RANDOM THOUGHTS...REALIGNMENT AND MORE

Jason Gregor
February 26 2013 01:17PM

As you scramble to debate whether you should top up your RRSP contributions or buy new TV, (you might have taken your Oilers frustration out on your TV) we'll discuss all thing NHL and the Oilers.

Let's start with the proposed new realignment. Keep in mind the Board of Governors and the NHLPA still has to vote on this. This is just a proposal.

Elliott Friedman reported the new divisions and proposed format on Saturday.

There would be four new divisions comprising of 16 teams in the eastern conference and 14 in the west.

Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Boston, Buffalo, Detroit, Tampa Bay and Florida. (Central)

Philly, Pittsburgh, New Jersey, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Washington, Carolina and Columbus. (Atlantic)

Dallas, Winnipeg, Nashville, St. Louis, Chicago, Minnesota and Colorado. (Mid-west)

Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Jose and Anaheim (Pacific)

The top three teams in each division would make the playoffs and the final two spots would be wildcard berths from the remaining teams within their own conference.. Essentially eight east teams and six from the west would miss the playoffs each season.

Bob McKenzie tweeted how the outline of the schedule:

The western teams would play 29 games (likely 5 games v. 5 teams and 4 games v. 1 team), they'd play the other west division teams three times each (21 games) and they'd play every east team twice (32 games), once at home and once on the road.

The eastern conference would be as follows. They would play 30 games within their division (likely 4 games v. 5 teams and 5 games v. 2 teams), they'd play the other east division teams three times each (24 games) and they'd play the west teams twice (28 games), once at home and once on the road.

RECAP

I like this proposal. It would ensure that fans got to see every team at least twice. They say there would be less travel, and likely so, but due to the Oilers geographical location they'd still travel more than most teams.

This is just a proposal and I'm sure some will complain that it is easier to make the playoffs in the west, but if they want less travel this works best. Keep in mind the board of governors and the NHLPA haven't voted on this yet, but it seems likely we will see some sort of new divisional realignment and schedule next season.

QUICK HITS

  • Interesting how differently people react to a bad play. When Ryan Whitney got beat by Jaromir Jagr in OT, he was ripped apart. Last night, Jeff Petry made a major mistake by inexplicably skating behind the net after getting beat one-on-one by Patrick Sharp, and that led to Marian Hossa's OT winner. Petry got a bit of flack, but not close to the reaction Whitney received.
     
  • Some stats guys will tell you Corey Potter is playing well. I love stats, I really do, but if your stats suggest he is playing well, I think that is proof that no statistical data is completely accurate. Please tell me what you see that makes you believe Potter is making an impact in games. I just don't see it.
     
  • I'd play Theo Peckham v. Dallas on Thursday. I thought he played well his first game, and surprised me with how confident he was moving the puck.
     
  • I understand if Krueger wants to protect Nail Yakupov and doesn't play him in tight games, but at some point he has to make a statement to his forwards who continually refuse to shoot the puck when they are in good shooting lanes. It is becoming ridiculous how often the Oilers pass up great shots and then end up missing the pass or getting no shot. It needs to stop, and he might have to do some tough love and sit guys for a shift or two.
     
  • Nugent-Hopkins has 40 shots on net, but he's missed the net 22 times. With only one goal it is obvious he is pressing and trying to pick the corner, but he might just need to fire one at the pads and hope for a rebound.
     
  • Hall and Eberle have 61 shots on net, but they've only missed the net 14 and 18 times respectively. Gagner has 50 shots with 13 misses.
     
  • Do you think the Oilers miss Horcoff? Salary aside, they desperately need a veteran to win some faceoffs, play solid defensively and contribute offensively.
     
  • At some point one of the Oilers leaders is going to have to stand up and rattle some cages. You can't always expect the coach to do it. It is time one of them stated they need to be more accountable to one another. We keep seeing the same mistakes happening game after game.
     
  • The Bruins have only played 15 games. They will play 33 games in the next 61days, including 17 games from March 2nd to 31st. I'm curious to see how they hold up.
     
  • In the 1995 shortened season Peter Bondra led the NHL in goals with 34. Right now only Steven Stamkos is on pace to match that, which would be 59 in an 82-game season. John Tavares, Patrick Marleau, James Neal and Tomas Vanek are on pace for 32-33, which would be great totals over a full season, if they maintain it.
     
  • Jacub Voracek is off to a great start with 24 points in 21 games. Drafted one spot behind Sam Gagner he's put up similar numbers to Gagner the past four seasons, 38, 50, 46 and 49 point seasons with 18 goals being his career-high. This year he already has 8 goals and 24 points. Gagner is having his most productive season as well with 18 points in 18 games.

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 Eulers
February 26 2013, 07:04PM
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I will say this about Potter: he's willing to shoot the dang puck on the power play! He at least got the memo!

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#52 DSF
February 26 2013, 07:26PM
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@Jason Gregor

MIght want to keep an eye on Brad Marchand in Boston.

10 goals in 16 games.

That's 51 goals in an 82 game season.

Not bad for a second round pick.

