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Nothing says ‘there is a long way to go’ like seeing another team in the same position. Since the beginning of the 2013-14 season, the Buffalo Sabres have won 55 games—eight fewer than Edmonton’s 63 over the same time period. This is the nadir for both teams, or so we hope.



The Oilers, with a win tonight (and an Arizona loss), would be within three points of the final playoff spot in the Pacific. I am not going to tell you this is major, because honestly every team’s fan base has a right to be talking playoffs at this point in the season.

It is unique to Edmonton in recent Decembers though, and that is worth noting. Edmonton has found their goalie of the here and now, seem to be cobbling together a defense they can trust a little, and when all the forwards are back and performing at par, this could get interesting.

Todd McLellan managed to pull this team through the always frightening first quarter without losing sight of the playoffs. A hat tip is required, and I do so here. Interesting to note the goal differential between Calgary and Edmonton so far this season — looks like there are issues that remain in the southern city. Should we light a candle?


I thought it might be an idea to talk about young Leon Draisaitl. He is, as you know, a fabulous young player. tells us how fabulous in this chart showing the top scorers in 5×5 play per 60 minutes:

wowy leaders

Sorry if it is too small to read, you can also click here. Source.

Notice also Connor McDavid is No. 5 and I should let you know Taylor Hall is No. 27 on the list. The McDavid injury, added to the Eberle, Yakupov injuries, robbed the Oilers and their fans of the ‘full Monty’ experience and that is a shame.

That said, we should be getting the injured players back in the next few weeks and men like Jordan Eberle are starting to turn north offensively. There should be good times ahead, folks! I am not promising because lord know what is around the next corner for this team, but good arrows.


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Oilers lineup courtesy of

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Sabres lineup courtesy of


  • Brandon Davidson is likely to draw in and I wonder if Todd McLellan sits Mark Fayne. The veteran had a very poor night against Dallas and this might mean another game or two on the bench. The top pairing of Andrej Sekera and Darnell Nurse have been playing the jacks and kings non-stop as well, and their possession numbers have been going south. I suspect that pairing will become an issue in the future if this continues.
  • Oscar Klefbom has not been a regular at between-game practices, suggesting whatever ails him is real and bothersome. He has been playing well to my eye, but that is something to keep in mind.
  • Pouliot’s injury is a worry, Edmonton needs skill on the port side behind Taylor Hall. If the big winger is gone for long, I would not be surprised to see a deal.
  • I have long been an Anton Lander fan and hope things improve, but it is hard to make a case for his return next season based on his performance in the first third of the year. Needs to get going, especially offensively.
  • Justin Schultz’ return means more power-play time, and that means more angst over the lack of a big shot with the man advantage. What ever happened to using Brandon Davidson there? He has a bomb.


  • Die By The Blade: The Sabres have scored four or more goals in each of their last four
    games, something they haven’t done as a franchise since 2007. Edmonton
    has given up 80 goals this season, sixth worst in the league, so there’s
    a decent chance here for the Sabres to make it five in a row. Source



GAME DAY PREDICTION: Things start in a hurry, with Buffalo scoring twice in the first five minutes. Edmonton scores a late first-period goal to make things interesting heading to the second period. 

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Leon-Hall have their way in the second stanza, both men scoring goals and giving the home team the edge heading to the final period. 

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Three goals go in, but only two count—one for each side. The Oilers win again and high-flying (or high) fans begin talk of playoffs.


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    • Jay (not J)

      Time to begin making video montages of the NON-CALLS that we see so many of now….pressure the Refs because Hall generates 3-4+ penalties ,Nuge generates 2-3+ per game, Dre” 2-3+, McDavid 2-3+ , its time to use CSM to pressure the NHL.

      The Officials MUST face the reality that this is a Generational Roster and Cluster and the Refs cannot use their lattitude in interpetation as a weighted factor to help create 60 minutes of ARTIFICIAL NHL PARITY{I enjoyed that sentence } ….no way in hell you can “keep it close with the whistles” when you have an All-Star Team on the ice…..only if we the EveryFans allow it……whoever knows how should be posting videos of the non-calls.Its a numbers game so unless we are the 70s Bruins and are playing the Hanson Bros. the Oilers have to end up with SUBSTANTIALLY MORE PPs EVERY GAME CONSISTANTLY.

      In games like last night where a System like Buffalos sends players constantly slicing into the middle net-front areas actively transitioning smoothly in a cycle things can be handled 2 ways,,one like the Oilers executed with dominant body position and speed and compete negating those fly-bys whereby very good defensive transitioning was executed{KISS they know where to be now},or two you can LAY OUT 2-3 OF THEM EARLY AND HARD with clean devestating open-ice hits and discourage the focus or at least make it costly.If the Refs are following an unwritten Quota then it must be changed or we might as well let Nurse begin KOing guys like Pronger used to do and take our share of the “game quota” right there in the trenches…and if the 2 Ref System is removing to much natural margin for error one Refs is entitled to then it is making the game less exciting,video replay has removed natural margin for error around goals now….so lets LOSE A REF and bring baack some EMOTION to the game.

      Look how impactfull Gadzic was,what a huge difference it makes to go olde school,and it proves olde school still works in todays NHL where Refs fill quotas instead of call games,where NHL teams are all painted egg-shell white and flavored Vanilla by the Refs process and Franchise “brands” and personalities and identities and rivalries are not allowed….lol.

