Whispering Pines

by Lowetide
OKC Barons photo by Rob Ferguson

Do you know The Band? Four Canadians and an Arkansan who got together in Northern New York during the hippie era and found the sound of lonely. If forlorn had a favouriite it would be The Band. Their haunting harmonies are married to gorgeous melodies and poetry:

Whispering pines, rising of the tide
If only one star shines
That’s just enough to get inside
I will wait until it all goes ’round
With you in sight, the lost are found
Foghorn through the night, calling out to sea
Protect my only light, ’cause she once belonged to me
Let the waves rush in, let the seagulls cry
For if I live again, these hopes will never die
I can feel you standing there
But I don’t see you anywhere

If you’re ever melancholy, and looking for a song to calm you, find The Band’s first two albums. Whatever else West Saugerties, New York brought the world, that magical pink house has calmed the unrest in this heart for decades. Music so beautiful it’s timeless from a bunch of long hairs who look like they wandered into 1968 from the civil war. RIP Richard Manuel.


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’s the latest!


I believe the Oilers will win the series. The game last night was there for the taking just like Game One. Both games have been won on fluke goals. I don’t see any quit in the Edmonton side.

Some things were the same, like a slow start and some scrambled Edmonton coverage, and those things will have to be cleaned up in a quick hurry. Luck can leave you and not come back, maybe we’re watching a sweep. I don’t think so. The team had some great chances last night, they didn’t cash. Nurse goal mouth, McDavid looking at nothing but net, McLeod to Chiasson and on it went.

The team started getting loose (the good loose) by the second period last night, McDavid especially found his swagger after playing a tentative first four periods and having a tough time with what looked like a constant double team.

I counted seven players—McDavid, Draisaitl, Puljujarvi, Nurse, Barrie, Yamamoto and Khaira—who had 10-bell chances. Edmonton had three great OT chances before the fluke goal.

Mike Smith is giving this team a grand chance to win the series. Does anyone question his ability to win several games in a row?


  • Kahun—McDavid—Puljujarvi
  • Nuge—Draisaitl—Yamamoto
  • Ennis—McLeod—Archibald
  • Neal—Khaira—Chiasson
  • Nurse—Barrie
  • Kulikov—Larsson
  • Koekkoek—Bear
  • Smith

I’d stay the course with 97 and 29 on separate lines. Dave Tippett loaded up the top line last night, I think as an active measure to gain possession and in hopes of getting the lead. Howver, the Jets have placed McDavid in isolation, so there will be no clean air until the Oilers beat the trap. I would suggest Puljujarvi as transporter on the line, to establish possession, with McDavid searching for quiet ice as a passing option for 13.

The other thing Edmonton can do is use those short passes in the neutral zone, puck holder sending a short pass to a speeding winger who can hit the line in full flight. Entry, scoring chance and power play are some possible outcomes. Radek Dvorak used that option in the 2006 playoffs to great effect.


It’s funny what happens when outcomes differ from the expected. I though we agreed that all four Northern playoff teams were about equal, swear that was established somewhere about mid-season. When people started saying Toronto would dominate the playoffs, I mentioned on the Lowdown that seemed a stretch. I picked Toronto in six games.

I picked Edmonton in seven, still picking the Oilers in seven games. A loss tomorrow will seal their fate, though, so we’re in a room with old man Mandelbaum now. It’s go time.

One thing that continues to amaze me is the wild and often angry takes I see online. You know, it’s possible to play well and lose twice, right? Edmonton has been inconsistent and have started each game a little addled. They lose both games on fluke goals. Luck is a strange animal and currently the Jets are riding that nag (and a great goalie) until it drops.

I believe the Oilers will come back and win this series. If not, the legend of Hellebuyck will grow. Rage over a lack of penalties, roster choices and lack of deadline trades are all interesting, but if the Oilers themselves continue to push, this series has several more chapters to come.


You may also like

4.7 16 votes
Article Rating
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

The Oilers are playing well, on the whole, but they are up against a well-balanced, talented team with a goalie who is surging at the right time. In a playoff series such as this, we inevitably discover our shortcomings as a team, and shortcomings are not necessarily fatal flaws or screw-ups. The key to turning the series around, in my view, is for the team to redistribute attention away from McDavid and Draisaitl, through intelligent passing and playmaking. The star system does not work well in the playoffs if you begin by expecting your stars to get you through the tough times. Stars will come out and shine when the whole team is pulling together, in the same direction.

McDavid and Draisaitl also must show an ability to mix up their plays, so that they are not as predictable. What worked during the regular season time and time again is not necessarily going to work in the playoffs. McDavid has to recognize the talent of Puljujarvi and defer to him from time to time. Jessie can carry the puck and pass very well. Let him do some of that. Similarly, Draisaitl has to shift the focus and spotlight to Nuge, through magically waiving the German wand and mesmerizing the opponents, only to emerge with a lethal snipe at an opportune moment. Nuge is now fully grown, I think, and should take command. Yamamoto has to be able to score. Triple please!!! Unfortunately, he has been getting pounded along the boards and in front of the net. But he is not going to score unless he allows himself to get pounded. The refs have to start calling some of the mischief, which horribly disadvantages smaller players. I honestly do not know how Yamamoto has survived to this point. I worry about him.

Keep the defence as it is. Koekoek has played very well, and is more reliable than Jones would be. Barrie has been neutralized, but he is a veteran who should be able to find opportunities. His job is to be a spark-plug and to activate the forwards, not to do it all himself. He must remember that.

