Now Eventually You Do Plan To Have Power, On Your Powerplay, Right? Hello?

Jonathan Willis
December 19 2013 10:50PM

The game-winning goal in Thursday’s game was scored by the Colorado Avalanche, while the Edmonton Oilers were on the power play. That’s bad. That it’s just the way Oilers power plays tend to go these days is worse.

The Goal!

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Justin Schultz coughs up the puck at the opposition blue line.

This one isn’t especially complex; that’s the crux of it. The initial pass is inexplicable; Schultz had time and space but decided to force a pass to a covered Taylor Hall rather than hang on to it himself or pass it to the open man on the far boards.

That started a two-on-one. Hall did his level best to get back in the play and gained some ground but wasn’t able to get there in time. The Oilers would have been okay if Schultz had played the pass, like every defenceman defending a two-on-one ever is supposed to, but he didn’t and that left Devan Dubnyk hanging out to dry.

The Trend!

Here’s a statistic: In the last 13 games, the Oilers have surrendered 14 shorthanded chances. They have only managed to generate 11 themselves all season.

Here’s another one: in the last six games, Edmonton’s power play has been out-chanced 8-7.

Superficially, the power play ranks 16th in the NHL in overall effectiveness, with 23 goals on 130 chances (17.7%). However, after eight shorthanded goals are taken into account it slips to 25th overall in goal differential/opportunities. It’s a ludicrous number given the talent the team has at its disposal.

Edmonton plays games on Saturday and Monday, but then has a long-ish break before playing Calgary on Friday (Update: as Jason Gregor reminds me, there's a little-known holiday called "Christmas" in that stretch, which makes it somewhat less than ideal as a time for practicing things). That break might be a good time to completely reimagine the power play.

Recently by Jonathan Willis

74b7cedc5d8bfbe88cf071309e98d2c3
Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, 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.
Avatar
#101 S cottV
December 20 2013, 11:52AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
3
cheers

@Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

The Kings are a thing of beauty. Get the PP going and they are a money team in the playoffs for the forseeable future.

Yak - Gagner - and Sutter? No - he would probably fight anyone in the Kings organization that would even be dumb enough to suggest it.

The run and gun, free flow hockey thing that the Oilers keep hanging on to is not realistic. Wayne, Mark and the boys on the bus pulled it off, but a special group at a very different time.

Avatar
#102 DoubleDIon
December 21 2013, 03:05AM
Trash it!
5
trashes
Cheers
3
cheers
nrXic wrote:

There is more talent in Yakupov's left hand than there is in the entire Flames organization, let's not kid ourselves here.

He is absolutely horrid in his defensive play, but that is something that is learned. His shot on the other hand, is a skill and a G-d given talent that no Flames player will ever possess.

His defensive liability means little if he remains on the half-wall on the PP. Remember the PP? Y'know, the topic Mr. Willis is talking about?

Last year he scored 18% of the Oilers' PP goals.

This year, he has scored 17%. The only player to score more is Perron, at 26%. Hall trails Yak at 13%.

What makes that stat remarkable, is that Yak plays on the second PP unit, which affords him 66% of the opportunity these other guys get. There's another aspect to be considered which I'll mention later.

Hall and Perron average 3:30 min on the PP each game. Yak averages 2:34.

What concerns me more than those minutes, is how those minutes are spent. Rather than getting a chance to start in the offensive zone, where a faceoff win can lead to an immediate PP setup, which can lead to one-time opportunities...the 2nd line comes in usually on a on-the-fly change, or a faceoff (that isn't guaranteed to be in the opponent's zone). So as I said earlier, this has to be factored into Yak's performance. Offensive zone faceoffs matter when it comes to setting up a player who specializes in having a cannon shot.

There are more issues, no doubt, some of which were put rather well in the first page of comments. But what I see here is an issue with using the right knife in our Swiss Army Knife, for the job. This also includes where you would put a guy like Yak. You don't move him to the blue line, as we saw a couple times. He belongs on the half wall.

One aspect of Yak that coaching has under-estimated are his passing skills. His passes are hard (perhaps too hard in some cases) and accurate. No opponent stick in the lane is able to stop those passes. I can appreciate wanting a player maker like Nuge on that wall, he'd be far more suited to setting up Yak.

Yakupov has one even strength goal this year. He's tied with Mike Smith, a goaltender and Brian McGratton. That shot must really be working for him. More pucks have gone in off of Bertuzzi's ass then Yakupov's stick. Honestly, he wouldn't crack our roster. Not even close. He shouldn't be cracking yours either. On the PP subject, he should be getting much less time than Hall or Perron. He's not even in the same league as those two.

Avatar
#103 Rheal1
December 20 2013, 05:57AM
Trash it!
63
trashes
Cheers
2
cheers

I am aware that many readers here do not agree with me and trash me but the automatic thumbs downs are a bit immature. Very insightful...

Avatar
#104 DoubleDIon
December 20 2013, 11:38AM
Trash it!
5
trashes
Cheers
2
cheers
S cottV wrote:

Well - it might help Yak to have a veteran centreman - but a veteran centreman would not want to carry him.

