GDB 68.0: Rested and ready?

For the 19th time this season the Oilers will play after two or more days between games. Does more rest equate to more success? It does slightly.

The Oilers are 6-11-1 (33.3 winning%) when playing after two+ days without a game, they are 12-21-8 (29.2 W%) when playing with one day between games and they are 1-5-2 (12.5 W%) on the second night of back-to-back games.

If you go by Gary’s loser-point system the Oilers have garnered slightly more possible points, not wins, when playing with one day between games compared to two plus days off, but overall more rest between games has helped the Oilers win four percent more.

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The more promising news for fans still emotionally invested in the games, is that the Edmonton is 13-13-1 vs. the east as they try for their first win of this road trip in Pittsburgh.

Their next five games are against eastern opponents: Pittsburgh, Columbus, Toronto, Columbus and Philadelphia. They finish the season with ten straight against the west: Jets, Avs, Stars, Avs, Ducks, Kings, Flames, Kings, Sharks and Canucks. The Oilers are 5-25-10 against the west.

The Penguins were victorious 2-0 on February 4th in Edmonton, and it was the first game under Todd Nelson where they lacked effort. “Early on, we were standing around watching and not dictating the play. It was the time I saw this type of effort,” said Todd Nelson after the game.

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Later in his presser Nelson stated he would focus on having a quick, fast-paced, intense practice to try and hammer home the importance of hard work. They flew to Toronto the next day, had a hard practice on Friday, but his players didn’t get the memo, because they got clobbered 5-1 in Toronto the next night. I’m sure that is when Nelson realized turning this team into a contender would be harder than it looked.

I think Nelson has done a fine job behind the bench, but a coach is only as good as his players. He can have quicker more intense practices and more one-on-one battle drills, but ultimately it is up to the players to decide how hard they will work on game night. I recognize this team isn’t as talented or experienced as most teams in the league, but I still believe the group has too many nights where their effort and competitiveness is not equal to their opponents.

The Oilers are have cut down on glaring mistakes, but their effort and concentration still dips during games, and often that results in goals against. They can’t afford many dips tonight against Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the rest of the Penguins.


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The forward lines remain the same as Tuesday. I don’t understand why Ryan Hamilton is playing ahead of Luke Gazdic. I said tweeted that on Tuesday and it makes even less sense tonight. Hamilton will never be an NHL player. He doesn’t skate well enough, and he hasn’t improved his footspeed enough during the past nine AHL seasons, so why do they expect that to change for next year?

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He has played 483 AHL games and 27 in the NHL. He has one goal in 27 games. He will never be an NHLer.

Gazdic has shown clear improvement in his game. He skates better than Hamilton. He is more physical, he has improved his puck skills, the play doesn’t die on his stick and he is not a liability in his own end. Why not use these final 15 games to let him play and see if he can keep improving?

Gazdic has 13 shots, two goals and is +0 in his last 12 games.
Hamilton has 6 shots, no goals and is -6 in his last 12 games.

Gazdic has much better analytics than Hamilton as well. There is no reason Hamilton should be playing ahead of Gazdic. The Oilers enforcer put in a lot of work this off-season and we’ve seen an improvement in his game and his skating.

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I believe it sends the wrong message to your team. Guys who put in the work and show improvement should be rewarded. Gazdic isn’t going to be a top-line player, but he sure as hell is a better NHL player than Hamilton.

Hamilton will not be here next year, Matt Fraser likely won’t even be qualified in the summer, but both of them are playing ahead of Gazdic, despite him playing better than them.

Nelson has made many right decisions, but I completely disagree with his decision to play Fraser, and especially Hamiton, ahead of Gazdic.

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Keith Aulie draws in for Jordan Oesterle who was reassigned to OKC after the Detroit game. Nikita Nikitin might be available tomorrow in Columbus.