Smith…has been playing extremely well. The rest of the team should feel inspired by his Herculean efforts.

They must play each game as if they will win the Stanley Cup if they win the game. Otherwise, there will be no Stanley Cup.

Last edited 3 months ago by UnjustEnrichment

Not complaining about the reffing since I didn’t see the game between the leafs and canadians. I’m looking at the stats and am shocked at how the game was called. leafs given 6 PP in a row. I have watched many games and don’t ever remember seeing this happen before. So is this game management for the leafs.

Richard Roma

How do our two fourth lines stack up against the rest of the NHL? Other playoff teams?

Is one of our bottom six lines even close to an average fourth line?


Could be:




Both of the lines LT posted would be actually.


Unfortunately we didn’t give Bouchard enough at bats to try this
But I’d switch Barrie to wing.


I wouldn’t have an issue with Bouch being inserted in to the lineup – I think he’s ready to play just “blocked” – we know Tip isn’t scratching Barrie.


Hence moving Barrie to wing.
you can still play him 20 min a night plus
Any way you cut it there’s only 1 RW that has any shot at scoring a goal
Yamamoto is a bottom 6 energy guy
Kassian is a neutered goon
Archie is a bottom 6 energy guy.

the downgrade from Barrie to Bouch is far less than the upgrade from Kassian or Yammer to Barrie


I understand what you are getting at, of course, in reality, we know there is zero chance of it happening and, of course, talking about the “upgrade from Yamamoto to Barrie at forward” may be the biggest speculative stretch on LT in 2021…. in line with the positing that Laggeson, Sekera, Fayne and Benning are an elite Stanley Cup winning top 4.


Ok Kassian then
we know he’s not quite at Hall level in OP world but close.
Barrie is already a forward. He just lines up behind the other forwards


But I do think most would consider 48 to be a higher number than 21.


I have no idea what that means.


Points = upgrade.


Well, he is just stealing those points from the forwards so he would just get them as a forward.


If he had 48 points as a forward we all would be re-signing him for $6M.


This place has gone mad


I love the idea of Barrie anywhere but D or G. Ideally the PB.



Zero proof ….just my conjecture.

He is pouting. He was getting regular shifts with McDavid and or Drai.

Then demoted.

As Leadfarmer just pointed out, if you are not taking passes from either of them, you might as well be playing in Siberia.

Kenny has him locked up until 2024.

The cheque’s cash just the same.


Interesting. Up 1-0 in the series, Habs not getting away with Habbing (Jetting?). Could the Oilers be the benefactors of similar series management come Sunday? Don’t hold your breath….


Habs did take out Tavares, if that happened to us we might get some sympathy calls too.


I know a lot are pissed at coaching
but when the only two options that are not just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic are do I play Drai and Mcdavid together or apart. Every other choice is pretty much meaningless


Well put.

Dennis King

It’s not that dire, though. Play Kahun-97-13; 93-29-56; Neal-McLeod-Chiasson and Ennis-JJ-Arch


So two possible combinations.

Dennis King

In terms of lineup? 29 and 97 on different lines and the 18-39 winger duo has to play together(look it up because it actually works)

You might also want to consider planning your entire gameplan around Tyson Barrie. Tippett had all season figure out a partner for him for 12 to 15 min. Instead he goes full Victor Tihknov and uses a 5 man unit and buries the obvious first pairing in the process: Nuge-Bear. Bear and 97 go together like ****** and ******

Dennis King



So Koekkoek-Barrie again?

I kind of agree on Bear, but he hasn’t looked strong defensively vs the Jets either (IMO).

And the McDavid-Bear magic you speak of is really in just 178 minutes this year. Last year (585 min) they were quite pedestrian together (McDavid’s numbers were almost identical with and without).


Agreed on the Fs. 18-39 have worked with basically every C they’ve played with.


Honest question, in this context, how do we define “worked”? Not get caved (i.e. almost saw off goals)?


~ 50% shot and goal shares. Which in non-McDavid/Draisaitl minutes, on the Oilers, is a big deal.

The past 2 seasons with Neal and Chiasson’s on ice together:
372 minutes
52% SF
56% GF (14-11)
55% xGF

And with various centers:
Nuge 122 min
58% SF
56% GF (5-4)
62% xGF

Haas 107 min
48% SF
50% GF (2-2)
45% xGF

Khaira 62 min (I included their 20 play-in minutes here)
47% SF
67% GF (4-2)
44% xGF

McLeod 36 min
56% SF
33% GF (2-4)
52% xGF

Gagner 28 min
65% SF
100% GF (1-0)
73% xGF

Small samples, but I think it’s fair to say Neal and Chiasson ‘worked’ with pretty much all the centers to a decent degree.

Dennis King

I hope this post doesn’t get edited;) but the reason why Kassian and Lucic don’t play aggressively all the time is they can’t do it without getting hurt because they are too old. It’s nothing to do with life changes. Larsson’s father died but Larsson can still be a butcher because he’s only 28 years old




I think I would bring in Shore instead of Ennis in the above roster.

I think Chiasson is more effective at even strength with McLeod than with Khaira.

Shore Khaira Archibald
Neal McLeod Chiasson

That was working pretty well at the end of the regular season.

One might bring Ennis in for Neal. But Neal and Chiasson are pretty effective together for some reason that I cannot understand. I think it is because both will shoot the puck if they get the chance.


What about switching the centers?

Khaira has had success (including in the post-season) between the two vets.

