GDB 70.0: Sharing the pain

TankFans

There isn’t much love between Leafs fans and Oilers fans, however, both groups share one common bond: both have endured a decade of despair. The Oilers and Leafs have only made the playoffs once in the past ten years. The Oilers made it in 2006, but haven’t been close since, while the Leafs missed the dance for the first seven years, made it in 2013 only to suffer a painful game seven loss to the Bruins, and are now starting another streak of two seasons without the postseason.

No fan base in Canada has suffered more than those who cheer for the Leafs and Oilers since the beginning of the 2005/2006 season, and only fans in Florida can relate to your struggles.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

All three cities have experienced the playoffs only once in the past decade, and they’ve all seen significantly more losses than wins.

Here are the bottom five teams in total points during the past decade:

            TEAM        W        L     OT      PTS

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

26th: Toronto        344 – 333 – 97       785

27th: Florida         326 – 328  – 118    770

28th: NYI               336 – 346 –  93     765

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

29th: CBJ              335 – 351 – 86      756

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

30th: Edm             302 – 378 – 93       697

The Islanders will be in the post season for the third time this year, while even the lowly Blue Jackets have made it twice, 2009 and 2014.

Florida has played in front of half empty buildings often during their run of futility, but Leafs and Oilers’ fans continue to support their team by paying big dollars to watch their teams lose. You can make the argument no fans in the country are as loyal, or as vocal, as Oilers and Leafs fans.

The Leafs have acquired most of their best players via trade: Phil Kessel, Dion Phaneuf, Joffrey Lupul, Jonathan Bernier, James Van Riemsdyk, while the Oilers have drafted theirs: Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Oscar Klefbom, Martin Marincin and Nail Yakupov.

Neither organization has seen much success.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

NEW COACHES…

Coaching

Edmonton fired Dallas Eakins after 31 games due to a 7-19-5 record. Craig MacTavish stepped in for five games and went 0-3-2, before handing the reigns to Todd Nelson. Nelson is 11-17-5 in 33 games, an improvement over MacEakins, but the team still isn’t close to being a playoff contender, and as I stated for the past five years, constantly hoping a new coach will fix things is the wrong approach.

A coach can make a positive impact, no doubt — Nelson’s approach on the PP has been obvious, and he’s bean able to get more out of Nail Yakupov and others — but a coach doesn’t win or lose battles. He doesn’t make split second decisions all over the ice. The players do, and if you don’t have enough players committed to winning in the dirty areas of the ice, you likely won’t win.

The Leafs also changed coaches mid-season, but it had the opposite impact that Nelson has had on the Oilers.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Randy Carlyle’s Leafs were in a playoff spot 40 games into the season, 21-16-3, but management felt the coach’s system and style wasn’t conducive to winning so he was fired on January 6th.

Peter Horachek was named interim head coach, but since he took over the Leafs have plummeted down the standings. They Leafs are 6-21-3 since Carlyle was fired.

Carlyle:
Record: 21-16-3
Outscored opponents: 127 -121 (3.17 GF/game and 3.03 GA/game)
Outshot by opponents: 1373-1196 (34.3 SA/game and 29.9 SF/game)
PP: 29 on 144 (20.1%) 
PK: 24 of 135 (82.2%)  

Horachek:
Record 6-21-3
Outscored 56-98 (3.26 GA/game and 1.86 GF/game)
Outshot: 940-849 (31.3 SA/game and 28.3 SA/game)
PP:  13 on 101 (12.8%) 
PK:  18 on 89 (79.7%)

The Leafs have been brutal since Carlyle left. Their PP and PK are worse, they are barely scoring,  but their SF/SA ratio has improved. Their effort without Carlyle has been extremely low many nights, and that has to be a concern for management.

It seems clear that Carlyle’s disciplinarian approach kept the team in line, but since his departure they’ve slid down the eastern conference standings. The Leafs best players look like they have mailed it in too often, while many of the Oilers players have played more inspired with their new coach.

The negative for Edmonton is that despite the better effort, they still aren’t winning often enough. Nelson stated he feels his team had made strides, but they need to play more consistent for longer stretches if they want to win. 

QUICK HITS…

LeafsVsOilers

  • The Oilers PP has been on fire lately. They are 23 of 92 (25%) since Nelson took over, and are on a ridiculous run in their last five games, 9 of 21 (42.8%). I asked Eberle what has been the difference on the PP.