For sure - Yak and Gagner on the same line is like kids playing with grenades. Gagner must be one of the weakest 2C's in his own end in the league. Maybe the weakest because I cant imagine anyone else putting up with it. Yak is just as brutal in his own zone, its just not as glaring with him being a winger.

So - now what do you do? Put him with RNH - No. That would kill Hall and RNH and you better believe they would and have bitched about it. Dont blame them - he is a line killer. Put him with Gordon? No. Doesn't make sense.

I know Yak gets a lot of support on this site, but guys - really? He does not know how to play this game and I doubt that a lot of progress will ever be made on this front.

Yak and Gagner in particular - need to be traded. Preferably together and to our worst enemy - Calgary. N

No - I wouldnt even want to to that to our worst enemy...

Ugh, we don't want Gagner, Eberle or Yakupov. You guys can have them. I'd take Hall or RNH in a heartbeat. You can win with those two.

Avatar
#105 He Who Knows
December 20 2013, 12:35PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
2
cheers

Clearly Mac did not evaluate the team properly over the summer. He kept yapping on about his intentions (rookie mistake), gave up all feisty hard nosed D-men like Teubert,Plante,Fistric etc. I personally liked Teubert, he had a mean streak. Mac did not address the blueline with a quality 1st pairing D-man. He did not address size and grit. Mac did well with Perron,Ference and Gordon, although Ference is best suited as a 3-4 slot. He shipped out Smid for reasons that are unknown and basically weakened the most weak blueline in the league.The Oilers need big and steady blueliners to compliment the puck moving type. He brought in Grebs and Belov (who does not use his size to fill spots that are usually filled by guys like Matt Greene. He thought puck movers were the be all end all. Mac has said that he will be judged by his actions......you guys tell me if this guy has a plan that will move this team forward.

Avatar
#106 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
December 20 2013, 01:04PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
2
cheers
bob wrote:

this 'team' blows........this organization blows........sport announcers on radio and tv blow........no entertainment value at all........

ive heard from buddies with kids......the kids think cheering for oilers youre not cool.....they are cheering for other teams and players............and starting to watch other sports

oilers are on the verge of losing the younger generation.......not good for business

what a shame

Just like the Eskimos. Wasting a generation is so sad in a sport crazy town. Sad days

Avatar
#107 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
December 20 2013, 01:06PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
2
cheers
bazmagoo wrote:

I'm wondering if that's what the issue is with J Schultz too, didn't Krueger convince him to come to E-town?

According to Sportsnet and which idiot is babbling at the time I have heard 5 different names in connection with landing him here

MacT Gagner Hall Krueger Lowe

I think i heard a couple of other ones as well. All depends on who's tires sportsnet is trying to pump at the time

Avatar
#108 Oasis
December 20 2013, 01:18PM
Trash it!
6
trashes
Cheers
2
cheers
Smokey wrote:

I'm preferencing my comment I like both players. A small undersized, defensively irresponsible, below average skater like Omark is not better then anyone in our top 6. Letting him walk for nothing is what he was worth. What would you expect for him, Weber?

Hemsky should be traded to a veteran team if this team is going to play Gagner. You got remove the redundant small skilled player. Hemsky is a way better player, Gagner should be traded in all respect.

I don't expect anything for Omark. My point is Hemsky was only going to be here for this year and at worst next year as well. I would have traded Hemsky and when we could have got something for him. Then I would have taken the 5 million in salary that Hemsky makes and put it towards a Free Agent defenseman that we need.

Omark could have filled in for one year for Hemsky and then you could cut him loose if he wasn't working out.

Avatar
#109 **
December 20 2013, 02:42PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
2
cheers
dougtheslug wrote:

Remember Schultz played his brief minor league career on a unit with Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and RNH. It was all offence, all the time and seriously skewed his offensive numbers, and I think distorted the perception of his abilities, as well as leaving his clear defensive liabilities unexposed until he arrived at the NHL.

It is obvious he has lots to learn on his own side of center ice. Put him down in OKC with their current roster, and I bet you he wouldn't put up anywhere near the offensive numbers he put up last year.

I agree he has lots to learn, just not from the minors. Remember that yes, those guys were playing together, but they were playing against much tougher players against. There were plenty of NHLers in the AHL last season, and still Schultz stood out.

Avatar
#110 sizedoesmatter
December 20 2013, 06:53AM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers

Thought they played well the last two periods. All I hope for now is improvement for the rest of the year

Avatar
#111 Taylor Gang
December 20 2013, 08:13AM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers

Why are Hall and Nuge the only two producing as of late? Please explain

Avatar
#112 Mikey
December 20 2013, 10:32AM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers
The 'Real' Ron Burgundy wrote:

Yak and Sammy Snow-pants in some sort of package to the Rangers for Callahan and Girardi. It works every time in my own mind.

I would make that deal, except, both are UFA.

