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.

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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

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26th: Toronto        344 – 333 – 97       785

27th: Florida         326 – 328  – 118    770

28th: NYI               336 – 346 –  93     765

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29th: CBJ              335 – 351 – 86      756

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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.

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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.

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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:         

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  • Kevwan

    Lets say hypothetically that the Oilers finish 2cd in the lottery and the leafs 4th.

    The Leafs have no 2cd round pick but have Nashvilles first round pick this year.

    Oilers needs include Bernier , Phaneuf , Gardiner.
    The Leafs issues include Kadri who is an RFA.

    The Oilers have 2 second round picks and 2 3rd round picks as of today. Maybe a 3rd pick if Montreal can score.

    If there were ever two teams who are going in opposite direction I dont recall.

    When push comes to shove this June MacT needs to trade for at least one of his teams needs. The goalie market will be slim and it may only cost him money.To get a top 2 dman which Phaneuf is he will have to expend assets in either picks players or prospects.

    The Oilers need what Toronto has and would trade for the right deal. It may come down to the lottery and where the chips fall.

    • Craig1981

      I’m really regretting the Fasth trade. Its not a drastic trade, but with maybe 4 3rd round picks the Oilers would of been able to maybe really move up and get even some ‘bluer’ chip prospects

      #3

      #20

      #32

      #60

      #62!!!!

      #71

      #86

      #88

      In a very deep draft the I would argue the Oilers could of had the depth to walk away with one NHL ready (or near) pick and 3 very high end picks after using the 62,71,86,88 picks to move up with the 20, 32, 60, picks

      Its not drastic, but the Oilers will have less flexibly at the draft, for a player that has been zero benefit to them.

        • Craig1981

          Ya, that one makes me want to pull my hair out too.

          But i disagree…..having the depth to move a couple extra prospects next time there is a myers, boychuk, or leddy available is one of our only chances

          • vetinari

            With OKC becoming a strong feeder team, I’ve been wondering why MacT hasn’t used some of our farm depth to bring in some depth veterans for the Oilers?

  • pkam

    Both of these teams have been bad, but the Oilers occupy their own level of ineptitude. When was the last time the Leafs were out of the playoffs before Christmas?

    (Not a Leafs fan)

  • pkam

    “The negative for Edmonton is that despite the better effort, they still aren’t winning often enough.”

    This is what sucks. The guys are still trying (most nights) and are still losing. This is a great concern in my opinion. Next year could actually be worse than this year if you can believe it.

    Also, seems like yakupov was at the crashed ice to check things out, not get hounded by media. Leave the players alone.

  • pkam

    Honest to god who gives a s%#£ anymore? Both these teams are a joke and there really won’t be a winner tonight anyways. Until everyone gets through their head that the Oilers will never make the playoffs with our incompetent management team in place than nothing will ever chance in Edmonton.

    I found a nail on the floor, I think I’ll poke my eye with it, that will be more fun than watching this garbage tonight.

  • pkam

    2 fan bases each cheering for there team to lose. How could anyone possibly miss such an amazing match up? The most intriguing part of this game is the fact that the team 12 points lower in the standings is the one who’s been rebuilding for half a decade. F U Katz. You’re a garbage owner with no respect or pride for this organization. I don’t even hate Lowe anymore, Katz is the jock sniffer unwilling to do anything about it.

    Atleast I found the flames

  • Wax Man Riley

    I play NHL’15 on PS4, and when I play online, I always use the Oilers.

    It is amazing how much it is actually like watching the games. The team is undersized, gets pushed off the puck incredibly easy, can’t hit or check, and almost (more than??) half of the roster is made up of AHL players. There are only 2 lines that can score, and even then, only Nuge’s line is a constant threat, and if that line is shut down, it is that much harder to score (Hamilton is on the POWER PLAY??).

    You have to play a positionally perfect game.

    I long to have a good team. For the fans. For the city. For Nuge and Ebs. For my online gaming enjoyment.

  • The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33

    I thought the oilers were gonna get blown out tonight. Looks like I was wrong. Guess we’re in for an epic collapse instead. Been an oiler fan for too long to think they still won’t find a way to lose this game

  • vetinari

    We’re up 4-0 in the first, so why am I still nervous about whether we can put our foot down on their necks and close out the game? That being said, that’s the happiest I’ve seen the Oilers in about 60 games.

  • Dirtski

    4-0 ten minutes into the game??
    7pp goals in last 7 period?? – PP is ripping it up!?!
    4 goals on 7 shots??
    This is like we finally get to play against the eakin Oilers!!

  • YFC Prez

    I have a hard time understanding drew sometimes but what I gathered he just said about Hall is the oilers have shut him down for the remainder of the season and the IIHF.

    If that’s the case and if he’s healthy that’s complete BS. Hall shouldn’t be benched to give the oilers a better shot at McDavid. That’s the kind of garbage that makes your good players request to be dealt.

    That being said I still don’t understand Drew. I may have taken that out of context.

  • YFC Prez

    Whoa… we’re the worst by a lot. Seriously. Columbus is 29th and their nearly .500 if you give them their Bettman point’s for OT losses. Edmonton is a long way back from there.

    Man, I wish we could have the success that Columbus has had. It must feel amazing to be 29th.

  • S cottV

    Sometimes you have to take a chance (bold move) and take advantage of unusual circumstances where other teams will part with top players.

    Leafs probably need to move Phaneuf – there best d man and a legit top pairing guy.

    Phaneuf has probably had enough of the Toronto circus and being a local product – maybe he wouldn’t mind playing back home, as part of a fresh start.

    Unless MacT has a better first pairing d man up his sleeve, he would do well to swing a deal for Phaneuf.

      • S cottV

        Agreed – that might be a critical part of the deal, for MacT to factor in.

        Phaneuf has warts – no question, but so do a lot of players and we have to remember that Edmonton and the Oilers are among the least preferred destinations for ufa’s and players with no trade contracts.

        There are better first rotation d men, but they are not likely to be coming here.

        The Oilers desperately need a big minutes first rotation d man, along the lines of a Phaneuf – or we can all forget about the playoffs for the foreseeable future – like the next 3 or 4 seasons.

        Unless this is resolved – forget it – no playoffs. You can’t win consistently without his kind of presence in the back end.

        A local kid who grew up in Edmonton, as an Oiler fan – whose family is still here – might just be up for the challenge of taking the club to the next level. To the point where – he might just make some mature adjustments to his demeanor and play, toward the huge benefit of the Oilers.

        He would have one hell of chance to shut up a whole lot of naysayers and establish the kind of legacy to his career, that I am sure he would prefer to possess.

        Would make for much more entertaining – Battles of Alberta.

  • Kevwan

    I hope the Oilers go nowhere near Phaneuf and it has nothing to do with the locker room.

    When Dion was in his early years in Calgary he was very good. He moved the puck quickly and made simple plays, he hit everything in sight and he hammered away from the point on the PP.

    Now he over handles the puck causing turnovers and is way less physical. His skating seems to have fallen off also. He has been regressing for at least 5 years.

    Sure he’s probably better than a couple of the Oilers D. So what – Ference and Nikitin are horrible. There are several D I would target before Phaneuf.