GDB 21.0 Wrap Up: Oilers @ Capitals


Moral victories don’t pay the bills. Final Score: 1-0 Capitals.

The last time the Oilers played the Capitals it wasn’t really much of a game. The Caps were so clearly the better team that you almost wondered how they were even playing in the same league — and that was WITH Connor McDavid in the lineup. Back in October, the Oilers made too many mistakes and the Capitals torched them to a 7-4 loss. What scared me was that somehow tonight’s lineup featured an even younger defensive six than what they had at Rexall Place.

If the Oilers were going to have any chance at winning this game they were going to have to play a damned good road game. Early on, it looked like they just may do that. Tonight was another night where the Oilers actually started the game like they were expecting to play hockey, a strange sight around here. In years past, the Oilers having a good start start was about as common as a lunar eclipse. I don’t know if I’ve been drinking more than normal, but I think it’s actually becoming a trend! Not only were the Oilers once again able to have a great start, they were actually able to maintain their level of play throughout the majority of the night.  

Tonight was the first game all year where the Oilers went into the third period in a scoreless tie. If they were going to win they were going to have to find a way to beat Holtby and they were going to have to limit the Capitals offensive zone time. Although the Oilers did play well in the third period they just couldn’t beat Braden Holtby. The chances were there, but the goals didn’t follow. At the end of the day Holtby really is the story of this game. As much as I know you guys don’t want to hear it the Oilers deserved better than what they got. They should have won this game. 

We wrap.



  • Darnell Nurse just keeps getting better and it’s hard not to get excited to watch him develop. I said it on the podcast (below) and I’ll say it here too: if Garth Snow wants Darnell Nurse as part of the Hamonic deal then I’d want Chiarelli to do nothing. This guy is a stud.
  • The Oilers had another really good start. The Capitals are a solid hockey team and the Oilers carried the play through the first 20 minutes. The Oilers outshot the Caps 13-7 in the first period.
  • It was good to see Klefbom come back after taking the stick to the face. 
  • It’s a sad day when outshooting teams is an actual highlight. Oilers outshot the Capitals 33-30.
  • Anders Nilsson looked solid tonight, and he gave the team a chance to win. With the way Nilsson seems to have taken hold of the net I wonder when the next time Talbot will see the crease. Nilsson finished the night with 29 saves and a .967 save%.
  • The penalty kill was great again tonight and killed off all three Capital chances. 
  • At least we won the Corsi? (54/43 according to War-on-Ice)


Screen Shot 2015-11-23 at 2.10.39 PM

  • Day 20 without Connor McDavid. It’s only been 20 days… seriously. 
  • I almost missed the start of the game due to this stupid snow that’s happening right now. I know that has nothing to do with the game but I felt it was worth mentioning.
  • The Oilers needed their power play to score on the four minute advantage and they couldn’t get it done. The Oilers went 0/3 on the power play in a night where they desperately needed it to score. 
  • It didn’t help that those four minutes came as a result of Oscar Klefbom taking a stick to the face and so he couldn’t man the point. Klefbom did return to the game later, and he was very lucky. Backstrom’s stick was basically on his eyeball. 
  • How annoying was Holtby on that four-man-advantage in the second period? Guy looked like Dominic Hasek out there. Either that or the Oilers were shooting directly at him (also possible). 
  • Actually, I hate Braden Holtby. 
  • How many one goal losses have we seen this season (the answer is nine)? The Oilers have to find a way to win some of these. The Oilers deserved to win this game and it’s annoying that they did not. 
  • Anyone have a goat we can sacrifice? I didn’t want it to come to this. 


13:28 WSH Dmitry Orlov (2) Slapshot – ASST: Tom Wilson (5), Brooks Laich (2) 1 – 0 WSH


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Every Monday we release a new episode of the North x NorthGretz podcast where we talk about what’s happening around the Nation, behind the scenes at Nation HQ, and the adventures of Chris the Intern. In Episode 4 the boys take a look at the Oilers goaltending controversy, Leon Draisaitl’s hotness, and Chris the Intern even offers Jeanshorts some dating advice.  

