GAMESERVATIONS...

Jason Gregor
October 11 2013 12:50PM

The Edmonton Oilers refusal to shoot the puck on the powerplay likely cost them two points. The Oilers had four minutes of PP time in the first 4 1/2 minutes of the game, and didn't have one decent scoring chance, they only had one shot. They could barely enter the zone on their first two man advantages, and their unwillingness to just fire the puck on the powerplay was evident throughout the game.

The Oilers had 7:28 of powerplay time and registered two measly shots, and one of them was off the stick of a falling Ryan Smyth for a goal. That is pathetic anyone you slice it. If you add in the final 4:22 where they played with an extra attacker, that is 11:50 of PP time with only four shots. (They had two shots and one goal post in the final 4:22.)

The Habs had 2:49 of PP time and fired four shots, including a Brandon Gallagher goal.

Those who are believers in Corsi rating will point out that the Oilers won the Corsi 46-45, but that only accounts for EV play. I understand the statistics that if the Oilers remain even or better at Corsi their odds of winning will increase. That is great, but it doesn't tell the entire game story.

Almost 1/4 of last night's game was played on the PK or PP, and that is what cost the Oilers, although a very bad defensive effort  on the 2nd Canadiens goal was a key factor.

There are reasons to be excited about the Oilers, they are playing more in the offensive zone this year, but there are also reasons to be concerned.

THOUGHTS....

  • I understand and respect the basic premise of Corsi, shot attempts for or against, but sometimes a small sample can change them drastically. For instance, in the 3rd period last night the 4th line was out against Eller/Pacioretty/Briere and the Habs ended up with two shots on goal and the Oilers blocked three shots. That is a -5 Corsi rating for the fourth line, and that one :45 second shift made their Corsi rating go from bad to dreadful.

    It was a bad shift, however, neither of Pacioretty's shots were good scoring chances and the Oilers were actually in good lanes to block the shots. In this case the Corsi stats looked awful afterwards, but the play on the ice didn't lead to any significant scoring chances.

    It can also work the other way where a line is buzzing and getting lots of outside shots, or blocked shots in a :45 second span, but none of the shots were legitimate scoring chances. I get that the odds will even out in the end, and while the Oilers overall Corsi is much better this year, which is a positive, I don't believe it is good enough to mask all of the issues on the team.
     
  • That doesn't mean the fourth line can't be better, they need to be much better or find better players, but I was just showing an example of how one bad shift can really alter the stats. I'd love it if Corsi valued shots from closer to the net higher than ones from outside. Most goals come from within 15 feet of the net. I know that would be a lot of work, but that would make it even more accurate and useful.
     
  • The Oilers are still making too many mistakes in their own zone. It is still a fire drill at times, and Nail Yakupov's effort on the Canadiens 2nd goal is inexcusable. I'd have no problem if he was working his tail off and made the wrong decision, but he was just floating around doing nothing. Winning teams don't allow that. One of his teammates will need to have a quiet chat with him. I'm not picking on Yakupov, I'm pointing out a major issue that has been in Edmonton for years; a lack of commitment in the defensive zone.
     
  • I liked that Eakins gave Yakupov a brief stint on the bench for the remainder of the 2nd, but then went right back to him in the third period. That is smart coaching. Get the player's attention, but don't staple him to the bench. Yakupov is a proud player and I'm sure he'll get the message. He is too dangerous to sit in the pressbox, so please don't mention banishing him to the pressbox. Unless a lack of effort becomes a regular issue, he should be in the lineup every night.
     
  • The Oilers need to learn how to work their hardest on every shift. You take a shift off in the NHL and often it will bite you in the ass. Yakupov is too good not to work hard.
     
  • Jordan Eberle needs to shoot the puck. Twice last night he was in a great shooting lane and dished it off. He's one of their best shooters, and they need him to shoot. He will likely come around, but one of your best shooters can't pass of quality chances.
     
  • Eakins is playing his most skilled players more than any other coach. RNH leads all NHL forwards in time on ice (TOI) per game at 26:58, Hall is 2nd at 23:35, Eberle is 3rd at 22:39 and Perron is 5th at 22:06. The onus will clearly be on those four to produce.
     
  • Devan Dubnyk said Jeff Petry has the hardest shot on the team. Petry needs to start using it more. He either needs to get a quicker release, or at the very least just get shots through from the point. Getting shots through isn't easy, but he needs to put the puck on net more often and see what happens.
     
  • Justin Schultz has ONE shot on the PP so far this year. He has to start shooting the puck. Either tee one up, of just put it on net and see what happens. It is a small adjustment, but the Oilers PP was a major reason they didn't get two points. It might not be fair to put that much pressure on the shoulders of a player with only 52 NHL games, but that is the reality in Edmonton. He has special offensive skills and he needs to start using them more on the PP.
     
  • I thought Dubnyk played well last night. He had no chance on the Gallagher and Galchenyuk goals. The key was he looked sharp early, rather than fighting the puck. He needs to build off last night's performance.
     