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Ben Scrivens starts and I expect him to play tomorrow as well, because the Oilers don’t play again until Monday and Richard Bachman isn’t a viable NHL goalie. He has allowed 10 goals on 61 shots this season.


  • Marc-Andre Fleury is having the best regular season of his career. He has a .career-high 925sv%, leads the NHL with nine shutouts, is 6th in TOI, 6th in wins and 4th in GAA with a career low 2.14. He will need to have a solid postseason for many to stop questioning his ability, but he looks much more poised and confident ever since he started meeting with a sports psychologist.
  • Carey Price will win the Vezina, and he might win the Hart trophy as well, but it is very possible that Devan Dubnyk is one of the three finalists for the Vezina. Price, .937, is the only starting goalie with a better sv% than Dubnyk’s .928. Dubnyk has a 28-9-3 record, and since he arrived in Minnesota the Wild has vaulted up the western conference standings. It is very possible Dubnyk is a finalist along with Price and Pekka Rinne. Braden Holtby will get a lot of consideration as well, but Dubnyk is amongst the league’s best this season.
  • Crosby and Malkin are tied for 4th in NHL scoring with 62 points. They both are +6, have 185 and 189 shots respectively while averaging 19:11 and 19:50 in TOI. Their SAT’s are virtually identical as well. Crosby is an incredible player and he is the best in the game, but I’ve always felt Malkin gets overlooked. He isn’t mentioned as often amongst best in the league like Toews, Tavares, Ovechkin, or even Giroux, and I think that is because he plays on the same team as Crosby. Malkin has shown he can lead the team when Crosby is injured, and I’d argue Malkin could easily be considered the second best centre in the NHL.
  • Nikita Nikitin told Derek Van Diest his conditioning wasn’t an issue at the start of the season, “I was in good shape. That was never a problem,” he said. His GM felt different a few weeks ago, ” I don’t think he was in the best shape that he could have been, we have to get that rectified next year,” MacTavish said about Nikitin. MacTavish also praised him believing he is a top-four defender.

    Nikitin looked incredibly slow at the start of the year, but he did look a step quicker prior to his most recent injury. MacTavish said he wasn’t in the best shape, not necessarily in bad shape, and I think that was accurate based on how slow Nikitin looked. As for being a top-four defender, I don’t see that.

    I view Nikitin as a third pairing defender. If he can stay healthy, he can help the third pairing, but MacTavish, nor any of us, should expect him to be a second pairing guy just because the GM paid him like one. I don’t expect players to live up to a contract that was a major overpayment.


From the Pens Blog…

Death, taxes, and terrible hockey teams in Edmonton. The Oilers come to town tonight their usual train wreck selves. Their last two games, they gave up 12 goals in a two-day stretch, following up a 7-4 loss to Carolina on Sunday with a 5-2 loss to Detroit to fall to 0-2-1 on their five-game road trip. They are 0-4-1 in their last five, and still at the bottom of the barrel with a league-worst 3.31 goals against per game.

The Pens are 6-1-1 in their last eight and coming off a successful road trip that saw them earn five of a possible eight points. The bad news for the Pens is they went 0 for 12 on the power play out West. The good news is the Oilers have the league’s fourth-worst penalty kill at 77.6 percent and have given up goals on four of their last eight opportunities against. Even without shooting the puck, the Pens power play still might find a way to score tonight.



GAME DAY PREDICTION: Penguins are simply too good. Oilers keep it close, but lose 3-1.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Perron scores his second goal in as many games against the Oilers.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: RNH scores his 20th goal, setting a new career-high, but also ensuring the Oilers are not the last team with a 20-goal scorer. Carolina (Stall, 19), Arizona (Ekman-Larsson, 17) and Buffalo (Ennis, 17) will battle it out to see which team’s leading goal scorer has the lowest total.