    “I don’t think there has been many tweaks. I think part of it has been familiarity, because you gain momentum when you play with the same guys all the time. We have had to change some guys out, due to injuries, but Todd has kept both units together for the most part.

    “I think at the start of the year we were so worried about Corsi numbers and shots per powerplay per minute, and it got to the point we were just shooting to shoot the puck. Now we are just going out there and trying our best to score whether it is one shot in two minutes and we put the puck in the net or we get ten shots and finally get a goal. Obviously you have to shoot the puck to score, but I don’t think you want to be in a situation where you are shooting it just for the sake of shooting. You need net front traffic and make sure you battle to get the rebound back.”

    It sounds like the focus under Eakins was making sure they got a lot of shots, especially early in powerplays, or at least his delivery of the importance of shots was what the players heard. The Oilers aren’t shooting less with Nelson actually, but according to Eberle the message is different.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…

From TheLeafsNation

The Lerfs and Oilers have been so bad for so long, the last time the two teams faced off in a season where both teams made the playoffs, Eric Brewer led the Oilers in ice time. March 10, 2003, to be exact.

Here’s the box score from that game, if you’re curious. The Lerfs won 3-2, with goals from Mats Sundin, Tomas Kaberle and Alexander Mogilny.

Tonight’s game will have a marginal impact on the chance that some ping-pong balls will come up with one team over another. That’s about it. Other than that, it’s the closest thing the NHL has to relegation.

TONIGHT…

RexallPlace

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Leafs are brutal right now. They are 1-15-2 in their 18 road games since Carlyle was fired. Nelson talked about how flat his team was in Toronto last month, and I expect a much better effort from the Oilers tonight. They end their seven-game losing streak with a 5-3 win.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Oilers score two PP goals.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Lander becomes the 8th Oiler to have a multi-goal game this season joining Pouliot (3), Eberle (3), RNH (2, one hat trick), Yakupov, Hendricks, Arcobello and Hall.

Recently by Jason Gregor:         

SmallBanner2


  • pkam

    Hoping MacT and company don’t watch the game looking for trade material. He should probably be in some other arena scouting for the draft or potential trade/UFA players.

  • Oilfaninvan

    The “advanced stats community” knew Eberle was no good doe.

    In all seriousness, I think Carlyle would make a significant impact coaching the Oilers. He should be a candidate.

  • I liked the point about the power play. I remember under Kreuger the team would live and die on any given night based on Power Play production. Eakins destroyed what was like 3rd best in the league. So it’s nice to see a team that should have no trouble scoring on man advantage, not having as much.

    Or, even less than the team scoring on the PP, it’s nice to see them limiting the short handed goals against. That has to be come kind of record. How many short handed goals against did the team have under Eakins?

    As for the team not winning enough, well let’s be honest, the tank is on. As a management group, if the season is over and you are in a position for the last ever time to be guaranteed a top two pick, especially if one of those is a guy like McDavid, how can you not go for it? Just sucks for Nelson.

  • freelancer

    Would love to see your NSOGDP come true. Lander has been a bright spot in the last few games. At this point of the season, I watch games less for the outcome and more watch specific players. Lander is finally starting to look like what I hoped he would become. A third line centre who can put up some points and be that guy who can go to the tough areas.

  • Here is the problem with Eakins, how he coached, and the use of advanced stats to coach a team, all summed up in one little line:

    “shooting it just for the sake of shooting”

    Gross. It’s like an excuse. It’s like ‘our possession stats are good so we might as well wait for percentages to go up, then we’ll be good.’ – now when I hear that I’m going to think the coach is forcing the players to play badly to make him look good ‘possession-wise’.

    • freelancer

      That one quote from Eberle sums up alot of the Oilers decisions. Play Hunt because he will shoot the puck lots. It might never go in but he’s shooting so that’s good… Bringing in Fayne because he had good possession numbers.

      I think advanced stats have a place in the game but a team shouldn’t be built around them.

      • camdog

        Some of the best powerplays in the league have a 6’2″, 210 plus forward in front of the net screening the goalie and overpowering the defenceman for the puck in a battle for the rebound. The Oilers don’t have those type of players.

        Problem I have with advanced stats is that veteran hockey players will often produce better advanced stats than younger hockey players. This was another trick that Eakins used to bump his Corsi, at times he would rather play a veteran AHL player (Acton) then take a chance on a young guy. Young players that are learning the game aren’t structured like veterans, it doesn’t mean you’ll ice a better team, but the percentages sometimes turn out to be higher for the veteran.