McLeod’s pure aversion to close spaces and contact doesn’t really mesh with the type of game the big blodders can play.


Somebody’s got to get the puck up the ice for Neal and Chiasson. It is easier to manage the lineup with the PK’ers on one line and the non-PK’ers on another.

Don’t mess with a bottom six that was working pretty well near the end of the regular season.


The line (with Khaira) got the puck up the ice just fine down the stretch last season and against Chicago.

Meh, not much can be taken from the last couple of weeks of the regular season this year – pure garbage time.

I’ll take the line that was good during meaningful games last season and playoffs.


Chicago was a bad hockey team.


So? You just used decent results in garbage time games against the Canucks as evidence…….

Neal/Khaira/Chiasson were also used down the stretch last year and were very good – the sample isn’t huge but its not huge with any of these combos.


Khaira and Archibald have been a thing for the last two thirds of the season.


What I don’t understand is how the Stanley’s, Poolman’s, etc. of the Jets are, all of a sudden, so damn effective.

I understand the structure leading to low event hockey, however, I did find that McDavid had quite a bit of clean air last night (as compared to game 1). No, never an odd-man rush but he did have the puck with speed through the neutral zone on 2 on 2 situations many times. Every time, he was stick checked or forced to dump the puck in (which was so rare during the regular season).

These are on 2 on 2 rushes where he would routinely create danger all year long, against good d-men not the Logan Stanley’s of the workd.

SK Oiler Fan

Yep. Doesn’t make any sense. Going in they had probably Morrisey and Plinko as their top D? After that a bunch of 5-7 D that would rank in the 20-50th percentile in the league for D
97 and 29 lit this D and G combination up in 6 of 9 reg season games.
Whenever results diverge drastically from a trend there is usually a combination of factors that have caused the trend shift.
So have the Jets D suddenly all become elite defenders? No. Have 97 and 29 suddenly become non elite finishers? No. Can the Jets D raise their performance by 10% and can 97 and 29 performance drop by 10% for 2 games? Sure. That still wouldn’t be enough to explain what has happened though so I think we have to factor in some bad luck for 97 and 29 as well as more obstruction left uncalled by blind zebras.
Then there is any change in tactics by Maurice to continuing to have D back in, no pinching, keep plays to the outside, have the forwards clog the middle, and force back passes to Oilers D who are terrible at getting quality shots through. I think the skill level spread is still too great for the tactics change to have a major effect though.
If we see this new trend line sustain through 3 or 4 games then there’s some other factors we don’t know about.

Chelios is a Dinosaur

Best reason to have Bouchard in there, he’s one guy who gets the puck through and works the line.


I don’t see how Bouchard’s ability to get the puck on net in the offensive zone game factors in to McDavid having zero success on even-man rush attempts against middling d-men.

Given how ineffective Barrie has been, I’d be fine putting in Bouch and moving Bear up to partner with Nurse but I don’t think that helps the situation i was referring to.

Last edited 3 months ago by OriginalPouzar

Bruce McCurdy

Of the 19 Oilers who have played in the 2 playoff games, 2 of them have 0 shots on goal: Mike Smith & Zack Kassian.

Business as usual for Kass who has just 19 shots thru 29 games, including exactly 0 in 19 of them.

0 points, 5 shots on net, & just 4 PiM in his last 14 without a single plus game in that time.

If he’s been in 5 scrums all season I’ve forgotten 3 of them.

The good news is he only has 3 years left at $3.2 million.

but, but, but he was engaged verbally all night last night……

I can’t stand the “Kass needs the crowd” mantra.

Firstly, what? Seems every other energy player in the league is fine without the crowd noise. Also, what actual evidence of this is there? His poor play? He was playing poorly before the Covid-shutdown and has had many stretches of ineffective play in his career prior to 2019.

Also, even if this is the case, that he does need to the crowd noise – get the eff over it Zack – what a poor excuse. Play that damn game you are paid to play.

Scungilli Slushy

I agree Kassian has had consistency issues, as do most players that don’t get to the top of the list of top players.

Thinking about it, and it’s not an excuse, but perhaps a reason, he has undergone enormous life changes in the last few years.

Big screw ups, Sobriety, birth of first and second child, moving cities several times.

Some more grounded people still get derailed by life in sports.

And then there is that he’s Zach. I think they broke the mould.

I really hope he resurfaces as an effective hockey player version of new Zach tout suite.


Absolutely, changes in life circumstances can alter a players’ performance. I remain convinced that Lucic was a changed player for good after his dad committed suicide. It took Adam Larsson a while to get his top game back after his father passed.

With respect to Kass getting clean, I, of all people in this community, likely have the best understanding of what he’s had to deal with, both before, during and since, active addiction and in his recovery. At the same time, he played the best (and most consistent) hockey of his life after he was in recovery so I think that “life change” isn’t an issue with his play over the last 16 or so months.

Married and becoming a father, absolutely, that is a life change that could effect performance but, at some point, as a professional athlete, his job requires him to do what he needs to do to prepare for on-ice performance.

Darnell Nurse is having a kid in the next few weeks, I sure hope his game doesn’t take a massive dive.


What drives people to a high level of excellence is as different as people are different! There may be similarities but the drivers can change dramatically over a short period of time. See some of the military heroism as an example!

Scungilli Slushy

I agree with you.

But people don’t do what they are supposed to or should. Those that do lead the others usually.

I seen other players not as messed up as Kassian get derailed and essentially mess up their careers and not live up to contracts.