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  • geeker99

    Quote: “Their next five games are against eastern opponents: Pittsburgh, Columbus, Toronto, Columbus and Philadelphia. They finish the season with ten straight against the west: Jets, Avs, Stars, Avs, Ducks, Kings, Flames, Kings, Sharks and Canucks. The Oilers are 5-25-10 against the west.”

    Lets say we continue at .500 (ish) against the east and go 2-2-1 over the next 5. Then if we continue the futility against the west that looks like 2-6-2 based on the averages (but I could legitimately see them losing all 10 – they for sure lose the last 6 and to the Jets, and the Avs have been playing better).

    Final record: 22-46-14, for 58 points. Horrible, but is it horrible enough… The Sabres are 3 points “ahead”, but have a slightly easier schedule by my eye – I could see them winning 5 more (vs our 4). This tank race is going to be tight – feel the excitement!

  • Jason Gregor

    “The Oilers are 6-11-1 (33.3 winning%) when playing after two+ days without a game”

    I love how that is “more successful” who knew the oilers would ever be this bad, thank The Lord I don’t hate the flames and can watch them!

  • pkam

    “Hamilton will not be here next year, Matt Fraser likely won’t even be qualified in the summer, but both of them are playing ahead of Gazdic, despite him playing better than them.”

    Please refer to the WIKI definition of tanking to answer above question ……….

    Tanking may refer to the following

    Tank (gaming)
    Match fixing, more specifically when a competitor deliberately loses without gambling being involved

  • I think that the Oilers win tonight……..not because we have McTankvish filling our roster with real NHL players but because we have a good coach who regardless of his roster, prepares the team well.

    Oilers always seem to get up for the top teams.

    Oilers win 5 to 3

  • pkam

    Actually, Dubnyk stats in Minnesota is the best. His overall stats this year is skewed by the games in Arizona.

    His SV% ties with Price at 0.937 and his 1.67 GAA is the best, so is his 19 wins in 25 games.

    He is the reason why the Wilds came back from 8 pts out of playoff to 3 pts above the cut line in 25 games. Wilds scored 40 of the possible 50 pts since his arrival, which is .800 hockey. They only scored 41 pts in previous 42 games.

  • BobbyCanuck

    Karmic Crackers:

    Calgary goes into a tailspin, and misses the play-offs by 1 point, they take there 1% McDavid chance and win the lotto

    Edmonton finishes in 3rd place, loses the lotto and ends up picking 12th

    the Nightmare

    Leafs win the lotto

    • Mike Krushelnyski

      I hope this year’s Flames are the 2008-09 Oilers and they just miss the playoffs, invest too much hope and money in their “young core”, and fall off a cliff for the next decade.

      • ubermiguel

        I like that idea, but one of the other posters here made a good point: it the Flames miss the playoffs they have a chance at the draft lottery and no-body wants them to have a chance to win that. So I’m cheering for the Flames to barely make the playoffs and exit in the first round as they’ve done 8 out of their last 9 playoff appearances. That goes back to 1993-1994. It’s a remarkable post-season record, to be barely good enough for the playoffs for that long.

        • I get that oiler fans are suppose to hate the flames, but they’re simply on a completely higher level than the oilers. It’s night and day. From management all the way down the flames are better organization. You’re making fun of their playoff record but it’s a whole lot better than the oilers.

          • Oilers4ever

            Ummm… I just wanna make sure I understand your last point. You make it sound like you are saying the Flameless ones have the better playoff record. Is that what I’m hearing? Flameless ones have been better team the last 10 years… I’ll give you that but if you are saying they have a better playoff record you better hit yourself over the head. Last I checked we have 5 cups to your one and 7 stanley cup final appearances to the Flames 3… So if you are saying regular season I agree but if you meant playoffs you need to change the koolaid yer drinking…

          • Slapshot

            How so? Cuz the oilers we t to the finals 1 season after the flames did?

            I hope the flames make the playoffs to. Not so they don’t have a chance at McDavid, but so I can watch another canadian team battle it out in the post season. And also so their kids can get a taste of playoff hockey and make them better players for it.