Avatar
#113 Smokey
December 20 2013, 12:53PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers
Oasis wrote:

How about instead of signing Hemsky to 5 million/year, trading him when he still had some value? I think that for this year Omark could have been put into Hemskys spot without seriously affecting this offence.

We sure could have used a defenseman coming back for Hemsky. Even if we just dumped his salary and got nothing back we could have used the 5 million/year saved and signed a Free Agent defence man.

How does having Hemsky on this team right now help us more than having Omark in his spot? This team is a train wreck anyways. Now Omark just walks for basically nothing. After one year and a legitimate shot on the team if Omark isn't a fit let him walk then.

I am not an Omark fan per say, but I hope he does well in Buffalo.

I'm preferencing my comment I like both players. A small undersized, defensively irresponsible, below average skater like Omark is not better then anyone in our top 6. Letting him walk for nothing is what he was worth. What would you expect for him, Weber?

Hemsky should be traded to a veteran team if this team is going to play Gagner. You got remove the redundant small skilled player. Hemsky is a way better player, Gagner should be traded in all respect.

Avatar
#114 Cccsberg
December 20 2013, 05:12PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers
Smokey wrote:

Heads should roll. How can a President and GM watch the debacle of a powerplay with that much talent suck so mightily.

The Oilers dzone coverage and inability to defend is laughable. A top pairing of Smid Petry would look lovely right now. Not sure how Lowe and MacT could think a plethera of soft 180 pound defenders with no apparantly no defensive accumen could handle this load. Just pathetic.

They dumped Smid for ECHL goalie and a tweener so they could sign a goalie who they don't play. If your going to dump your only decent NHL defender then roll your goalie till he drops. Total headshaker.

Good on Hall and Nuge to play for pride. The only highlights last night.

Although I don't believe the Smid trade is as bad as many think, IMHO when he stated on camera that things were unacceptable, and defensive coverage must improve (implying the forwards...) I think his days with the Oilers were numbered. Management doesn't like anyone on the team going public about the golden boy "Fab5" even when it's perfectly obvious to one and all...

Avatar
#115 HOFFFF
December 21 2013, 01:12PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers

The Oulers Franchise turns players into bad players.

Avatar
#116 @Oilanderp
December 20 2013, 05:14AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
David S wrote:

Any chance of doing a screen capture analysis of the PP Jonathan? Seems like alot of the same breakdowns due to some sort of system failure (or lack of being able to execute said system).

It seems as if that work has already been done:

http://theexpiredmeter.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/crap.jpg

Avatar
#117 Zamboni Driver
December 20 2013, 08:59AM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Errrr....Mis-fire on the smart-@ss-ness. Meant to post in the Omark thread.

As you were.

Avatar
#118 Joe Mamma
December 20 2013, 12:10PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Arius Mumin wrote:

Only thing I got from your comment is that your younger sister has a crush on Yak and you don't really like that, much.

Don't feed the trolls.

Avatar
#119 Rama Lama
December 21 2013, 10:45AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
S cottV wrote:

Disagree.

Some rookie coach scenarios make some sense.

This one doesn't. Young players trying to find themselves in this league being led by someone trying to do the same thing through trial and error? No way.

This is not a playoff team but its better than its current record and most importantly should be showing progress in areas of play, where you have a strong sense it will show in the record eventually.

What we have is chaos. No indication that anything is getting better and lots that is worse than last year.

We criticize on this site about those who accept moral victories and you look at what has gone on with coaching this team and dont think there is a problem?

I guess its a moral victory that Eakins has managed to navigate this team to 29th overall with the player group on hand?

Eakins is not getting the most out of these players and that is his job. His trial and error decisions and systems has cost this team at least 8 to 10 points and lost time just going down the wrong roads.

Tortz, Hitch, Sutter, Ruff - they are in a different league. Eakins aint there yet....

You beat me to the punch.......very nice response! Makes too much sense to me.

Avatar
#120 nrXic
December 22 2013, 02:18PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@DoubleDIon

"Yakupov has one even strength goal this year. He's tied with Mike Smith, a goaltender and Brian McGratton. That shot must really be working for him."

I was very clear that his shot is an asset on the PP.

ES has a boatload of other factors that affect shooting and shooting percentage.

Again, you seem to be unwilling to talk about the topic at hand, which is the PP. Mainly because the facts contradict your viewpoints.

"Honestly, he wouldn't crack our roster. Not even close. He shouldn't be cracking yours either. On the PP subject, he should be getting much less time than Hall or Perron. He's not even in the same league as those two."

Again, the facts demonstrate that you are wrong. He has the productivity of a 1st line unit despite being on the second line which has to deal with zone entries (1st unit gets offensive zone faceoff to start) and line changes (which slows down the rush).

In regards to him being on the Flames roster, if you're going to argue that Yak wouldn't make the team, you should be arguing that 5 Flames currently playing shouldn't, as they have comparable stats. You're only kidding yourself here.

I know this may seem extremely harsh of me, and this may be the most insulting thing ever said on this website, but you really sound like a "Calgary Puck forum poster" here.

Comments are closed for this article.