The Oilers have had a few. These people, many of them, have had very one dimensional life experience, hot shot hockey players if they made the show, and little education in the sense many outside of pro sports have. Some do have, many have token high school and college because of their sports ability.

I see it as a fail on the athlete, but it is what it is.

Last edited 3 months ago by Scungilli Slushy

Maybe, with Kass, he just isn’t really all that good and got paid off of a couple “hot streaks” that don’t represent sustainable abilities?

Lets not forget, there was a point during his 3 X $1.95MM contract where he was vastly underperforming it, a bit player/healthy scratch and looking for a new team.


I know you may have lead a rather sheltered life but have you never experienced the effect of crowd emotion. By my experience it is real and while it has a primeval reality it is also special in a way I can not explain to the uninitiated!


Wow, that was pretty condescending, for some odd reason.

I have no doubt crowd notice has an effect but the other hundreds and hundreds NHL players were able to manage without crowds and find their games.

This is not an acceptable excuse for Kassian.


Oilers Playoffs Alert


Replying to @Kinger999


and 2 others

I remember our very own @Woodguy55

doing a detailed look at potential 3C the Oilers could get. Out of the 10 players he looked at, IIRC, Turris was … 10th.

Too bad the Oilers management do less due diligence than the dedicated fans. (evergreen tweet for over a decade now)

Last edited 3 months ago by Ryan

Hey all you Zack bros. Logan Stanley marches into Rogers Place, pisses all over the ice, staking out Rogers Place as his playpen. And no response from Kassian.

Like what is the point of Kassian. He is not tough. He doesn’t stand up to anybody his own size. He doesn’t battle along the boards. All he does is run players half his size.

It always leaves me searching for a little…


Gerta Rauss

Whats so funny ’bout peace, love and understanding..?



Given your previous negative posts on everything pertaining to this player your comments lack credibility.

90s fan

Would a Caleb Jones be an improvement over Koekoek? The more skilled passing, the harder it is to clog things up.


Simple answer is no! He makes the killing error or rookies as I call it. He is not the answer!


Are we going back to game one lines?

Decidedly Skeptical Fan

Not to worry … Tip’s on it. I’m sure he has some real surprises up his sleeve. Maurice should be worried, very worried. Jets are playing right into Tip’s rope-a-dope strategy.

Bruce McCurdy

The Band’s fabulous debut album, Music from Big Pink, was the last gift my brother Dave gave to me before he was killed in a car crash back in 1975. He, it, and they hold a special place in my heart.
A good choice for today, LT, in fact thanks to your suggestion I will listen to it during my walk later this afternoon. Will make me sad & soothe the nerves all at once.

Todd Macallan

Thank you for sharing that beautiful story Bruce. I contend that The Weight remains the greatest song ever written, in any genre.


Especially with the staples featuring Mavis the voice of the gods.


After the game last night and remembering the regular season success against the jets i thought of ELO and Strange Magic!

buck yoakam

I want mr maroon back…


Lots and lots of critisizing the coach for “not playing his best lineup” and Tyler Ennis’ name comes up as an example. Lets not forget, Tyler Ennis is an offence only player that had 9 points this year and cleared waivers twice at a fully buryable cap hit.

I’d like to see Ennis in to add a bit more skill and quickness but the vitriol towards the coach for not playing Ennis is so overblown in my opinion – he cleared waivers twice and had 9 points this season.

Decidedly Skeptical Fan

When Nuge-Kahun-Yamamoto hit the ice one minute into the first period, Maurice must have literally been in shock, thinking, “My God, that’s Tip’s response to Game 1?, we’ve got this series won.”




I agree. If Ennis is a solution, the roster is the problem.


We are getting schooled because size and your answer is to add small defensively challenged. Barrie has not been an asset per se so in my opinion that is where the change might help. We need the D to get their shot past the fore checker regardless if it is on net! Nurse and Larsson have not been getting the puck through the initial fore checker. Solve that and in my opinion we’re golden!


Firstly, I don’t think you understood my post 100% – it’s main point was the vitriol re: now playing Ennis was overblown.

At the same time, I wouldn’t mind seeing him inserted in to the lineup to add a bit more offensive skill and quickness.

I don’t agree they are being “schooled because of size” but because of structure.

Ennis is no worse defensively than Kassian or Neal and, frankly, despite his stature, no less of a “physical player” right now that those two, in particular Kassian, who isn’t providing any sort of energy or aggresiveness.


Yamamoto would be a prime example of what I have said! If interference in it’s many forms isn’t called smaller quicker players are rendered ineffective. This is why you get for all intents and purposes a 2-1 first game and a 1-0 second game in OT. Draisaitl is skating with at least one person hanging on him like a Christmas ornament on almost every shift. I won’t even get into the constant hack on the hands of the skilled players! I would not pay for a playoff ticket to watch this if it was available!


I don’t agree that Yamamoto has been rendered ineffective and, frankly, I thought Kahun was one of the better forwards in game 1 when with McDavid.


Stauff asked about lineup changes, maybe adding more speed and/or giving McLeod more responsibility. Tip just said they are talking about lineup changes and they’ll see where they are tonight.

Gerta Rauss

Welcome back Dennis

Don’t be a stranger

Decidedly Skeptical Fan

Can’t say I agree with LT’s lines. I want to see more of the Nuge-Kahun-Yamamoto line. Papa smurf and the two baby smurfs. That was truly inspired. More, please.


I want McDavid and Draisaitl on separate lines, but agree Kahun-Nuge-Yamamoto are getting way too much flack.

