DO YOU SEE WHAT I SEE: EDITION XVIII

Jason Gregor
March 19 2014 12:19PM

sexy eyes

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.

COMPARISONS...

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.

NOW WHAT?

NW_Logo

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.

POSITIVE HITS...

  • 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.

Here 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.

Century Casino, Uniglobe One Travel and The Jason Gregor Show have teamed up for a fun day of chirping, card playing and fundraising.

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:  

· All participants must be 21 years of age.
· The grand prize is based on a minimum occupancy of 80 participants, with only 100 spots available. If all spots are not filled, the grand prize will be adjusted to the pre-determined cash prizing.
· The grand prize awarded is a seat in the World Series of Poker Tournament Main Event, valued at $10,000 USD, in Las Vegas July 5th – 14th, 2014. The last 9 players of the tournament will return to Las Vegas in November 2013 for the final table. All events will be held at the Rio Hotel. The winner also receives airfare and accommodations from Uniglobe One Travel for one.
· The grand prize is non-transferable. The 1st place grand prize winner of the tournament  will accept the prize as awarded and be expected to participate and represent Century Casino and The Jason Gregor Show in the World Series of Poker Tournament.

· The remainder of the cash prizing for the tournament will be broken down as follows, based on full occupancy:
 
1st place- $10,000 (USA funds) entry fee into WSOP main event.
2
nd place - $2,000.00 cash  and $500 donation in name to MS Society.
3rd place - $880.00 cash and $220 donation in name to MS Society
4th place - $680.00 cash and $170 donation in name to MS Society.
5th place - $600.00 cash and $150 donation in name to MS Society.
6th place - $520.00 cash and $130 donation in name to MS Society.
7th place - $440.00 cash and $110 donation in name to MS Society
8th place - $360.00 cash and $90 donation in name to MS Society
9th place - $280.00 cash and $70 donation in name to MS Society.
10th place - $240.00 cash and $60 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.**

Call 780.643.4060 now to secure a seat call Good luck. We won't allow people who are in day one to register until Saturday. We'd like to make it open to as many people as possible. 

PARTING SHOT...

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.

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 Mike
March 19 2014, 07:44PM
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@jasongregor nice article first off. BUT, lol, I have to disagree with your take on the team being unimproved based on the similarities of the numbers. There were a lot of factors this year that the oilers didn't have to deal with last year that kind of makes comparing the years a bit unfair. If they had been comfortable with Eakins, adapted to his ways and system from the start, won ten more games(dubnyk), and didn't lose there second line center and then have him rush himself back I think this year would have been more exciting right now. The fact that they are TRYING to learn the system and winning In the process just goes to show the weaknesses that affected them prior to the changes. Goaltending. Heart. Honestly if they play this way thru Anaheim and San Jose that marks a significant improvement and should only show that whom ever they plug in to the line up are coming to a team that finally has a game plan and knows what they are doing. Further more, I feel that the smid trade was a win. Freed up cap space, got a legitimate goaltending prospect and Horak, a winger with size. And has been hot recently. I believe there is an article out that shows smids stats before and after the trade, the numbers aren't good. I think Mac T won that trade.

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#52 Rod from Viking
March 19 2014, 08:23PM
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@Mike

It also is huge that OKC and the Oilers are playing the same system, when some comes up they seem a lot more comfortable than in the past.

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#53 shaun
March 20 2014, 12:01AM
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Zarny wrote:

Careful now Mr. Gregor; logic and perspective is lost on all the Eakins haters.

If they can't wet their pants, scream that the sky is falling and cling to their delusions that the Oilers rebuild has to start over their heads will probably explode.

Do you ever make a comment that is not loaded with condescension and insults....some respect would be nice, your not the smartest person in the room...not even close

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#54 **
March 20 2014, 01:24AM
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go oilers

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#56 Quicksilver ballet
March 20 2014, 11:04AM
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You may want to check in with your optometrist again Jason. Constantly polishing turds is harmful to your eyesight it seems.

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#57 Lochenzo
March 20 2014, 02:02PM
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@Jason Gregor

I think part of the cure that you're looking for is to get these kids to drive the net a little more.

Case in point, when we think of Stamkos, we think of him shooting laser beams from the face off dot. And yeah, he scored a goal like that last night. But, he also potted a couple by beating out his check to the high percentage areas.

There are times when I see a great opportunity for one of these kids to go to the net but they don't. Even if you add a bigger body to the top 6, these kids and thsi team will still be better off if they learned this.

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#58 Rdubb
March 21 2014, 07:59AM
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Gregor, good little read, BUT, I MUST disagree with 100%. Have the Oilers got better, HELL YES...All you have to do is look @ their record since MacT brought in both Hendricks - who happens to be the main heart beat of this team for so some unknown reason, why they didn't have much of one before is beyond me, and Scrivens - a goalie who actually showed his mates he could stop a puck, thus giving them loads more confidence, and by adding MM who seems to have had a great effect on Petry, and these two have become our best D pairing. Plus, you can also add in the deletions that have been made and the additions, whether of NHL players via trades or younger guys from OK. No matter how you put it, this team is head and shoulders better than the team that played in the first 30 games, a team who was booed off of home ice between periods and after games and had the fans fuming on radio call in shows day in and day out. Now, fans are not so irate, but see what this team can be, if they could only add another Hendricks style player, perhaps a bigger somewhat skilled C and a shutdown D. I know that's asking for a lot from MacT, but @ least he has somehow been able to shore the goalie situation & added a "beat" style guy in Hendricks mid-season. This team, when all of them decide too, they can play with almost anyone, it's when they decide to take a period of off that hurts them oh so bad. But, back on topic...this team has showed so many signs of becoming a much better team in these past 40 games and they are heads and shoulders better than the first 30 or so and I feel much better than last season. Now, if we could have only started last season with this team, I think that we'd be in a whole lot better situation than we are now. I do not think we'd be fighting for a playoff spot, but at least we'd be in there fighting, not being such a "push over" for above .500 teams. One must also remember how much air was taken out of the Oiler player's sails those first 12-15 games, especially when they should have won @ least 4 more of those games, and perhaps as many as 7. If we'd have had the Prof and Fasth as the start, who knows where the Oilers would be right now, it'd have been nice to see how much confidence they could have carried out of the starting line? Now, if MacT could sign a bigger gritty winger/C, trade for a bigger skilled C, top pairing D and maybe & perhaps sign another, plus drafting the right player, which I personally feel should be one of the bigger skilled C, and there are 2 or 3 that I have heard tossed around, than we'll be okay moving forward. I think that biggest mistake MacT could make this spring would be to draft Ekblad with his 1st pick. It takes D so much longer to develop for one, and by the time he is ready, this core will be near its end in contract lengths, some will be re-signed, some traded and some let go, but they won't be together, not to mention our "pipeline" is looking fairly good going forward thus far, and yes, I know we need to draft more D, but use our latter picks for them. Also, we currently do not have a veteran presence who'd be able to help a younger D learn the ways of the NHL, learn how to play, prepare & whatever else a vet does to help a up & coming guy. By drafting a C this spring, odds are, any one of those top 3 would be able to step in and help out, unless we trade for or sign one before that. Then, he'd be able to go to OKC, learn the system and step up when needed, and if he is not called up during the yr, he'd be ready for the following yr... Peck

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