charging an opponent.
42.3Major Penalty – The Referee, at his discretion, may assess a major penalty, based on the degree of violence of the check, to a player or goalkeeper guilty of charging an opponent (see Rule 42.5).
42.4Match Penalty – The Referee, at his discretion, may assess a match penalty if, by his judgement, the player or goalkeeper attempted to or deliberately injured his opponent by charging.

Interestingly those words are not used in Rule 56 – Interference… but it begins with an important statement…

56.1Interference – A strict standard on acts of interference must be adhered to in all areas of the rink.

Huh, “strict standard” … that’s importantly being missed by the refs.

Last edited 23 days ago by Boil-in-the-Oil

Thanks, I appreciate it. I think this: Hockeycentral | NHL | NHL Rule 42 is what you found, let me know if I’m wrong. Interesting thing though – immediately before what you posted it says:
42.1Charging – A minor or major penalty shall be imposed on a player or goalkeeper who skates or jumps into, or charges an opponent in any manner.
I’m not arguing with you or holding this up as proof that I’m right, just saying that it is really interesting to me that the wording for the penalty itself is unambiguous. Maybe it is supposed to be read as “This is a penalty, but it is the referee’s discretion how many minutes to give for it?”


Or whether to assign a penalty at all. I would suggest first is a definition of what constitutes the infraction, second is the potential punishment (left to the discretion of the ref)…note the use of the word “…may…”.

But ya, like any well drafted law (ha ha), you’ve gotta leave enough room to get lawyers fighting over the opposing interpretations, and the writer’s intent.

Last edited 23 days ago by Boil-in-the-Oil
Scungilli Slushy

The Oilers would do themselves a favour by not completely losing coverage and giving up super easy goals.

That was actually the biggest issue.

When Larsson got beat side I was thinking‘happens to every D when a guy that fast has a lane’.

To my eye again it seemed the Oilers changes were sloppy. They are too slow, players come off lazily, and it leads to odd man situations and no coverage.

Maybe shorter shifts would help.

When I notice it I watch the other team’s and really the Oilers need to be a lot better.


*replied to wrong comment

Last edited 23 days ago by Durag
Bag of Pucks

I’m getting the sense that most of the folks on this board would not have like the Broad Street Bullies era of the NHL.

There’s NHL fans that prefer their BBQ rare and their justice, frontier style.

There’s NHL fans that prefer their BBQ vegan and their reffing, to the letter.

Somewhere in the middle of those polar extremes lives an entertaining product that rewards skill and physicality. And therein lies the challenge for the refs.

I think there has to be more appreciation of the fact that sometimes two teams show up intensely wanting to tussle. That’s a good thing and it’s why these games can be so entertaining. We don’t want the refs to neuter that. A good ref is a governor not a parking brake.

Last edited 23 days ago by Bag of Pucks

When the going gets tough the tough get going If we win the game there would be less whining today. I think there’s a couple of Karen’s that just don’t enjoy anything about hockey. They get off by posting negativity of the game that I loved as a kid and still love now.

Bag of Pucks

Agreed. Overzealous reffing is one of these things that sounds great in theory (it’s SO consistent!), but rarely is in practice. It kills the flow and the players hate the tricky tack calls. It takes the aggression out of the game and makes them tentative.

The ultimate expression of this was the skate in crease rule that led to Hull’s controversial Cup winning goal. That was the worst era of NHL officiating precisely because it removed the ability of the refs to exercise sensible judgement.

Gretzky found a way way to be skillful in a pretty physical era of hockey. The best always do. I’ve never bought the argument that the rule book has to be enforced to the letter for the cream to rise. People love it when the Battle of Alberta started to get rough again. That’s entertainment! You don’t get that when the refs are penalizing every single minor infraction.

The NHL Rule book is like speed limits. They’re suggestions not absolutes and we all know the Autobahn rules.


Those were the two best games of the year because of the raw emotion. I was just as pissed off at the Leon penalty as anyone else. Games like the last two either splits a team or bonds them together. The team played hard right till the end and they didn’t go running to their mommies because the Refs were mean to them.


I’m sure your girlfriend is impressed by your macho posturing, but you are not actually addressing any of the many and substantive complaints about the refereeing.