They were quite decent in the short time they were together, and didn’t look at all like the smallest line Tippett could construct.


I am 100% against McDavid and Drai starting games together.

For one, it gets stale and, if they don’t start off “hot”, we see performances like last night.

Main reason, however, is it takes away game in load-up options – the “load up” after an icing or a PK or another favorable situation doesn’t have a “momentum effect” if the duo is already together.

Not to mention, it takes away the change to load up later in the game when a goal is needed.

It needs to be an in-game change to really have it’s greatest effect, in my opinion.

Not to mention, the top 6 in game 1 was just fine, quite good actually. The Drai line was working and Kahun has been playing great on McDavid’s wing.


Yup, agreed.


Jets keys to success: be as boring as possible

Scungilli Slushy

Connor needs wingers that can help him when the game is heavy and space is limited.

He leads the game in rush plays, but really they are almost always solo efforts, the other guys basically only need to make give and goes or hit him when he’s open with speed.

He doesn’t need fancy Dan wingers unless they are Kane/Panarin/Kucherov level players, which aren’t what Holland will get almost certainly.

Last edited 3 months ago by Scungilli Slushy

I miss Maroon, always have.

90s fan

The best thing for the day after blues is a TO loss. Go Canadiens.


Absolutely love The Band. Hate the “fat lady”, but haven’t heard her sing recently. Gotta mean it’s not over. I remember a series with the Jets, in the way-back, when they had a multi-game lead… and what do you know, we came back to win that series.

It’s not over.

90s fan

When was the last time McDavid went without a pt 2 games in a row. I kind of get this feeling that if we can open up any kind of a lead we can blow the doors off the joint.

In game one when we had a lead we began to swing, until they got that unfortunate equalizer….

Last edited 3 months ago by 90s fan
Bruce McCurdy

Games 23-25, all vs Toronto.

90s fan

Oh ya. That was a fun week wasn’t it.


I’ve watched that 2019 documentary Once Were Brothers with Robbie Robertson a couple of times. Recommend it.

Dennis King

I don’t really know what to make of that doc. All the boys had substance abuse problems and DUIs so in that regard I’m sure it was hard to hang in there for Robertson. And I respect how much he wrote for them. I think it was always just another thing for him, though, and for the rest it was their thing. It’s a shame it ended so quickly because their last album with Robertson was a serious comeback. Hobo Jungle is an underrated Band sad song; even moreso than Rockin Chair which is my favourite

Last edited 3 months ago by Lowetide
buck yoakam

I have always been a huge band fan…having said that I am no where near a robbie fan…I feel his ego ripped the band apart and it is plain that he waited long enough to provide us with gripping band highlights and visual and, of course, his rendition of how it all went down ( he waited until no one was alive that might dispute his claims)…geeze according to robbie dylan should thanks him for his career …just don’t get me going on that song stealing loser from new york…(paul simon)…

Randle McMurphy

Here’s the lyric I choose to describe the melancholy of the average Oilers fan (myself included).

“That’s the way that the world goes round,
You’re up one day, the next you’re down,
It’s a half and inch of water and you think you’re gonna drown,
That’s the way that the world goes round” … John Prine

Last edited 3 months ago by Randle McMurphy
Bag of Pucks

Check out the Lightning’s 5th goal today. This is a great way to defeat what the Jets are doing. Dman pass to neutral zone is chipped by a F to avoid the offside with the other two Fs speeding in to beat the D retrieval. It’s essentially a set play dumpin resulting in a 2 on 1. Smart well executed hockey.

Scungilli Slushy

I don’t see that the Oilers have much strategy in the O zone.

They push the puck back and forth behind the net, there is no play to make, back to the point.

Or lose the battle and too often give up odd man rushes.

Tipp at the start said the D zone they played his way, offensively was their way.

That is great for Connor and Leon, but most players need a plan to follow, and to make decisions quick enough, and to know what to do with suddenness, not thinking too much which kills pace.

To play a skill game tempo is everything.

They should have more plays as the one you described. And plays they try to execute on the cycle that are close to the net, not from 60 feet out.

Bag of Pucks

I agree. I would like to see the Oilers execute more set plays especially on the breakout. Every team should have some of these in their arsenal, well practiced and ready to pull out when the game situation presents the right opportunity. Cooper and Gallant are 2 HCs that excel at this. It can’t all be improv bebop. You gotta play the greatest hits too.

Last edited 3 months ago by Bag of Pucks

That’s exactly what I was thinking when I saw that play. We have all the talent we need if we set up this kind of play. McD’s speed will allow him to get to that puck and make the play.


For all those people who don’t want to sign Nuge for $6 mill. Who are you getting in free agency that is better than Nuge and for what price?

Randle McMurphy

This ^ exactly.

Nuge is the probably the best UFA forward avaiable this year. Even given his limitations, Nuge is not the problem.

Surround him with top flight talent (not named McDavid or Draisaitl ) and you probably do alright.

The Triple H Line

Hyman Hopkins Holloway

Material Elvis

I don’t want to pay any of the current UFA’s $6M per year for 5 or 6 years. I would spend that money upgrading weak links but only offering 1-3 year deals.

Randle McMurphy

For those who think hockey can be unfair.

Levon Helm … Singer Songwriter Drummer …net worth $12m

Robbie Robertson Songwriter Singer Guitar Player … net worth $40m

Garth Hudson… Organist…. net worth $250m

Moral of the story: The key to a good life is having a big organ and knowing how to play it.

