March 19 2014 12:19PM
Are the Edmonton Oilers improving? For months people have said the Oilers have regressed. I don't think they have improved or regressed when you look at their overall play. After a pathetic first quarter of the season the Oilers' record is now eerily similar to last season.
The Oilers were 4-15-2 in their first 21 games. On November 15th they were unofficially eliminated from the playoffs. It was brutal.
Here are their stats in the first 21 games.
Goals For: 48 (2.28/game)
Goals Against: 80 (3.80/game)
PP: 12 for 68 (17.6%)
PK: 15 of 79 (81.0%)
Shots for: 586 (27.9/game)
Shots against: 642 (30.6/game)
Goalies SV%: .883 (Dubnyk .884, Lababera 0.858 and Bachman 0.915)
In their last 49 games the Oilers are 21-21-7, and you will notice some significant differences.
Goals For: 125 (2.55/game)
Goals Against: 142 (2.89/game)
PP: 27 for 170 (15.9%)
PK: 26 of 158 (83.5%)
Shots for: 1,305 (26.6/game)
Shots against: 1626 (33.2/game)
Goalies SV%: .913 (Dubnyk .898, Bryzgalov 0.908, Scrivens 0.932 and Fasth 0.940)
The team's Sv% has improved significantly over the past 49 games. The PK and GF is slightly better, and not surprisingly the GAA has dropped by almost 1 goal per game. It is amazing what competent goaltending will do for a team. The Oilers still have many areas to improve, but solid goaltending has them on an 82-point pace over a full season.
So how does the Oilers' previous 49 games compare to last season?
Goals For: 123 (2.56/game)
Goals Against: 131 (2.73/game)
PP: 34 for 69 (20.1%)
PK: 29 of 175 (83.4%)
Shots for: 1,285 (26.7/game)
Shots against: 1572 (32.8/game)
Goalies SV%: .919 (Dubnyk .920, Khabibulin 0.923, and Denis 0.881)
The Oilers were 19-22-7 last year and in their previous 48 games went are 20-21-7. Now that the goaltending Sv% has improved this team's results are very similar to last season.
They have scored the same amount of goals, the goals against are close and so are the SF and SA per game.
The PP is not as good, seven fewer goals, but they even that out by scoring more 4-on-4. The PK is virtually identical.
I don't see many differences from this year to last, other than the coach and that is what I expected would happen. Until the organization makes changes to key positions, switching coaches won't matter much. Their goaltending has been very good since November 15th, but last year Dubnyk and Khabibulin's Sv% gave them a chance most nights, even when Dubnyk allowed a softie.
The issue is they haven't improved much, and that is a fair complaint. I'd share that responsibility equally amongst the coach and players. I never expected this team to be a contender this year, so I'm not surprised they aren't.
They need to change their top-six and top-four defence. It won't be easy. Craig MacTavish has done a stellar job fixing his goaltending position. In the span of two months, he acquired Fasth, Scrivens, Hendricks and a 4th round pick for Dubnyk, Bryzgalov, two 3rds, and a 5th.
Those two moves look great, but he'll be faced with harder decisions and more difficult moves this offseason. How can he inject some size in his top-six, and acquire some experience and skill amongst his top-four defenders?
Steve Tambellini was unable to make any significant moves while he was GM, but MacTavish has shown a willingness to make trades. He won't win them all -- Smid and Hemsky -- but he has made some very good moves thus far.
MacTavish can't rush into these moves, and I'm sure there will be a temptation to do so, but he'll need to be shrewd and a bit lucky to re-configure his lineup without moving out the wrong piece.
It will be interesting to see how it unfolds.
- This is absolutely awesome. What a great move by the San Jose Sharks. Watch young Sam's reaction at the end of the video. It will make you smile. It reminds us that just going out of our way to do nice things for others can really make a difference. You might need a tissue.
- I've noticed many suggesting that in previous years the Oilers have won too much down the stretch and ruined their draft positioning. I'm not sure why people think that, because only once in the last seven years have they played great in the final quarter of the season.
Last year, on April 3rd and were tied for 8th. They won 3 of their final 12 (quarter of the season) and dropped out of a tie for 8th place.
In 2012, they went 7-9-4 in final 20 games.
In 2011, they went 5-11-4.
In 2010, they went 8-10-2.
In 2009, they went 7-9-4.
2008 was the only year they ended on a high, going 14-5-1 down the stretch.
In 2007, they limped down the stretch going 2-17-1. They won the last game of the season in Calgary, but that DID NOT cost them Patrick Kane. Had the Oilers lost the game, they would have had the 4th worst record in the NHL. When Chicago won the lottery the Oilers would have drafted 5th instead of 6th.
Let's stop with the suggestions this team wins too much down the stretch. It isn't the case. This team needs to learn how to win, and if that means they draft 3rd, 4th or 5th then so what? Expecting another draft pick to magically solve the Oilers woes makes no sense. This group of players must learn what it takes to win, not lose more games just so they can pick 2nd at the draft. Even with their 10-4-3 hot streak the Oilers are still in 29th place.
You also can't ask players to lose. Is Eakins supposed to tell his goalies to allow an easy goal if the game is close? Are you supposed to tell Hall not to try and score?
ADDING A SECOND DAY...
Day one of our tourney sold out in 27 hours, so we have added a 2nd day.
is your chance to helps end MS and win your entry, $10,000, to the WSOP
main event in July in Las Vegas. (Due to exchange rate it is actually
$11,200 prize). The Winner also receives some extra spending money as
well as flights and hotel accommodations.
The 3nd annual Gregor MS BIKE TOUR Classic goes Sunday, April 27th.
WHEN: Sunday April 27th. Registration at 11:30, tourney at 1 p.m.
WHERE: Century Casino, 13103 Fort Road
WHO: 100 Texas Hold Em Players
WHY: To Help End MS and win a seat at the WSOP main event
COST: $220 per person (15% goes to MS Society)
Please be advised of the following stipulations for the tournament:
2nd place - $2,000.00 cash and $500 donation in name to MS Society.
** 1st place prize is not redeemable for cash. If you can't go then the 2nd place winner can go in your place and you receive their prize.**
How many of you gentlemen have a few suits in your closet that you are still holding on to the dream that one day you will fit in them again? Don't worry we are all in the same boat. If you are ready to make that tough decision of parting with one of those suits, The Gregor Foundation would gladly take them and give them to a high school student who can't afford one. Read here for more info. Thanks in advance to those who donate.
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