February 04 2016 09:19PM
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
February 04 2016 12:21PM
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.
February 02 2016 06:41PM
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.
January 27 2016 02:23PM
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.
January 25 2016 10:51AM
Not all coaches are the same. Some value analytics more than others, but I've always wondered how much or little coaches use analytics.
The game is fast. It features numerous unscripted and unplanned events. Some coaches will look for matchups as often as possible, while others will only do so when it doesn't interrupt the flow of the game or their bench management, and having last change will impact their lineup decisions even more.
I've long believed hockey is such a fast game with so many uncontrolled situations that it is very difficult to look at one specific analytic stat, or even multiple ones, to extract the exact value of a player, but I wanted to ask a coach who could give an honest answer without worrying about it impacting his team.