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  • Soiled Trousers

    I know the Oil are once again sitting all alone in 30th but it is such a different experience watching the team over the last few weeks. For the last 7 or so seasons, I would leave Rexall or turn the TV off in a state of disgust for having wasted my time and money.

    Recently, I feel like every game is winnable and there is both a noticeable effort put forth and the semblance of some team systems. Reverse some bad puck luck, some blown and bad luck calls and the record wouldn’t look so bad.

    Dare I say they are visually better?

    Brighter days are coming.

  • Mooseroni

    I’m frustrated at the record. It does not reflect how this team is playing. I haven’t seen this team play this well consistently for years. For some reason they aren’t getting rewarded with wins. We can all see this.

    The boys are really looking and playing well, the results will come but it’s like grinding teeth right now. Mcdavid might have been a difference maker in this type of game.

    • Soiled Trousers

      He was really visible on the forecheck and backcheck tonight. Looked like Bergeron.

      Too bad Ebs tripped over his own feet when a broken up breakout pass landed right on his stick in the slot.

  • S cottV

    Would have to agree that for the money earned in that game, Eberle provided the least value.

    He really does look to be a non factor.

    Some think he can return a quality d man?


  • S cottV

    Would have to agree that for the money earned in that game, Eberle provided the least value.

    He really does look to be a non factor.

    Some think he can return a quality d man?


  • Soiled Trousers

    Ten years and a thousand failed rebuilds later and the Oilers are still last. Enough of this tough schedule hot goalie garbage. Winners win and losers make excuses. CrackT and Kblowe should be fired on principle for making this team the joke of the league. What makes me even madder is that greedy dirt bag Katz keeps rolling in the cash because people still pay to watch this gong show.

    • Devolution

      Gong show? Have you been watching these games? The record would indicate a gong show but man are they playing well. They just can’t get over the last hump. As long as they keep playing like they are the wins will come. Knit row is a must win, they have to beat Carolina.

  • Van isl Oiler

    Snow? What’s Snow? Isn’t that the guy trying to trade Hamonic for McDavid? Or maybe it’s just an Alberta thing…maybe messier could give me a call and tell me about it.

  • Van isl Oiler

    What irritates me the most about these losses is that if Mcdavid was in the line up I’m almost certain we would have atleast 3-4 more wins. They are so much better then what their record is and if we had our full line up the results would be there.

    • Serious Gord

      So all these years of rebuild and high draft picks and this teams success hinges on one 18 year old with 12 games under his belt? This is not a dig at Connor, he is awesome, just silly that any and all team success should rely on him.

      • Dwayne Roloson 35

        It doesn’t all fall on MCDavid and its not silly to rely on a generational talent to make your team better. We would have a better record with him in the lineup. He’s just that good.

        2 wins in 8 games since McDavid went down. We all know the problem the oilers have. We all know we can’t win without fixing that problem.

        This still isn’t the year. I still think we will pass some teams in the standings during the next 61 games.

        • hagar

          No doubt mcdavid could have been the tipping point to save a couple losses, but we shouldn’t be worse this year without him than last.

          If we require Connor to get out of last place, then Connor isn’t the answer plain and simple.

  • Serious Gord

    Kind of boring game to watch but in a good way.

    The oil seem to be buying into the coaching – playing a pretty disciplined and effective defensive game. The caps really didn’t get a lot of scoring chances and needed a perfect shot to get the goal and the win.

    That noted the offense was inept and looked out of sync. Did anyone else notice with the goalie pulled hall tried to carry the puck into the wash zone against four defenders rather than chip and chase? I wouldn’t mind once or twice but he seems to do it so often.

    Best looking dead last team in a generation or more.

    • stonedtodeath61

      I kinda thought that Holtby made a good save but reading this makes me think Gryba buried one in Holtby’s chest or whiffed. Must have been seeing things

  • Soiled Trousers

    Why is our club so firmly committed to losing ? We are not getting better than anyone . Hopefully getting McDavid back will at least make rest of year a little more tolerable .

