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.

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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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#101 Quicksilver ballet
December 20 2013, 10:26AM
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http://www.youtube.com/embed/eryxAcsTcOA?rel=0

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#102 Quicksilver ballet
December 20 2013, 11:02AM
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Life is hell without a couple top pairing blueliners capable of clearing the zone, or getting the puck to the forwards who have time/space to do something with it. Everyone is suffering because of it.

Till they address that 1 and 2 spot, it's all wandering in the desert for these guys.

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#103 BURROWSHASCRABS
December 20 2013, 11:10AM
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I feel bad for Eakins trying to coach this gong show, he should jump ship while he can. Watching LA make San Jose look like an AHL team just made me wish the Oil could play like the Kings. what a hell of a team.

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#104 Eastern Oil
December 20 2013, 11:16AM
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@pistolpetestar wrote:

I know we joke about it but there has to be some serious consideration taken to declining penalties or firing the puck over the glass to even it up to 4 on 4.

This damn near caused me to spit out my coffee all over the computer screen. Both the comment and the mental picture of it actually being completed.

The in-game commentary would almost have to be completed by Cotton on ESPN 8 to make it make sense.

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#105 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
December 20 2013, 11:33AM
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BURROWSHASCRABS wrote:

I feel bad for Eakins trying to coach this gong show, he should jump ship while he can. Watching LA make San Jose look like an AHL team just made me wish the Oil could play like the Kings. what a hell of a team.

I actually don't watch a lot of Kings hockey. I know they win a lot, but when they played the Oilers the other night I was just floored the whole time.

"Damn. These guys are so good."

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#106 Rob...
December 20 2013, 11:45AM
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Eastern Oil wrote:

This damn near caused me to spit out my coffee all over the computer screen. Both the comment and the mental picture of it actually being completed.

The in-game commentary would almost have to be completed by Cotton on ESPN 8 to make it make sense.

It's not as far fetched as you think. Sather used to have his players take an offsetting penalty all the time for the very same reason... superior play during 4 on 4. It was so successful they changed the rule for a long time to ensure the teams went back to 5 on 5 if the penalties were offsetting.

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#107 Bruce McCurdy
December 20 2013, 11:45AM
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"Here’s another one: in the last six games, Edmonton’s power play has been out-chanced 8-7."

... and outscored 3-1.

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#108 S cottV
December 20 2013, 11:52AM
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@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.

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#109 He Who Knows
December 20 2013, 12:35PM
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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.

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#110 Smokey
December 20 2013, 12:53PM
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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.

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#111 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
December 20 2013, 01:04PM
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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

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#112 Truth
December 20 2013, 01:32PM
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The problem is the PP setup. Anybody capable of watching video realizes the Oilers play with one D man at the top and two wingers just above the half-wall. The three of them play pass no matter how difficult the passes are (through traffic). Once the pass gets picked off it's an automatic 2 on 1 for the opponent. I think the theory is to dummy the two forwards into cheating to pick the passes off while leaving the cross ice pass open from winger to winger or ideally the opposing d slides up and leaves the back door pass open. In the end only the Oilers get dummied.

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#113 Smokey
December 20 2013, 01:37PM
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Truth wrote:

The problem is the PP setup. Anybody capable of watching video realizes the Oilers play with one D man at the top and two wingers just above the half-wall. The three of them play pass no matter how difficult the passes are (through traffic). Once the pass gets picked off it's an automatic 2 on 1 for the opponent. I think the theory is to dummy the two forwards into cheating to pick the passes off while leaving the cross ice pass open from winger to winger or ideally the opposing d slides up and leaves the back door pass open. In the end only the Oilers get dummied.

The other problem is the point man never shoots and alwaws passes. That allows the box or diamond to collapse removing passing lanes and allows them to pressure the point and create turnovers.

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#114 S cottV
December 20 2013, 03:37PM
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Zarny wrote:

That's nonsense. Torts, Hitchcock, Ruff, Maurice...tons of good coaches have had winning and losing seasons. They don't always find a way to win. That's a pure fallacy. That's why they get fired.

I like Sutter. Would't have had a problem with him at all. NJ struggled his first 20 games. Same with Oates in Wsh last year.

You say rookie like it's an actual point. Sutter was rookie when he was hired too. Bylsma was a rookie in Pit. Oates was a rookie in Wsh. Cooper is a rookie in TB.

Being a rookie has nothing to do with it.

It doesn't matter who the coach is there is no top pairing D. Literally. Any combination will fail. Not one D on this team is good enough to play against top F 25 min a night let alone 2.

The top 6 F all play the same and have the same flaws. It doesn't matter what combination you throw out there. And the spare parts on the 3rd and 4th line are useless aside from Gordon.

You take 3 or 4 names off that roster and it's an AHL team. That's the problem.

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....

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#115 Hauk15
December 20 2013, 06:26PM
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Why did Dubynk get the start? Its not that he was bad, he was actually decent with 35 saves..but in my opinion Deven Dubynk lost his privilege to start games a month and a half ago. LET ILYA BRYZGALOF COME IN PROVE HES BACK IN THE SHOW!

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#116 dow7500
December 21 2013, 12:24AM
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Saw the 2 on 1 on shultz. As an old plumber dman, Get on your belly and stretch and make for a tough pass. He was a pillon that did nothing for the play. FKN teach him basic junior B defense, someone, anyone...please.

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#117 Wintoon
December 21 2013, 06:01AM
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The Oilers have a great deal of talent they can put out on the PP. The problem is that until they get a player, or train one, to have an agitating net presence they are going to have sub par results. At the NHL level a goalie is expected to make 100% of long range shots where there is no sceen in place (Dubnyk please take note). For some reason, I remember a player by the name of Craig Simpson. IIRC, he got 50+ goals for the Oilers one year being just that kind of player.

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#118 Rama Lama
December 21 2013, 10:45AM
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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.

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#119 HOFFFF
December 21 2013, 01:12PM
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The Oulers Franchise turns players into bad players.

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#120 nrXic
December 22 2013, 02:18PM
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@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.

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