Gretzky played in the pre instigator rule era. He had some of the toughest players either riding shotgun or on the team that would make the transgressors pay a definitive price. Let the ref’s take care of the players always was and still is BS. Take a look at the abuse Connor takes on a nightly basis. The current system is broken!


There was plenty of whining after the last game. These two games were exceptional.

Brogan Rafferty's Uncle Steve

You should read Cassandra’s post below. It is not the rough play that is the primary concern or frustration (although, personally, I am worried CMD is going to receive a career-ending injury from one of the many fouls at high speed that go uncalled) it is the absolute arbitrariness of how fouls are called. Some players are allowed to employ frontier-style justice, some are not allowed, depending on the ref’s persuasion. There is no consistency.


^ this.


Did Caleb Jones do enough to keep a spot in the lineup over Russell for Monday’s game where Kulikov will play. We know the head coach (and likely Jimmy P.) likes Russell so Jones needs to impress to stay. Did the pass for the McDavid goal do it?


I say Jones comes out out and Tip sticks with Russell is my guess


Jones attempted clear from the corner to the Hab fwd all alone in the slot was what I thought would get him benched for the remainder of the game, was surprised to see him back out. No idea on your query.


Why are we even pretending Russell comes out.


Coach Tippett has, in the past, healthy scratched Russell. He did it multiple times last season and he started this season with Russell out of the lineup.

He will scratch Russell if he thinks its best.

For the most part this season, Russell has done a fine job even in a 2nd pairing role where he should be 3rd pairing.

Now, Caleb Jones has come on a bit and shown some plus offensive and transition plays. We know Tip likes that. With Kulikov coming in and having some similar skills to Russell, I could see Tip maybe going with Jones as 3LW.


That was Archibald, not Jones.

tavvey tune

They both did one. Archie from the side boards to Smith who tipped it to Toffoli.
Jones was behind the red line and sent a sensational tape to tape pass into the high slot to a Hab, I forget who. Clear lane to the net.


Kulikov and Bouchard both need games before the playoffs begin, I know it and so does coach Tippett.


Kulikov will not only get games, he’ll be an every day d-man. He’s legit. The question is Russell vs. Jones vs. Lagesson.


Tippett will probably want to see how well Kulikov PK’s before he will play Jones over Russell.

I think they need Jones over Russell to get out of Canada in the playoffs, so hopefully Kulikov can PK.

And hopefully, Kulikov and Barrie have some chemistry, to get Barrie easier matchups.


I am interested to see the day that Draisaitl finally drops the gloves and woe unto the man who has provoked him to that point. I feel like last night he was pretty close.

Our Edmonton Operation

I assume Draisaitl can handle himself but hopefully if that day comes, he doesn’t injure his hand like Kassian or get concussed like Khaira. He’s too valuable, notwithstanding there comes a time when you have to drop the gloves.


He wouldn’t stand a chance against Weber.


NHL would require Drai to use one hand while Weber would get to select an assistant.


I’m dreading that day.


Mario Lemieux has always been outspoken on fair play on star players and the abuse star players take to slow them down. It’s time we review this again. We need the star players to showcase their talent not the bullies and bad teams to dictate the play and game. Showcase the talent should be the NHL mantra

Last edited 23 days ago by flyfish1168

Lost in all of the ref outrage, JP scored again last night, again in crunch time. Tipped a puck from behind big bad Weber.

12 goals overall now. 12 goals puts him in a tie for 94th among forwards. He’s tied with Laine (awesome!) and one behind RNH.

The better JP gets, the better the team gets. Based on room to grow, this is truer of JP than any other player on the roster. If JP clicks, there’s just too much of JP to handle.


Goals, schmoals.

What’s his 5v5 p60?


Ha! You feel my pain.

One day at a time. The All hail math! days are especially tough.


I do.

Nuge is having a fine year goals and points wise, but the p60 mafia disagree.



Even by pts/game Nuge is well off the pace of his own recent past though.

18-19 0.84 P/GP
19-20 0.94
20-21 0.71

This while playing almost exclusively with McDavid at 5v5 and completely failing to produce.

I generally agree with George that P/GP is a better and more inclusive measure of production than 5v5/60. And also that the criticism of Nuge is overblown.