      • Butters

        I think they said the same thing about Pouliot and Purcell – how are their possession numbers now? What’s more important though – how many shots they get on the ice vs. the other team during the same time, or same stat with goals…oh yeah, I guess +/- is an irrelevant, but maybe it’s worth more than corsi.

    • Rob...

      Woah… this is prophetic. Who was a better tank commander than the Desert Fox. Not a stretch to go from a desert fox to a Coyote. Coyotes are going to win the tank battle and take home McDavid.

      • Why do I have this gut feeling Bettman will rig the draft so the Coyotes win. His mentor David Stern did it to save the Knicks in 85 when they drafted Ewing.

        Option B is to admit he was wrong about a hockey team in the desert.

        • The Soup Fascist

          I think the McDavid frozen envelope (or in this case – ping pong ball) will belong to Philadelphia with the consolation prize – Eichel – going in Buffalo.

          Two ways the little general can go:

          1. McDavid goes to an American team struggling for fans (the Coyote conspiracy fits here, along with the Canes and Florida (assuming they do not make the playoffs).

          2. An established big market U.S. team where McDavid will have a lot of exposure. Ed Snider has a LOT of pull.

          What I am pretty sure of – No Canadian team will “win” the McDavid sweepstakes. Bettman cannot afford to have this guy playing North of the 49th …. or in Buffalo.

          Don’t forget that the fateful night when the NY Knicks “miraculously” won the right to draft Ewing, Bettman was Stern’s second in command. He may well have been the one to pull the envelope out of the freezer – assuming he could reach the top shelf.

  • Prongers Promises

    It feels like less and less people are commenting on the nation. people are not caring anymore. Hopefully they can turn it around next year, otherwise it is going to get ugly in the city.

  • Rob...

    Conspiracy Theory: The leafs canned Carlyle right after the world juniors in Toronto. Did management get a first hand glimpse of McJesus and had to start taking by firing the coach?

    Me thinks so.

    • And the Leafs are co-owned by both of the TV/internet rights holders in Canada. And we don’t actually get to see the lottery happen. I may change sports if the Leafs get McDavid. Who’s good in team handball these days?

      • Butters

        I find it odd that the lottery process is not above reproach. I think there should be an independent auditing firm overseeing the process. My two cents anyway.

  • camdog

    “I think at the start of the year we were so worried about Corsi numbers and shots per powerplay per minute, and it got to the point we were just shooting to shoot the puck. Now we are just going out there and trying our best to score whether it is one shot in two minutes and we put the puck in the net or we get ten shots and finally get a goal. Obviously you have to shoot the puck to score, but I don’t think you want to be in a situation where you are shooting it just for the sake of shooting. You need net front traffic and make sure you battle to get the rebound back.”

    Lol, now all we need is another article from Arch stating that the Oilers aren’t shooting enough on the powerplay from the point. With 5″10 forwards that don’t screen the goalies, win battle for loose pucks and win faceoffs after the goalie has covered the puck, you don’t just randomly shoot the puck from the point. lol

    Nelson is doing a wonderful job managing the powerplay even if the advanced stat guys don’t necessarily agree, because their Corsi is suffering…

  • Rob...

    This is gonna stir up the fancy stats vs “watching the game” debate. They coincide with each other, advanced stats help see a trend and can be used as a tool they are not only tool. No opinion is the “right” way, both should be used together.

    Thanks for your time and tip your waitresses!

  • vetinari

    You can outflank us but you cannot out-tank us!(TM2015)

    GDP: Oilers 4 Leafs 3

    OGDP: The pre-game will be a salute to all things McDavid. Here’s what he would look like in a Leaf jersey. Now an Oiler jersey. Now someone throwing a McDavid jersey when his team is still in the bottom three of the league next year at this time.

    NSOGDP: A rare post-deadline trade happens prior to the opening faceoff between the two teams… Eakins to the Leafs (who is promptly demoted to coach the Marlies) for an Ice Girl to be named later. Both sides claim to have won the trade…

  • camdog

    5 years of re-build and we are second last in the league. Pathetic. I read the prospect update the other day and can’t believe how little we have considering we have been picking first or near first for what feels like forever. Todays bottom five of the last 10 years is insulting. We are not only the worst over these last 10 years but worst by a long shot. Kblowe should retire immediately. What an embarrassment to himself and this on e proud franchise. Here come the Coilers.