  • The Oilers re-assigned Brandon Davidson to OKC and they sent Denis Grebeshkov down for conditioning and recalled Philip Larsen.
     
  • I won't be surprised if Larsen draws in for N.Schultz in Toronto. The Leafs haven't been killing teams with offensive zone pressure, so the Oilers might look to add a guy with better offensive skills instead of a stay-at-home D-man vs. Toronto.
     
  • Last night's loss should sting, because the Canadiens were willing to play run-and-gun with the Oilers, yet the Oilers couldn't beat their backup goalie. The Oilers should thrive in a game like last night, and unfortunately they didn't. Very few teams will play that way, so the next time a team is willing to open it up, the Oilers skilled players need to take advantage of it. I look at last night as a lost opportunity. That was a game they should have won.
     
  • The Oilers need to start attacking more north and south. Their speed gets teams in bad positions, but then the Oilers will either swing the puck, or the puck carrier will flare out and that allows the defence to recover. The Oilers speed is their best asset, but they need to start taking the puck in straight lines more often to fully utilize their speed.
     
  • I wouldn't have used the Joe Thornton quote. Jason Botchford elected to and that is his choice, but I wouldnt' have. Unless I'm asking a player a direct question, I look at everything else as a conversation and "off the record." There are many discussions that go on that aren't for public consumption, just like conversations in your work environment as well as mine around the radio station. Trust is big part of any work environment or relationship, and I doubt the Sharks will trust Botchford. Maybe I missed it over the years, but has he written off-the-cuff comments of Canuck players over the years? If so, then he's consistent, if not, I wonder why?
     
  • One quick note... Challenge yourself to eat healthier today. Don't have pop, instead have water and a lemon. Have a green salad with chicken, instead of a heavy, creamy dish. Go for a walk after work. I'm looking for people who will take the Challenge to improve our health. We can start small, but it will benefit all of us. If you are up for it let me know and we will hopefully encourage many to make take small strides to a healthier lifestyle. Have a POSITIVE Friday.
     

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR   

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#51 tileguy
October 11 2013, 04:08PM
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Lesus crist, will you please all just forget about subjective hockey stats like corsi and rei corsi and scoring chances. This is just a segment of Canadians trying to emulate Americans and their baseball stats. Its bad enough we have chaged the name hockey pool to fantasy hockey (my stomach churns every time i hear that term)but there will never be any comparisons to a hard significant stat like Oba, Slg and Whip. Lets just watch the game and make observations, forget corsi.

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#52 Romulus' Apotheosis
October 11 2013, 04:15PM
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tileguy wrote:

Lesus crist, will you please all just forget about subjective hockey stats like corsi and rei corsi and scoring chances. This is just a segment of Canadians trying to emulate Americans and their baseball stats. Its bad enough we have chaged the name hockey pool to fantasy hockey (my stomach churns every time i hear that term)but there will never be any comparisons to a hard significant stat like Oba, Slg and Whip. Lets just watch the game and make observations, forget corsi.

This post is insufferable nonsense.

No one is forcing you into a conversation you don't wish to join. There is ample opportunity for you to discuss Hockey any way you choose here.

The flipside of that opportunity is allowing others the opportunity to discuss hockey in the manner of their choosing.

It's absurd to try and restrain the course of everyone else's conversation to suit your own preferences.

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#53 mlcsellil
October 11 2013, 04:20PM
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It just seems to me that regardless of the coach they've had, or the system the play, one of the common denominators for the last number of years is they don't shoot the GD puck. They seem determined to play it until they lose it. WHY ??????? Drives me nuts!!!!!!!!

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#54 tileguy
October 11 2013, 04:20PM
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@Romulus' Apotheosis

Not trying to restrain at all, just pointing out how americanized our culture of hockey has become. Roger Neilsen studied videotape, not geek numbers.

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#55 mdjam
October 11 2013, 04:32PM
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Oiler Al wrote:

The 4th line is the least of Oilers problems right now. Its the top two lines that cant score a goal, even on the PP. The Montreal kids, with half the the icetime of the Edmonton superstars got more accomplished.

Something very wrong here, these guys are playing worse than the past two years......

THEY ALL LOOK LOST ON THE ICE...

Why ignor the problem when it directly effects rest of team and our young stars . You seen what happened in our comeback when the younger stars were on ice and the bottom six were used less . They are linked whether you ignor or even not accept it . One effets the others . Young stars have enough problems on their own, but backup caste has doubtfully ever been this bad , and we can thank our new GM for that .

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#56 Romulus' Apotheosis
October 11 2013, 04:33PM
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tileguy wrote:

Not trying to restrain at all, just pointing out how americanized our culture of hockey has become. Roger Neilsen studied videotape, not geek numbers.

Have you never heard of "Neilson Numbers"?

http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2012/09/04/frequently-asked-questions-on-neilson-numbers/

The guy was more than willing to "geek out" on numbers and try to gain an edge with fancy stats.