Randle McMurphy

A “soloist” gave this a “minus”

Last edited 3 months ago by Randle McMurphy

Levon was simply the best.


250 thousand, not million.

Bag of Pucks

Tampa Bay scores a beautiful goal to go up 4 to 1. Skill is alive and well in these playoffs.

Randle McMurphy

Does a first round loss make it a little harder to sign new UFA’s but a little easier to sign internal pending UFA’s?


Neither IMO


Yeah, I think it makes it more likely the internal UFAs leave.


I’m not sure.

Larsson – I don’t think a first-round exit changes his thoughts on signing with the Oilers and its likely close to a done deal.

Nuge – The team’s most likely to sign him for higher cap, in my opinion, Columbus and Seattle are reasonably likely further away from playoff success than the Oilers

Barrie – Sure but I don’t want to re-sign this player.


IMO Holland is more likely too want to look at other options over Barrie and Nuge if the Oilers exit sooner. For better, or worse.


Oh, I thought you were talking about the desire of the UFA player to stay, not the desire to of the GM to re-sign.

I can see this being the case with respect to Nuge but I’d be surprised if there is a management change of thinking on Larsson.


Yes, I suppose that was direction of the original post. I was thinking of the overall stay/go likelihood.

Agree things don’t change much with respect to Larsson.


Of course, it would help if Larsson stopped “being in the picture” in playoff game losing goals…..

Randle McMurphy

Mike Smith plays goal like Keith Moon play the drums.


I would suggest Smith plays goal like Rick Allen of Def Leppard.

Because they only use one stick.

Dee Dee

Lord Stanley is a cruel Master. He demands Sacrifice and doesn’t really respect Skill.

Skill alone brought the the Oilers to the Second Season but if the Oilers want to win this series they will have to bring a little more desperate game.

Watching some of the other series and they are Shitfights with Hand Grenades and Spears and they are locked in Trench Warfare.

If they don’t want a repeat of last year they had better up the intensity level.

I’m reminded of the old story about the 83 Oilers peaking into the Islanders dressing room after they beat the Oil and seeing very little celebration and a field hospital of wounded players tending to their injuries.

Game 3 will decide and if they prevail it will be another step forward for them.


This is why I want to sign Coleman and trade for Woods.

Randle McMurphy

Hollands also thinking hard about how to move Neal and Kassian, while at the same time getting bigger.


I know Chiarelli gave ‘heavy hockey’ a really bad name, but an Adam Lowry and Kylo Ren wouldn’t look so bad on our lineup.

Randle McMurphy

I think Tyson Barrie’s utility really shines through in games like these where goals and offense in general are hard to come by. No other Oilers defenceman can do what he is doing.

Ill bet Ken Holland is thinking hard about finding a way to re-sign him.


I bet Holland isn’t thinking at all about signing Barrie unless he knows something about Klefbom’s recovery, and even then I’m not sure how much thought he’s giving to it.

Randle McMurphy

Donald Rumsfeld once said: “Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns—the ones we don’t know we don’t know. And if one looks throughout the history … it is the latter category that tends to be the difficult ones.”

Tyson Barrie is a known known. Klefbom?


Last edited 3 months ago by Randle McMurphy
Material Elvis

Donald Rumsfeld didn’t watch Barrie play defense.


*cleans coffee off face*



Which is why Barrie should NOT be re-signed.


A known known is a good thing only when what’s known is good.


Tyson Barrie was responsible for at least 4 Jets 10 bell chances last night plus numerous other turnovers. It was so bad I thought this was sarcasm initially.


I believe Dave and Bruce had him at 5 mistakes on Grade A chances against.


The Band is probably my favourite band…Whispering Pines is one of my favourite tunes. My Dad played it on the radio the day his sister died. Absolutely beautiful. Thanks for invoking the band to sooth our souls on this lonesome day, LT.

Dennis King

I read most days but seldom post but seeing The Band referenced for this series made me think of something. If you’re looking at how Tippett can’t resist going to the Easter Line, “Daniel and The Sacred Harp” is the song you’re looking for. McClellan and Hitch can sing it off the top of their heads but let’s hope Jay Woodcroft hates music


Whoa Dennis is back.

Tipp really must have pissed him off this time. It’s been years! I am even more bullish now.

Dennis King

Al has a way with words and has some good references so I read most days. And sometimes I will see something interesting but it will ne overwhelmed by the lovechild of Jim Hughson and John Garrett making another 15 posts about Quinn Hughes



Randle McMurphy

Dennis, you’re too modest. I know a Cat who digs what you’re selling.

“Oh, I can’t keep it in, I can’t keep it in
I’ve gotta let it out
I’ve gotta show the world, world’s gotta see
See all the words, words that’s in me

You’ve got so much to say, say what you mean
Mean what you’re thinkin’, and think anything”

Keep On Keepin On Brother!

Last edited 3 months ago by Randle McMurphy
Lewis Grant

LT, Why does DSF get so much rope? Bad money drives out good. I’ll take Dennis over DSF.

Dennis King

Who is DSF?


Mclellan left a note.

what to do in case of emergency

comment image

  • load up the top line
  • shorten the bench
  • cross your fingers
Dennis King

Bob Nicholson needs to call Terry Jones and ask, “it is me” and then someone has to tell him yes it is and to quit and focus on making commerative Olympic coins for Irving stations and a select Canadian Tires

Randle McMurphy

HAA!..haa….uuuuuuuuh….I’ve been missing this.