    • Justice4Tkachev

      That game was in Arizona in December. Most of the people who saw us loved it. There were a few folks who were insulted by it but it was all for fun. I was surprised about all the pictures people wanted to take with us!

      • Butters

        That photo is hilarious. I used to love going to games in PHX. Fans were always good natured to us Oiler fans. Flyer fans on the hand, I have seen a few scraps in the stands when the Orange and Black were in town.

  • clrsnldvc81

    The Laughs were out in full force on Saturday night at Central Social Hall having a great time post RedBull Crashed Ice…

    Glad to see both teams’ players still find time to show their faces in public even though they (WE) are the laughing-stocks of the NHL…

    #noshame

  • The decade records illustrate how bad this Oilers organization has been. Sadly, while this is a tank battle, no one can truly out tank this organization. I can’t believe Katz can look at that decade record and leave this mgmt especially Lowe, in place. Awful.

  • cmandev77

    Tonight’s hockey game will be a battle of EPIC proportions!

    2 heavyweights battling it out to show who is the best and strongest.

    We haven’t seen a battle like this since Jack Sharkey fought Primo Carnera for the Heavyweight Title.

    Not since Barry Horowitz fought Iron Mike Sharpe have two teams been so evenly matched.

    This game will be reminiscent of the 92-93 San Jose Sharks playing the 92-93 Ottawa Senators!

    Anyone else as psyched as me to watch tonight’s BATTLE OF THE BASEMENT?

  • cmandev77

    Anybody who still thinks acquiring Dion Phaneuf would be a good idea, watch him closely tonight. He will be the goofball tripping over his own feet at the blueline then gliding back into his own zone to fish the puck out of the net behind his goaltender. He might also pick a fight with a heavyweight like Eberle because he thinks he’s tough.

    Toronto wasn’t any good under Carlyle either. I think they mostly just fell back to earth because their goal scoring dried up and their goaltending trended towards average instead of excellent. I would rather stick with Nelson than hire Carlyle but that’s just me.

    • WTF2

      Dion would look awesome in an oiler jersey if he was a second pairing despite the haters. If the oiler brought in phaneuf along with another guy like OEL, it would completely transform the Dcore into a legitament NHL defence. He just can’t be the go to guy.

      Phaneuf would be a perfect second pairing dman

      • pkam

        I will agree with you that he will be a great 2nd pairing dman on ice if there is no salary cap. His 7M (I believe there is at least 6 years left) contract will make him the worst 2nd pairing dman. But regardless of his salary, he will always be a problem in the dressing room.

        • pkam

          I won’t argue that, his cap hit is probably 1-2 mill higher than your want it, but maybe the contract lets you get him for less of a cost. Get rid of Nikitin and Ference bring in phaneuf, and your cap hit goes down and your defence improves

          • pkam

            Nikitin has one year left and Ference 2 so if the management does not make another stupid signing or trade, we suffer 2 more years. Phaneuf will extend the suffering for another 4 years.

            And don’t forget he is known to be a dressing room problem. Why would we want to overpaid a dressing room problem?

          • camdog

            Won’t disagree again, but judging on history do you trust they won’t make another stupid signing? They’ll be in panic mode yet again to upgrade the defence and overpay another average dman to once again try the “defence by commitee” approach. I’m not buying what they’re selling

            Sure Nikitin only has another year, then they’ll just go out and do the same thing. All I’m saying is I’d rather have an over paid phaneuf then 2 bottom pairing guys averaging 4 mil. As for dion’s ‘locker room issues’ that’s all high school gossip. I’ve heard alot of his teammates stick up for him aswell. Sure, maybe he’s a bit of an @ss, but couldn’t the oilers use a little more @ssh0les?

            Again, I wouldn’t bring him in to be the guy, in my perfect world I’d make a major move to bring in an OEL type. Boston’s in cap purgatory, do they want Chara to retire a bruin?

            This idea of “Klefbom and nurse will be thrown into the deep end and thrive” is ridiculous. We need good vets to lean on while these guys work their way into the league. Like him or not, phaneuf is a top 30 dman in the league and also plays with a physical edge.

            Ps, pronger was a complete d!(k

          • pkam

            Top 30? I don’t think so. In my opinion, near the bottom of top 60.

            Just ask yourself, why would the Leafs trade him when he is their best defense? Because they figured out that they can’t make the playoff, not to mention winning the cup, with his contract.

