Decisions on Defence: Gryba and Davidson

Jason Gregor
February 05 2016 03:01PM

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No two NHL teams are the same, and no two situations are equal. Peter Chiarelli became GM of the Boston Bruins in the summer of 2006 and up until they won the Stanley Cup in June of 2011, he rebuilt his entire defence.

It started by signing unrestricted defender Zdeno Chara on July 1st, 2006. The Bruins didn't have instant success despite the Chara addition. They missed the playoffs in 2007, finishing 23rd overall with 76 points, but Chiarelli kept changing his blueline and four years later they won the Cup.

Andrej Sekera is not Chara, but he was the first major addition to Chiarelli's blueline in Edmonton, and Chiarelli has some interesting decisions ahead of him regarding the team's backend.

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GDB 52.0 Wrap Up: Oilers @ Senators

Jason Gregor
February 04 2016 09:19PM

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Baggedmilk and many Nation readers departed today on the first annual Nation ski trip, and the undisputed leader of the Ryan Nugent-Hopkins fan club asked me to fill in. I doubt I can match his antics, but here goes.

I'm sure BM and all the skiers will be in fine form tomorrow when they hit the slopes after celebrating the Oilers best road performance of the season. Edmonton crushed the Senators.

Final Score: Oilers win 7-2

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GDB 52.0: Going on the offensive

Jason Gregor
February 04 2016 12:21PM

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Connor McDavid and the Oilers faced the best possible opponent in their first game out of their ten-day break, defeating the defensively-challenged Columbus Blue Jackets 5-1. Tonight they face the Ottawa Senators, who have the second highest goals against average, 3.08, in the NHL.

The Oilers aren't a defensive juggernaut by any means, sitting 26th in GAA at 2.92, but Cam Talbot has been spectacular in 16 starts since December 14th, compiling a .936 save percentage and 2.01 GAA.

McDavid could not have asked for a more favourable schedule after a three-month hiatus.

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GDB 51.0: HOME ICE ADVANTAGE - McDavid returns

Jason Gregor
February 02 2016 06:41PM

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Tonight, Connor McDavid returns to the ice for his first game since breaking his clavicle on Tuesday, November 3rd. While he rehabbed his shoulder the Oilers picked up 33 points in 37 games going 14-18-5. The area the Oilers struggled the most without McDavid was on the PP.

In the 13 games McDavid dressed the Oilers were 10-for-45 on the PP (22.5%), but they were only 14 of 100 (14%) without him. McDavid only had three powerplay points, so the PP wasn't running through him, yet it is obvious his absence hurt the man advantage.

Jordan Eberle led the Oilers in PP scoring the past two seasons, and I'm curious to see how he and McDavid will work together on the PP and five-on-five.

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Around the NHL...

Jason Gregor
January 27 2016 02:23PM

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Upon completion of tonight's four games the NHL will reach the 60% mark of the season (740 of 1230 games) as they head into the All-Star break. It is interesting to see which teams have improved as the season has progressed, and which ones have fallen back after a decent start.

The Oilers have been near the bottom of the standings all season, although since November 26th they have improved averaging a .500 point percentage. I choose this date because Montreal Canadiens fans woke up that morning knowing they would be without the reigning MVP, Carey Price, and I'm sure none of them expected their team would drop from first place to 20th place in a span of two months.

The Habs picked up five points in the first three games without Price, but they've only managed eleven in their last 23 games. That is last place hockey and the Canadiens are on their way to one of the most epic collapses in NHL history.

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