    • hagar

      They are at 80-85 percent the last ten games, and by my eye 98 percent this game..

      It’s just not enough.

      Our best performances are competitive losses against good teams.

      Hats off to Todd for what he is doing with what he has.. you would need to be blind to not notice the difference.

      I saw a look in OV’s face tonight that made me feel good about the way the team played. He honestly had a look like he couldn’t beat up his little brother.

      It was close, but not enough.

      It just isn’t there, but it is going in the right direction.

  • hagar

    The team isn’t there, but the more important “try” factor is coming along boys and girl.

    The “free” mod is to try and play a complete game. We can deal with the roster issues after. I have seen a complete compete emerging, and that makes me happy.

    Not competing all the time has been the major developmental problem no matter who we employ.

  • Devolution

    Holtby was good, but sometimes you just don’t put chances away. It was more about that than Holtby in my opinion.
    Say they were playing a generic average goalie or imagine Holtby was actually having an average to sub average night. All the same stuff could have happened, and not only that, it’s fairly likely it could have. Say it’s 50/50 that teams score on a decent chance any time they get a decent scoring chance. If the Oilers got five pretty darned good chances to score in the game, it’s like flipping a coin 5 times and getting the same side for all five. Less unlikely than it seems. I’m generalizing the numbers, but flip a coin like 30 times – that’s not very many times – you’ll likely get e stretch of 5. Every time you flip the coin the chance does not go up that you’ll flip the one that you keep not flipping every time you – in this case don’t score on your roughly 50/50 chance.

    • hagar

      The Gryba shot to the glove followed by a Patric Roy flair was hilarious, but beyond that puck to glove no reflex save, I am not sure what you mean?

      The biggest and most important job for a goalie is to be in the position that they don’t need to technically “reflex for the save.”. They are supposed to be at the appropriate position to make a shot near impossible to go in, or read a pass, and be standing there like a pile of bricks in the right spot while the shot is released.

      No goalie can make a react save from a one timer ten feet in front of him. These guys know how to place themselves to create the highest odds of the puck hitting them.

      Jonathan quick slides around like when we play air hockey. He follows the puck, and positions himself as the puck moves around the ice to get in the way of it going into the net. Holtby wasn’t having a fluke night… he was keeping his team in the game like all stud teams challenging for the cup require.

      • Heschultzhescores

        All of that is about ascribing certain abilities to the goalie. Saying he’s a reason for a win or no goals being scored is an after the fact narrative that we tend to jump to because it makes sense on the surface. “Well, no goals went in, and he was in the net blocking them, so it mus have been him playing great”. To an extent, yes, of course. But if he was just playing average, he might also have stopped all those shots, and then we can’t say he was really good in this game. We’re using the fact that no goals went in to arrive at the conclusion that he was really good. There could be other factors, chiefly that its very possible that the Oilers might also not have scored on an average goalie, so we can’t say it was Holtby’s great performance. In a game there are so few good scoring chances, it’s possible a team just hits posts, fans on the shot, or shoots it into the keeper every time. Not unlikely.

        The argument that Holtby was good is a modus ponens (a type of logical argument):
        1.”If the Oilers don’t score, Holtby has had a good game.”
        2. “The Oilers didn’t score, therefore Holtby has had a good game.”

        That’s a proper modus ponens, but I don’t think the premise is true, so it would not be a “sound”
        argument. I don’t believe 1.

    • Heschultzhescores

      Your Processes Tactical Manager must be able to find ways around opponent Goalies strengths and also around the Opponents System strengths and or structures.

      The Oiler Goalie Coach has not been properly utilised within the realm of Tactical valuating and should likely remain out of the loop because Mac-L and JW are finding cracks in their original Template and they dont need more volume they currently need less.

      Its a complicated constellation of micro-dynamics we discuss here,but suffice to say you need a Program driven Process projected Tactical Add-On AND you also need to accurately define System catalysed opportunities from individually catalysed or non-System generated opportunities.Then you can begin to make your Process fluid enough to find its way around different NHL Goalies .