        • YFC Prez

          How do you know Phaneuf to be a problem in the dressing room? I recall Phil Kessel ripping into the media for about ten minutes a couple weeks ago because of what he felt was unfair treatment of his captain by the media. If he was such a problem his teammates wouldn’t be going out of their way to defend him so adamantly.

          Phaneuf is a top pairing D-man. Take 2 million off of his salary and he becomes a very highly sought after asset.

          I’ve said it before. Phaneuf is miles ahead of any of our D-men. Acquiring Phaneuf makes this team better. The defence is the worst group ever assembled in the NHL for at least the past 2 decades. I really don’t see how oiler fans are in any position to be sticking their noses up in the air at Phaneuf.

          • pkam

            It’s also been rumoured that the USA never landed on the moon, 9/11 was an inside job and that there’s an alien race of lizard shape shifting beings that control the world. What does any of this have to do with hockey?

          • pkam

            9/11 being an inside job is not a rumor. The lizards are the people on the inside, and “lizards” is just a code name for the nation of religious bigots behind it.

          • vetinari

            Phaneuf – a problem with team mates?

            I was at the executive airport in Calgary where the Flames (he was a Flame then) were about to catch their private plane.

            Phaneuf was eating a sandwich in the airport lounge when the plane started to load. All the players were on board including the coaches (Mike Kennan). Phaneuf continues to chew on his sandwich. He could have easily carried it on board and finished eating it there. After he finished (plane was loaded for about 5 minutes) he threw the wrapper in the garbage and grabbed his bag and boarded.

            That small sample that I saw demonstrated a selfish individual and not a team player

          • YFC Prez

            He’s such a jerk I’m willing to bet he had an apple juice instead of an orange juice!! And it wouldn’t surprise me to find out be didnt even bother to eat the crust! What a d!(k

          • YFC Prez

            That example shows just how much the hate for Dion is all based on hog wash.

            Those jets, even the private ones have scheduled take offs. I can guarantee Dion wasn’t holding the plane from taking off on time. What does it matter if he sits in the restaurant or on the jet. Plane still leaves when it’s scheduled with or without all passengers on board.

            All that matters to me is Dion is way better than any of our D-men. And that’s why I would take him in a heartbeat. Improve the D.

          • YFC Prez

            This^ is the reason you think Phaneuf is a bad person/teammate? Good grief

            I will say that every leaf on the ice including Phaneuf is playing absolutely brutal hockey right now. But I wouldn’t call Dion a bad teammate for eating lunch. That’s making a mountain out of an ant hill.

          • Cool story, bro

            Maybe you can tell us where the “calgary executive airport” is and why an NHL team would fly out of it.

            Considering all NHL teams travel on charters except for the couple of teams who have a private plane, of which calgary is not one.

          • YFC Prez

            You think that’s bad? If you wanna talk about terrible teammates, my buddy told me he knows a guy that said one of the oilers training staff told him that after a game last month Eberle was taking off his equipment in his stall, he took the tape off his shin pads, balled it up and threw it at the garbage. Now get this, he missed the garbage can and didnt get up to pick it up, just left it sitting there on the floor!! Can you believe it?? I thought ebs was a way better teammate than that!!!

          • The Soup Fascist

            See, and I heard that Ebs was throwing peels from orange slices that ‘Lil Nuge’s mom had cut up the night before.

            It was Joey Moss’s sister’s ex-boyfriend that told me – so it must be true!

          • YFC Prez

            I heard after the first period Taylor Hall sneezed. Not one oiler went upstairs to say ” bless you” after the fact.

            This can only mean he is a lousy teammate and a cancer in the dressing room.

            Ps. It was my dog walker that told me this, she also walks the dogs of the best friend of the second cousin of the usher who happend to witness said sneeze.

            So it must be true.

  • pkam

    I don’t think the Leafs plummeted down the standings because of coaching change.

    Every year in the last 4 years, they were in the playoff and started to lose badly at around the 40 game mark, whether they were under Ron Wilson or Randy Carlyle. By 55-60 game mark, they were out of the playoff. If 2012-13 was not shortened to 48 games due to the CBA negotiation, the Leafs would have missed the playoff that year too.

    I think the management was desperate and fired Carlyle to try to change this pattern this year but failed.

  • WTF2

    The worst two teams in Canada. What a record over the past decade. The losers time forgot, so sad.

    We all know who has been in charge for this same period. Your friend and mine, Kim Jung Lowe.

    Can someone please get to Katz and inform him the time has come to dump six-rings?