          • YFC Prez

            Are you really happy with the flames ” modern era” performance? Cause I wouldn’t be if I was a fan. It’s among the worst in the league, the flames have been a joke just like the oil until this miracle season.

            Flames fans trolling on a oilers fan website is like a Dwarf making fun of his vertically challenged midget friend. They’re both short.

            CANUCKS have completely owned both Alberta teams the past 15 years. Let’s not be to bragy yet flameout fans.

          • YFC Prez

            Lol, I’m not even a flamer fan. Been an oiler fan since I was a kid, I was just sticking up for the flames because they deserve it. Sure they haven’t need good either, but they’ve been miles ahead of this pathetic franchise. Every team has actually.

          • ubermiguel

            What’s your point? Almost every other team is on a higher level than the Oilers right now. I still want the Flames to make the playoffs so they get another middling draft pick and continue to be a middling team that makes it out of the first round of the playoffs a once every 20 years. The Oilers aren’t much better in that time, but they’ve still won more playoff rounds than the Flames.

  • BobbyCanuck

    Boychuk signing in the Isles ends the dreams of a lot of Oilers fans and likely Oilers management who were arrogant enough to think that this being his hometown and having Ference text him three times a day might be enough to get him here. Not signing Petry is looking worse by the day at this point. Not sure who they’ve got pegged to replace him but they sure aren’t gonna do it for cheaper and they certainly won’t get much a better player either!

  • Wax Man Riley

    I must say though, on a slightly off-topic tangent: I have some crow to eat. I was one of many who thought Garth Snow was just another Mike Milbury in training; an ex-player given a job he didn’t really earn by his buddy the owner and thrown into the deep end. For all his questionable moves, all of which were quietly done with little to no explanation, the man has just as quietly built the successful team he has in place right now. He has either surrounded himself with a very quality management team around him or we all need to admit that he does know more than anyone gave him credit for. Or maybe both. Or maybe he’s just really lucky.

    In any case, that was one heck of a sinking ship that righted itself so maybe, just maybe, with an equally skilled management team the Oilers could get there sooner than later too. All that being said, I have exactly zero faith in the current management team being able to do so.

  • The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33


    My dad works for Nintendo and he says that Ference texted Boychuk three times a day because Nintendo didn’t want to lose him to Sega.

  • I say tear the whole thing down. Trade hall, eberle, this years 1st pick. Bring in vaselivsky, OEL, Galchenyuk

    Boston is in cap hell, Chicago is in cap hell. Find a way to bring in Chara and Hossa to calm the kids and show them How to win.

    Stop being a joke of a team ASAP

  • YFC Prez

    Seriously Oilers fans..Boychuk signs with the Islanders for 7 years..I honestly thought he would sign with his hometown team the Oilers who I am sure would have paid same or better $$ and term for him..Ouch Oilers…big loss!

  • YFC Prez

    Holy hell the oilers have found a new level of suck again. Just when I think we’ve seen the bottom they lower the bar even further.

    Still haven’t won a game without Petry. Not going to win tonight. Would loosing every game the rest of the season at least inspire Katz to think about changing the office personnel. How can a team play in the NHL with THIS defence? Well they can’t I guess.

    If it wasn’t for Yak finding his groove I don’t think I’d have a damn thing to be happy about.

  • bleedingoil

    Give it to em boys! Give it! YEEE HAAAAAAW! Pack your bags McJesus, you are ours for a few years. MacT has a spare room for mama to come visit you until your facial hair comes in. You are gonna LOOOOVE it here. Just ask Petry, Paajarvi, Omark, Perron, Gagner, Dubnyk and Nikitin

  • YFC Prez

    Predicted a 3-1 loss there? Wow. 3-0 and complete domination in the 1st.

    Some people just can’t help themselves to the oilers kool aid I guess. There’s no way you can give the Oilers that much credit.