FWIW, I completely appreciate how frustrating it can be to read a bunch of comments that seem wildly at odds with how you imagine hockey conversations ought to go... I'm just not sure "hey, take off you guys" is the way to address the problem.

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#57 Newj
October 11 2013, 04:36PM
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@nina russo

Your point was well made, but Nuge overly selfish? I see that as a bit of a stretch.

Yup I can see some unbalanced ice time occurring on this team and Yak seems to be the brunt of the frustations..to me referring to RNH as a selfish player is simply and completely false. Maybe the opposite is true where he seeks to make a pass instead of shooting.

Hope they (coaches & Yak) get this doghouse situation sorted out real soon because a #1 pick's confidence and motivation seems to be waning.

Ciao

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#58 tileguy
October 11 2013, 04:51PM
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@Romulus' Apotheosis

Thank you for the link to Staples explanation of a scoring chance. It went on and on explaing an A chance and a B chance, wrap arounds and block shots that could possibly be deemed a scoring chance by a home town reporter,very enlightening. I recommend anybody over 50 to read this and get with it.

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#59 Hayek
October 11 2013, 05:18PM
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Corsi is not some complicated stat. It is shot attempts for minus shot attempts against.

The reason many think it is better than (+/-) is that (+/-) is something that has a lot more luck associated with it. Since there can be lots of variance with goals scored and given up, corsi give a more accurate measure.

New stats are often resented by people, because they are not understood. The thing that is nice about it, and why so many people find it useful is that corsi is a stat that is one of the highest correlated with determining wins and losses (obviously there are more complicated adjustments that predict even better, but raw corsi is easy to understand).

Example: You have a line that gives up 15 shot attempts in 2 games, while getting 3 of their own. However they outscore their opposition 1-0. Generally, over the long run, if this rate continues, it's more like that this line will get outscored by their opposition, then would be thought of if we just looked at the scoring line (where they have outscored their opposition 1-0). It's obviously not perfect, some lines can get outshot, and still outscore the opposition, but averaging them all out, it will hold.

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#60 Smokey
October 11 2013, 05:24PM
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@mlcsellil

Yep, and creating traffic is another. Dirty, greasy hockey. Just need more of it.

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#61 madjam
October 11 2013, 09:40PM
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Flames continue winning ways again even with all their injuries . Flames 3-2 in regulation . WOW - I thought that was supposed to be us . At least one Alberta team is worth watching and doing well so far . Monahan strikes again with game winner , and L.Bouma really doing well for Flames - looks like the type of player we would like on bottom six . Gelinas ready for coach , yet ?

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#62 spliff
October 11 2013, 10:11PM
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I can't wait for the Flames to come to town, outwork us with a simple yet effective game-plan, and leave with 2 points. Then maybe (a big maybe) the Katz kid with the Afro will ask his dad "Dad, why do the Oilers such sh*t?" Then maybe (a big maybe) Katz will take a good hard look at the management of his team, and a second rebuild will begin, the rebuild of the franchise's front office. Until that happens, I'm afraid we are living in a perpetual sh*tshow.

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#63 Cold Hard Truth
October 11 2013, 11:10PM
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According to rebuild doctrine, the flames should be losing miserably and the oilers are only two years away - according to Lowe's 5 year plan - to win the stanly cup. Or maybe the 'rebuild' is a load of crap.

C'mon oilers fans. Can't you see we've been duped? The 'rebuild' is nothing but a clever marketing scheme. It's designed to keep asses in seats and scrutiny off management.

Let the heads roll.

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#64 David S
October 11 2013, 11:13PM
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My Corsi at the bar lately has pretty much sucked. Looks like I'm going to have to try a new system, maybe bring in a new wingman or two because the ones I have now are ten-ply.

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#65 David S
October 11 2013, 11:14PM
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#BarCorsi

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#66 Ari Gold
October 12 2013, 08:04AM
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David S wrote:

#BarCorsi

I haven't been working on mine in a long while, but seriously, don't blame your Bar Corsi on wingmen. Be badass on your own and watch your numbers recover.

#BarCorsi

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#67 2004Z06
October 12 2013, 10:48AM
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South of Cowtown wrote:

How does someone not respond to the Hall hit? The skill players are still being hit, hard, and the so called grit issue is still an issue. I suppose timing is everything, the line that was on the ice is not generally known for creating physical mayhem.

Maybe no one on the team likes Taylor Hall? No one ever comes to his defense. Has to make you wonder?

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#68 Benhur
October 12 2013, 11:47AM
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Well not withstanding the loss, the Oilers were better with their Own Zone Turnovers(OZTs). They were a -2 differential vs. the Canadiens which is better than the Jets game (-3), Canucks (-28)& Devils (-14). The OZT goat of the game was Smid with 5 OZTs and 1 goal against due to a OZT. It would be interesting to see what the players OZTs were per 15 min. of ice time...another project! Petry leads the way per game with 15 in 4 games. J. Shultz with 12 OZTs in 4 games is a close second.

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