  • Devolution

    Drai fell back to second in the PPG scoring lead. He will have to light it up in Carolina if he wants the lead back. I only bring it up because the PPG scoring race was mentioned approximately 5,495,937 times before the game. Y’all jinxed him.

  • Devolution

    I only watched the third period but I was very impressed. Oilers not running around like a clown show in the defensive end. Taking possession, moving the puck into the neutral zone.

    No blaming Nielsen on the goal, it was a rocket and he stopped many others.

    Sometimes the other team just wins. I really think the team is moving in the right direction. We won’t get our wish for meaningful March hockey, but I think most of us recognize it is getting better, despite the standings.

    Next four games will be interesting to watch.

  • Simmerdown

    I love our power play……….so much perimeter passing and no shooting. To me the difference was guys on our team love to pass but no one is trying to put it to the net……….you know the greasy goal type.

    Any ways I was wondering when the last time we got a lucky bounce/goal? The type that bounces off a few players and finds it’s way to the net? Can’t remember any this year?

    On a more positive note Davidson looks like a real defenceman……..he has a much more solid game all around than Griffin right now.

    • TheBirdOfAnger

      The Oilers require an NHS TSP…or a…NewAge Hockey System Tactical Shooting Program.

      This is quite clear.

      Renneys and Kruegers Oilers provided evidence of the TSPs impacts,as reflected in the Teams shooting %,and only a handfull of guys were using it then.

      The Kings provided evidence of the TSPs epic impacts when integrated into the Process by EveryMan on the Roster in 2012…and the Hawks System and Roster took it up a notch in 2013-14.The Flames are dabbeling now as well,last year they were dialed right in,but …lol…someone submarined and exposed their System during the Playoffs and they are now in re-set mode. lol.

      The Oilers need a Plug-and-Play Tactical Management Program it add “finish” to their process…..and the NHS TSP was created to do exactly that.

      The Possesion/Transition/Shot process is being managed well enough to have shown us consistant volume of high% opportunities so the System or Process is functioning well enough,what the Oilers need now is ADDED VALUE ..not artificially contrived VOLUME from Corgi-chasing….the Oilers Process is providing enough properly catalysed System driven opportunities and should NOT be changed…they just need to refine the sugar a little more…thats all.

      The Oilers need Program driven Process endorsed and sympthetic “habits” to be manifested Roster-wide ASAP…no big deal…a Plug-and-Play Tune-up not major surgery.

  • Zamboni Driver

    If you are STILL a Yak-lover, you are the ultimate in Oilers-coloured glasses. Dude is a bust – a “#1 overall draft pick with a wicked one-timah” never…EVER…makes that ridiculous play on a two-on-zero. If he’s supposed to be good at anything (and he’s so not good at anything) it’s shooting.

    Probably playing against Ovie was the problem.

    Reminds me of the first game Yakupov played against Wash. Edmonton media were incredulous that Alexander effin’ Ovechin had next to no idea who Yakupov was. “I don’t watch junior.”

    That was the Edmonton-media-est event ever.

    Oh btw, if you don’t like Holtby, you don’t like hockey. He’s fantastic AND from Alberta. Dude has the Alberta flag on his mask for chrissakes.

  • stonedtodeath61

    Losing sucks but it is becoming increasingly clear where this is headed, and that is someplace very good. The young defence was excellent against a powerhouse offence and the kids on the top two lines out-played the Caps’ top guns. But Jesus, I could really use some wins, or some more Bettman points. If they keep playing like this the worm is going to turn. Soon. McLellan has almost got them there. I cannot believe how well Davidson is playing and what can anybody say about Hall and LD. When Connor gets back it’s going to be like a jail break.

  • hagar

    The Oilers first period efforts lately look like what we used to only see after a players only meeting. I think the Oilers are playing better than their record definitely BUT if a Flames fan tried to tell us their team was better than their record we’d say “Riiiiight sure you are… the point totals are a lie you guys are reeeeeally good.”