Disaster

Jonathan Willis
November 09 2013 03:09PM

The Edmonton Oilers had a chance on Saturday to pick up two points from one of the league's worst teams. They had healthy bodies back, the Flyers had lost two straight, and this game represented a real opportunity to start things turning around after a strong effort in a win over Florida and a stronger one in a loss to Tampa Bay.

It didn't happen.

Losing Badly

It's not just that the Oilers lost, or who they lost against, but how they lost. Some fans will want to place the blame on Devan Dubnyk - who was actually reasonably solid until that fourth goal - or on the referees for mistakenly assessing a major penalty against an innocent Anton Belov.

But the real problem was the skaters. The following chart shows on-ice scoring chances at even-strength for the Oilers forwards against Philadelphia, as counted by me.

Player EV+ EV- Percentage
Luke Gazdic 0 1 0.0%
Jordan Eberle 1 7 12.5%
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 1 6 14.3%
Boyd Gordon 1 4 20.0%
Ryan Smyth 1 4 20.0%
Taylor Hall 4 8 33.3%
Jesse Joensuu 1 2 33.3%
Mark Arcobello 2 4 33.3%
Sam Gagner 4 6 40.0%
Ales Hemsky 5 7 41.7%
David Perron 3 3 50.0%
Nail Yakupov 2 1 66.7%

And for the defence:

Player EV+ EV- Percentage
Nick Schultz 1 6 14.3%
Taylor Fedun 1 5 16.7%
Andrew Ference 2 9 18.2%
Jeff Petry 2 7 22.2%
Philip Larsen 6 6 50.0%
Anton Belov 6 5 54.5%

For the most part, it was the Oilers' best players getting killed against the Flyers. Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Taylor Hall all had among the worst marks on the team in this regard. These are the guys that typically push results - and did last year, even as the rest of the team gave everything back and then some. On defence, the Oilers top pairing of Andrew Ference and Jeff Petry were lit up, too.

The Oilers play in Chicago tomorrow. It seems unlikely to go well.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#251 rickithebear
November 10 2013, 10:06AM
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DKatz: Owns a business that requires people to purchase the ability to stop there suffering.

He either enjoys: helping or people suffering.

He now owns a NHL team people get on lists to get season tickets.

Look at the product under him!

I have my answer!

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#252 Loweblows
November 10 2013, 10:07AM
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We are on track to win 15 games this year! Awesome! That is what I call progress!

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#253 Oasis
November 10 2013, 10:11AM
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IsaacsRevenge wrote:

Well, my emotions boiled over and I forgot how to write a proper novel. Did you happen to get through what I said and have an opinion on it? Or are you just a freelance late-night blog editor?

And I have a word for you: feelings. You hurt mine.

Yeah, I read what you said and there are some good points. I was just being a smart a**.

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#254 Spoils
November 10 2013, 10:56AM
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251 comments.

This is officially group therapy.

I missed the Philly and the Detroit games. Only two games I missed this year. But the depression game for me was TO.

Philly was blacked out on GameCenter so I ended up watching the condensed game.

Philly out chanced us? It wasn't a great game? We had a chance at one point, but got over- powered. Magically Claude Giroux snapped out of it against us.

I was thoroughly disappointed by the condensed game, but this morning I caught myself being delusional again. Hmm I wonder what other fans are saying. I wonder why we won and how this is just a precursor to us turning around... going on a 20 game winning streak etc.

we are making the playoffs!

Can you empathize with my desire for delusion.

Fact is, I love this team and I need something to shut the voices off -

"This team is NOT very good. RNH, Hall and Ebs are too weak defensively. The Blues didn't want Perron for a reason. Nail was a miss. We are going to lose forever."

Chicago next? Nail's turn to get 8 points?

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#255 Spoils
November 10 2013, 11:01AM
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DSF wrote:

Ask yourself....

Why exactly did Dean Lombardi trade Visnovsky?

Visnovosky was traded to Edmonton in June 2008.

In the 2008 draft, the Kings had selected Drew Doughty, Colten Teubert and Slava Voynov with their first 3 picks.

Lombardi was in full rebuild mode and knew he could create a more balanced roster by moving an over paid veteran to create more balance in his lineup.

Since Lombardi understood that winning teams are built from the back end out and down the middle, the anchors of his young developing roster now looked like this:

G: Quick Bernier

D: Doughty

C: Kopitar, Stoll

Only then, once the foundation of a solid young team was in place, did he start adding forwards.

2009: Schenn, Clifford, Vey, Nolan 2010: Toffoli

Since taking over in 2006, Lombardi had also had spectacular success in the draft with Bernier, Trevor Lewis, Wayne Simmonds, Dwight King, Alex Martinez and Andrei Loktionov.

He had acquired so many solid assets and had managed the cap so well by moving players like Visnovsky, that he was now able to acquire the final pieces in Richards and Carter.

So, while you say the Oilers have been looking for Visnovsky ever since they traded him, what they should have been looking for is Drew Doughty.

With so many top 10 picks in the last 10 drafts they should have been able to acquire a #1D one way or the other but as of this morning their best defenseman is former 2nd round pick, Jeff Petry.

And not only is their D depth weak but they also have close to the worst C depth in the NHL.

Pretty obvious the Lowe regime doesn't have a clue about how to build a winner.

There are different ways to skin a cat. I'm not willing to go out on a limb and support management, but regarding D this is the vision i believe they have:

#1D = Klefbom (see other 1st team WJC all stars), #2D = JSchultz, #3D = Nurse, #4D = Petry, #5D = ???, #6D = ???,

So they believe they have their Doughty.

After the camp I am a little worried about Klefb. After the season I am worried about Schultz.

So maybe a move is needed there.

That said, I am also super worried about the real secret for this team (as I see it)...

4 scoring lines... Waves and waves of offense...

Because even our top 3 don't look that great right now.

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#256 mackb
November 10 2013, 11:04AM
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@Rob F

(double post)

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#257 Debbie downer
November 10 2013, 02:45PM
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Loweblows wrote:

It's official-these kids have been taught how to lose- can we get Krueger back yet?

Wah waaaaaah

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#258 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 10 2013, 06:28PM
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@DSF

You don't even know what you are talking about anymore… which is kind of amazing since you brought the topic up!

Good for you.

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