Last edited 3 months ago by Randle McMurphy
Randle McMurphy

Post more please.

Levon Helm…….nough said.


They need to find clean air for McDavid. The Jets are always bracketing McDavid in the neutral zone with 2 to 4 players to force turnovers and slow him down.

Here’s what I’d try:

Give McDavid McLeod and Yamamoto with Larsson and Kulikov and tell those players they’re essentially playing a man down situation. McDavid stations himself on the Jets side of the red line in a permanent stretch pass position floating from faceoff dot to faceoff dot.

If Jets go on attack, they can go 5v4 in the offensive zone but that means any turnover is a lob pass to Connor and a breakaway. This forces the Jets to put a player with McDavid and play 4 on 4 in the offensive zone or if they go conservative, they pull both defence to cover McDavid at their own blue line and now it’s a 3v4 for the Jets when they enter the offensive zone vs McDavid’s line. The added benefit is if the Oilers gain control, they’ve stretched the Jets defensive coverage so it’s harder to keep 4 men around Connor.

If we wanted to try this same tactic for the other three lines, here’s how it sets up:
Drai and RNH with JP who plays the McDavid cherrypicker role.
Khaira and Archibald play with Ennis as the long bomb option.
Shore centers Chaisson/Kassian with Kahun/Haas/Nygard wandering outside the blueline.

The floater doesn’t have to stay on the far side of the red line either. If the puck looks like it’ll go to one of the points, that player could dash in and “backcheck” the defenceman and then loop back to the red line if they’re unsuccessful.

I feel Tippett is a good “regular season” coach but a bad “postseason” coach. In the regular season, you set a system that you believe plays to your team’s strengths. In the post season, you have to adjust your tactics to attack your specific opponent’s weaknesses or maximize your strengths.

Tippett’s only move is the same as the coaches before him: Put McD with Drai and hope they can generate more than the other 3 lines might give up

Maurice on the other side has stated his plan is have the team sacrifice offense and just protect Hellebuyck and make this a straight goalie battle. He rightly believes over the long term, his goalie can outduel any other goalie.

In order for Tippett to rise to this occasion, he needs to find a way to be more creative and figure out a way to break the Jets extreme defensive shell.


When I say Tippet is a bad postseason coach, remember, he couldn’t get past Chicago last year and other than relying on Mike Smith to carry his PHO teams, he hasn’t had much playoff success.

Last edited 3 months ago by v4ance

Hellebuyck is the key for the Jets. Trick is old as the book; buzz the tower. Run him.

Basically, Tippett needs tell Kassian and Chaisson to crash the crease toot sweet! Either get a goal, a penalty or a distracted Hellebuyck in the first period or you’re benched til next period. IF they don’t or aren’t effective, go down the line to Neal/Archibald and say, crash the net or I shorten the bench… and so on.

We’ll need to make an investment of probably at least two goalie interference penalties but we need to get in his head with a few rubs.. rubbing is race-in… err hockey-ing!

Honestly, Tippett needed to make this “investment” in the first game. It might be too late now.


Not a bad idea. It would be better than what they were trying last night in the second half. But I think Connor does better gearing up from the back end with the puck on his stick. He’s also more likely to keep possession than if he’s trying to receive a long lob pass which is a low percentage play at the best of time.

It’s just a matter of switching things up. Rather than having him come out from the back for the chip pass off the boards all the time, let Puljujarvi do that and put McDavid in the middle for the second pass. Timing is everything and the pass has to be good to hit him on the fly. so many passes last night he had to corral while skating backwards because they were way off.

Tippett is a great coach and good tactician. But I have always marveled at Maurice. He gets more out of an average roster than any guy since Lemaire. He’s a brilliant tactician. We are seeing two of the best go head-to-head. I know everyone wanted the Jets for the first round, but I was hoping for Montreal as Maurice is a coach to be feared. Wisely saving his best stuff for the most important games in the postseason.

It will be interesting to see how Tippett adjusts.

Decidedly Skeptical Fan

Tippet a great coach? Hardly. He’s an average coach. And a good tactician? Seriously? His game management is below average. He is routinely out-maneuvered by opposing coaches. Maurice makes him look like a novice.


I think Tippett should have stuck with his lines from game 1. Edmonton was slightly better in the 1st game, Winnipeg was slightly better in the 2nd.
If he must run McDavid and Drai together then put Yamamoto with them. He is much better at making the short little give and go passes in the ozone that create offense.
Making JP the primary puck carrier on a line with McDavid seems like a BAD plan.
But maybe JP as the primary puck carrier o a line with Nuge makes some sense.
Bottom line is, JP doesn’t see the puck much when he plays with McDavid AND Draisaitl. He basically becomes the passing option of last result.
And finally, I wish people would quit romanticizing “playoff hockey”. It’s just hockey that’s harder to watch.
If your team is winning, everyone is happy. If they’re not, or you are a casual observer, it just becomes tedious.
There is nothing fun about watching a team “grind it out”. Nothing fun about watching a player “get his nose dirty”.
I like to see a fast paced game, with lots of back and forth rushes. And the more skill plays the better. Sadly, most playoff games offer very little of this. The NHL needs to figure this out, if they want to grow their fan base.

Bag of Pucks

The NHL gets more physical in the playoffs because the stakes have increased tremendously and most of these lads will do anything to realize their childhood dream. The league hasn’t sent out a memo mandating they hit more and block every shot now. lol

I’ve seen more finished checks in the last 2 weeks than I’ve seen in the preceding 5 months and that’s very much a good thing imo. These games are intense and closely contested. If unfettered offense was all that mattered, I’d watch Arena Football or the WNBA. Hockey is a contact sport. If you want a product where the league is actively decreasing contact to increase offense, the NFL is going in this direction.

