THE GUESSING GAME

TeaLeaves

Having been hopelessly wrong more times than I care to remember when it comes to predicting who’ll do what and which team will finish where over the past three decades or so, it’s still tempting to try to read the tea leaves to figure out what’s next.

When people get it right, even kinda-sorta-almost right, they’re quick to point out, “I called it,” even if they’re fudging a bit. It feels good to be right and to look smart when it works out – whether you flipped a coin, relied on gut-feel and instinct or pored over a stack of spreadsheets in arriving at your prediction. Get it wrong, and well, never mind, let’s move along.

With 2014 in the books and the 2015 portion of the schedule kicking in against the Colorado Avalanche in Denver Friday, I can’t think of anybody who picked the Edmonton Oilers to be as bad as they’ve been through the first 38 games of this season, winning just eight times. I know I didn’t.

Bob Stauffer, who does analysis on Oiler broadcasts with 630 CHED, has taken some razzing from fans of late for predicting the Oilers would win seven of the 14 games they played in December. I don’t know how Bob, who is a pretty sharp guy, arrived at that number, but the Oilers didn’t come close, going 2-8-4 on the month to sit at 8-22-8 today.

Stauffer was almost as far off as I was several years ago in a pool here at Oilersnation when I rather optimistically predicted the Oilers would have 11 players register 40-or-more points. Not close, to the absolute delight of some, many of whom rely more on advanced stats than I do.

LOOKING AHEAD

LookAhead

Predictions are a guess – some rather educated, others considerably less so – and nothing more. Whether you’re using your eyes, relying on basic stats and trends or employing advanced stats to see how teams match up, the bottom line is you’re guessing.

I’d like to take a run at the Oilers schedule in January, a stretch of 12 games that will take them to the 50-game mark, beginning in Denver, to kick-off 2015. When I check the opposition and how they’re playing as of today, look at the Oilers, who seem energized if not more composed under Todd Nelson, and knock it all around a bit, I see them going 3-6-3.

The Oilers will play six games on the road, against Colorado, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Florida, Washington and Calgary. They play six games at home, against the New York Islanders, Detroit, Chicago, Florida, Minnesota and Buffalo. Here’s how I see the dozen playing out.

COLO – L

NYI – L

DET – OT

CHI – L

FLA – W

STL – L

TB – L

FLA – OT

WSH – L

MIN – W

BUF – W

CGY — OT

If you see it shaking out differently, let me know.

WHILE I’M AT IT . . . 

AndFinally

  • Anton Lander was recalled (again) from Oklahoma City today. My guess is that’s in preparation for an announcement in the next day or two that Leon Draisaitl is being returned to the WHL.
  • Tyler Pitlick suffered a lacerated spleen in the 4-3 OT loss to Calgary Wednesday and has been put on injured reserve. I’ve liked his game in stretches, but Pitlick can’t stay healthy. A knee injury set him back in his first real-look see and now this.
  • Defenseman Keith Aulie was handed a two-game suspension today for his hit to the head of Matt Stajan during the first period in Calgary. Aulie received a game misconduct for the hit.
  • Expect forward Benoit Pouliot to return from a broken foot against the Avs Friday or the Islanders Sunday.  Pouliot was injured Nov. 21 against New Jersey. The Oilers have gone 2-10-6 with him out of the line-up.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260.

  • Jaxon

    I doubt we’ll beat Florida – they’re no longer a bottom tier team like the Oilers. Florida is a team that is being constructed the right way with big, talented, young centres (Bjugstad and Barkov), two huge, highly skilled, young, First pairing defence men in Ekblad and Gudbranson, and a true starting goalie in Luongo.

  • camdog

    a lot of people are predicting a win against Florida, but Florida is a vastly better team than they were in the past. Solid goaltending with tons of young talent at C and D.

    If MacT wants a lesson on how to build a team, he should look at Florida.