But Nuge is legitimately having a tough season and isn’t producing what we would/should expect from him given his own history and PP + even strength minutes/linemates.

Last edited 23 days ago by jp

Once Nuge finds his offensive game leading in the playoffs, it will add another layer to the team.


Yes, it will. Hopefully it actually happens. I think it’s likely, but it’s eluded him in large part so far; there are no guarantees.


He has 13 5×5 points and is tied with Svechnikov and ahead of PLD he has 8 5×5 goals…couldn’t be bothered to calc per 60 mins


Nuge has 11 5v5 points. Tied with PLD and 17 others for 214th among forwards. Not many of the others they’re tied with would be confused with top 6 forwards.

This season is also the worst 5v5 points/game of Nuge’s career. It’s not good.

It’s also an anomaly, so I’d have zero issue re-signing him and expecting a rebound. But the talk of him asking for/getting $7M per (from Holland at least) should be over I’d think.


I just finished reading all the comments and find the discussion fantastic as usual.

Trying to think of an analogy. What if we went to work and they decided they were going to game manage the Workplace harassment policy. Victims must play through it and the company will decide the rules as they go.

Or dare we talk about policing? Certainly another area of judgement calls taking place in amongst clearly defined rules

Today I land in the same place as most, there is now too much it is the inconsistency, too much interpretation, bending of the rules that it takes away from the game. The refs are having an effect that reduces the hockey experience.


In the construction and refinery maintenance business, safety is game managed.

Get the job done, but don’t get hurt. Follow the rules, but don’t point out when the company doesn’t put you in a position to follow the rules and get the job done. Shut your mouth and get it done. But don’t get hurt. Or we’ll pull out all the stops to make sure you take the blame.

Play the game.

Same as it ever was.


I’m guessing the people who downvoted this are middle management in construction companies, cause you a preaching the truth.




Difference being there is real punishment when someone gets hurt. Two games for Edler while the player he injures is out for a minimum of two weeks is BS.

Bag of Pucks

Workplace Harassment is game managed. A complaint prompts an investigation not immediate judgement and punishment which is essentially what the penalty box is.


Policing is definitely game managed.

Public intoxication is against the law, but how often have you been arrested after a night out? Drinking in public is against the law, but I can tell you I’ve rarely been hassled for enjoying a beer in the park (although it does happen). Smoking marijuana used to be against the law, and yet I often smelled the skunky odour of cannabis wafting through various Canadian cities. Jay walking is against the law, and yet I do it on a regular basis without issue.

Now, I know people who have been detained for getting drunk and unruly, or for jaywalking across a highway.

The issue is not that the game is managed, it’s how the game is managed.


Hilarious to me how marijuana went from being illegal to being an essential service in, what, 3 years?


I worked with a colleague who in his “spare” time was a OHL ref, his goal was to work in the NHL. Over five years he learned his craft and was selected to officiate in the Memorial Cup. He got two games that year. He call a total of 5 penalties and spent a lots of time talking to the players and coaches.

The next year he was invited to the Memorial Cup again, the first game was very good. In the second game their were 20 penalties called, I remember watching that game and having a sinking feeling for my colleague. Post the game the ref in charge told the game officials they had done a good job in a difficult game. However my colleague did not get another game that year and has not been to the Memorial Cup since.

As a hockey ref you can’t call everything – you become the story.


And yet what is the story today? The announcers talked about nothing else last night.

The true meaning of the story is that none of this is the actual referees fault. It comes from the league.

Are other leagues officiated in this way? Paging our Swedish friends.


I think every fanbase in every league has individual axes to grind with the refs. I do not think other Leagues have this situation where referees call games based on instructions that are kept secret from the public, but I might be wrong.


In Switzerland it’s exactly same imo…

cowboy bill

That was exactly it ” What are you going to do about it ” , for sixty minutes the officials allowed the Habs to bully their way around the ice . Very surprising the penalties where even at four apiece . After Kassian hurt himself the Oil where definitely short staffed ,with Chiasson harassed all game long being ineffective and Neal was just ineffective period .
Give the Oilers credit though they did persevere the game probably should have gone into OT . But the referees had other thoughts .