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#53 OilLeak
February 26 2013, 07:48PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Exactly yet guys try to use Corsi and say he's doing well. The Oilers have way too many players who don't compete hard enough. Plain and simple.

Not sure which stat guys say Corey Potter is doing well. If we're talking straight Corsi, none of the Oilers D are showing well. Corsi Rel may show Potter in a better light, but that's because the Oilers defense is trash, but the best trash at the end of the day is still trash.

Oilers defense quality is postioned accordingly (Corsi Rel QOC):

1. Petry

Significant drop-off

2. Smid

Drop-off

3. Nick Schultz

4. Justin Schultz

Massive Drop-off

5. Fistric

Drop-off

6.Corey Potter

7.Whitney (No man's land, just awful by any metric.

Peckham (1 game played, but is currently slightly ahead of Whitney)

Now the sample size is obviously small, with less than 20 games played, but the picture is quite clear, after the top 4 D the rest of defense is putrid, and are replacement/fill in players at best. Ideally, 2 defense-man at the top are needed to push everyone down a pairing, but 2 top 4 defense-man will be sufficient.

Oh and Whitney is not even a replacement level player anymore, he makes everyone ahead of him look amazing.

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#54 DSF
February 26 2013, 07:53PM
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OilLeak wrote:

Not sure which stat guys say Corey Potter is doing well. If we're talking straight Corsi, none of the Oilers D are showing well. Corsi Rel may show Potter in a better light, but that's because the Oilers defense is trash, but the best trash at the end of the day is still trash.

Oilers defense quality is postioned accordingly (Corsi Rel QOC):

1. Petry

Significant drop-off

2. Smid

Drop-off

3. Nick Schultz

4. Justin Schultz

Massive Drop-off

5. Fistric

Drop-off

6.Corey Potter

7.Whitney (No man's land, just awful by any metric.

Peckham (1 game played, but is currently slightly ahead of Whitney)

Now the sample size is obviously small, with less than 20 games played, but the picture is quite clear, after the top 4 D the rest of defense is putrid, and are replacement/fill in players at best. Ideally, 2 defense-man at the top are needed to push everyone down a pairing, but 2 top 4 defense-man will be sufficient.

Oh and Whitney is not even a replacement level player anymore, he makes everyone ahead of him look amazing.

Exactly so.

The Oilers need TWO top pairing defensemen before they will be anywhere close to competitive.

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#55 ubermiguel
February 26 2013, 08:19PM
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Eulers wrote:

I will say this about Potter: he's willing to shoot the dang puck on the power play! He at least got the memo!

Good point, I noticed he was shooting a lot on the PP then thinking "why is Potter on the PP?!" Might explain his elevated Corsi.

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#56 Hair bag
February 26 2013, 08:25PM
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Manning wrote:

I saw that clip too...but I want to say it was Belanger...sounded like a angry french men!

It was Smid for sure, you can see him walk by just before he goes off

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#57 Dog Train
February 26 2013, 09:24PM
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I don't see much value in Potter right now. Even on the PP, I'm not sure that Petry couldn't do at least as well if not better. I'd have Peckham in there as well but they need somebody else who can move the puck. Whitney has been awful this season but I felt like he played better after the game where both he and Smyth sat. Still, he goes right back to the press box before long. We need another puck mover since this team has no willingness to play Whitney.

I like the re-alignment. The NHL system has gotten kind of stale and this change could solve a lot of geographical problems. It also opens the schedule up to play more games against the East.

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#58 OilLeak
February 26 2013, 11:23PM
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Dog Train wrote:

I don't see much value in Potter right now. Even on the PP, I'm not sure that Petry couldn't do at least as well if not better. I'd have Peckham in there as well but they need somebody else who can move the puck. Whitney has been awful this season but I felt like he played better after the game where both he and Smyth sat. Still, he goes right back to the press box before long. We need another puck mover since this team has no willingness to play Whitney.

I like the re-alignment. The NHL system has gotten kind of stale and this change could solve a lot of geographical problems. It also opens the schedule up to play more games against the East.

The only advantage with Potter over Petry on the PP it keeps Petry fresh for the tough PK and even strength minutes. The added bonus is Petry's point totals will be lower without the PP time, keeping his contract demands lower.

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#59 Mike Modano's Dog
February 27 2013, 10:37AM
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that columbus/philly trade has been awful for columbus.

sean couturier, jacob voracek, and a third went to philly for jeff carter

poor columbus...

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#60 bazmagoo
February 27 2013, 11:23AM
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Couldn't agree about Potter more, Gregor. Starting to really piss me off seeing him play in front of Whitney. Whitney has been playing awfully, but his upside is WAY higher than Potter and he earns five times more in salary (approx).

Can't really see what the point of playing Potter in front of Whitney is, I think it's another example where coach/management is trying to punish a player they feel needs an attitude adjustment. I don't agree with a player having a bad attitude, but I'm not willing to risk losing games to make a point. The Oilers are, unfortunately.

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#61 RexLibris
February 27 2013, 01:08PM
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Khabibulin on the IR, as per TSN.

I guess that answers this so-called goaltending controversy.

And just when it looked like they might be able to trade him at the deadline for more than the proverbial bag of pucks.

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