There are plenty of folks that enjoy physicality in hockey and the league’s numbers are not suffering. If you personally don’t like it, you can change the channel. But don’t assume everyone else should not like it just because it’s not your cup of tea.


The contact on the puck carry isn’t the problem, everybody is fine with that. Its the “if you have any skill you wear an opponent as a coat all game” type of play that makes it so boring. Slows the game down to a glacial pace compared to the regular season. One interference call over the 2 games is not nearly enough.

Bruce McCurdy

Physicality & finished checks are all well & good. Players not being given any room to skate due to loose “standards” on holding, hooking & interference, not so much.


Its crazy that the NHL worked so hard to get rid of the ‘dead puck era’ only to have it resurface in first round playoff matches every year.


If watching players finishing checks makes you happy than “good on ya”.
I prefer watching players do things I can’t do. Finishing a check doesn’t take a lot of skill, it just takes will.
Good on the players for showing that “will”, I guess. I just don’t find it particularly entertaining.


Regular season NHL is bad (read: arbitrary) enough. This brand of hockey is so bad it needs its own name, “playoff hockey”.

I stopped watching during Game 1, when Morrissey gave Leon the ole reach around, grabbed his shaft, lifted up his stick, change of possession, breakout, go-ahead goal. Leon’s look was priceless, a combo of “wtf” and “we got that on tape right?”

I find it somewhere between depressing, understandable, and comical the amount of earnest post-game analysis and dissection that goes on here while completely ignoring things like that.


Was your mother a porta potty as you are full of sh-t

Victoria Oil

Great post LT. Both games could easily have gone either way. Never get too high when things are going well and never get too low when things are not going so well. Go Oilers!

buck yoakam

I really like dave tippet but similar to last years play in I believe he might be getting out coached again..granted I don’t think stanley is in the cards this year but I would have enjoyed seeing what some of the other folks on our roster could bring to the dance…mr maurice is a very crafty guy…


What’s the deal with Logan Stanley?


Fuck that guy!

Last edited 3 months ago by Shane

He looks like Kylo Ren.


Unfortunately he is a classic type playoff defenceman playing for the wrong team. Big,strong, mean.

Bag of Pucks

The upside of getting older is I have the cutest grand-daughter in the world. Honestly, it’s not even close. I feel bad for other people 😏

The downside is all the movies start to look the same.

In the 80s before they were Cup hoisters, your Edmonton Oilers were a team that feasted on the rush. Slats had weaned his young charges on Euro hockey drills and they mastered it. Dumping the puck in? That was a tactic for the mouth breathers.

The Islanders and Flames of that era played big boy hockey. Guys up and down the lineup that could hit all the live long day. Much like these Jets, they had a playbook for the Oil. Clog the middle and force them to dump it in, then mug them on the walls. Those teams forced Edmonton to round out their game to the point where they could win a 1-0 bruise fest in the Cup final. Winning that type of game was the first real sign that the hometown had a team that could wheel AND bang.

And here we are again. So what would Slats do?

1) He wouldn’t handcuff Gretz and Mess together. It’s not a coincidence that Gretzky never won a Cup without his heavy lifting dirty work compadre. Mess/Drai can play this style of game and actually thrive in it. Doing so frees up more clean air for Connor. It’s worrisome how quickly coaches like Tippett and McLellan revert to the Triple Crown approach. Idiocy.

2) To get through the neutral zone, the outlet passes need to be brisk and the breakouts well executed. Slat’s Oilers were a thing of beauty on the breakout. They had a 6 pack of set plays and they executed each to perfection. Having Coffey helped! Broberg will too.

3) Those Oilers pushed back. You can’t go all conscientious objector against a team that’s fully committed to establishing physical dominance. If you do, the sharks smell blood and they’ll just take more liberties. Neil Pionk thinks he can abuse Connor? Seriously Kassian. Hit that guy again and again until the opposition realizes our stars aren’t fair game.

4) Forecheck like your hair is on fire.

Most importantly, Tippett has to find a way to relieve the pressure. They have to execute at elite level to beat this style. He needs to rebuild their confidence asap.


There is a reason WOODGUY posts the GF-GA of “3C” & “other”. B/C a large majority on here have said until the bottom six can saw off 5×5, EDM won’t be a true contender. And we are just begging for close to 50%. Imagine if the bottom 6 actually won the Goal Share one year 🤯

That argument has been around for 5 yrs +.

Now these 2 games are a small sample size. So ignore them. But the last 5 years are a large sample size and EDM has not been able to address the issue.

This is us.

Jethro Tull

If you keep losing to “fluke” goals, spaced a year apart to different teams, at what point do they become “not a fluke”.

The book on Edmonton is in letters 10′ high, painted all over the forum; let the stars have their way in the regular season, choke them in the playoffs and capitalize on pucks to the net.


Don’t know why Stastny’s goal is called a fluke. A nice zone entry and a quick puck on the net by a veteran who saw the screen.

Jethro Tull

That’s my point. I mean, I think he was just trying to get a change, his line were nowhere near. I can kind of see why some people think it’s flukey. A lot of time, that shoot in hits one of the screens or the goalie.


Agreed. My point is if it had been the other way, James Neal scoring that goal for the Oil, comments would be “that was a smart, heads up play by the veteran”.