      If there is a “quota” agenda in play….well I wish to spend our Gypsy Dollars placing our penalties in the Violent Category.If we are taking them anyways…well then stay out of our zone and way from our net or somebodys gonna get hurt reeeeal baaaad!Because we want points NOW…all of them…and we will pay more than you to get them…we are desperate for points and desperate Teams do desperate things.So no one should blame us for being upset a little….lol….just KNOW WE ARE COMING.

      I see less sticks breaking now so adjustments have been made ….well done fellas…bout time.

  • Intermission

    Being from the Brantford area I can tell you that Walt is even more special than you guys think. Ever since I can remember he was always going to minor hockey tournaments, giving speeches, signing autographs.

    Great guy. Great family.

  • tileguy

    We will GLADLY spend some of our PK currency on a nice hit like that by Hall….we WILL SUPPORT THIS PUSH from one of our Vets….now work hard and kill this penalty for Taylor.

    Excellent job of DENYING them the middle.

          • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

            How wrong you are Jay{notJ}…I post as freely as ever….and if I am suppressed I move on, if you cant have fun why stick around …lol…I still toss out the odd Word-Anchor once in a while….lol….ON has evolved as the years have gone by things have improved and the strong-arm stuff is passe now.

            Today you can never have enough content…the bigger your audience the more diversity you require….is the cost of sucess….lol.

            You havent been around long enough….there was a time many years ago when even saying NHS or NewAge Hockey System or Intuitive Dynamic Analysis would have gotten me banned…lol…I used to try to teach people and sometimes layed out 2000+ words trying to make a point…lol…and the content wasnt appreciated , so no harm no foul…lol.We dont try to teach here anymore.Just chat.

            Now I have had a non-hockey Championship Professional Sports Team on speed-dial for 2 years …lol….and I am here for fun not validation.If you are ever interested there are some cool links to Pat Quinn implementing NHS IDM data on the ice verbatim with the Oilers,beofre the Kings/Hawks jumped on-board beginning in 2012.

            Jordan-McNugent-Hallkins is IMHO referring to the obvious fact the Oilers have been for 3 games accurately responding to real-time IDA and IDM tactical data-sets we are giving them ,as we expose opponents for them consistantly.Or we are getting “lucky” and nailing everything down pat by “fluke”…lol.

            6-7 years ago lots of people denied NHL Teams sourced out online sites for real-time data….but now we know they in fact do…we also know they recruit assets from online like everyone else does. It used to be a cat-fight to claim an NHL Team or any professional Sports Team was paying attention to any random online source….not so today.

            Its all entertainment value until someone likes it enough to put ring on it….lol.

          • Patrick Marleau's Eyebrows

            The fellas are working their tails off and are making the right small adjustments,the Coaches have slowed things down and leveled the spiral off.

            Now the men have something real to believe in….3 wins in a row defines forward progess…something to be proud of.

            No one abandoned ship and no one was tossed under the Bus…. now its time to bank POINTS and move on.

            Now Mac-L is getting a handle on what Rinse and Repeat means to an NHL Coach…he has now provided his men with a stable consistant KISS Process for FOUR games…with no hocus-pocus…he has been able to use accurate real time IDA and IDM online data integration to out read and react his opposition Coaches and then his Rosters cumulative offense has seeped though this optimally managed KISS Process enough to consistantly win him games by proxy.

            I could list a LOT of positive adjustments made this season….but why expose the areas of growth for the opposition?

            I will say…lol…that the Sabers DID BEGIN TO LOOK FRUSTRATED once the Oilers implemented accurate real-time IDA and IDM tactical data and the Buffalo System was crippled….lol.

            When do you think we should send Katz a bill?LOL…after say the 6th or 7th consecutive win in a row….when the pressure is jacked up and we are sniffing at a Playoff spot and they are hooked ?

    • bradleypi

      Nothing new about it. He’s always played like that. Just gets overlooked when the team is playing badly and people on here need someone to blame for a lack of actual physical players on this team.

      • M.O.O.G.

        I’m not sure what you have been taking but I don’t like it. Hall doesn’t face wash people ever. He hasn’t played this aggressive in his career ever. Fact. But either way I hope he keeps it up.

  • hagar

    The crazy people that think Jack Eichel has a chance at being as good as Mcdavid forget how important having soul is in hockey players.

    Gingers don’t have souls.

    • Jay (not J)

      Is Hall still a Beta? Hall now tied for 6th overall in points. But he is just a beta player…. ( he says sarcastically ) . Ed Hod in case you forgot you should still be sucking it!

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    Well done fellas, you KISSed it and were rewarded.

    The Oilers just have so many guys now who can impact the game if they just keep it simple , look at them taking turns,Nuge,Hall,Leon,Ebbs,Nurse,everyone in a role at the right times taking over sprinting then passing the baton….awsome game by Gadzics line as well.

  • Jay (not J)

    In a sick, twisted way, the McDavid injury might have been a weird blessing in disguise, as it gave Leon an opportunity. Imagine this team with McDavid yak and poliot back…3 pairs which could all be first line

  • Jay (not J)

    I vote NAS and Jordan Mc nugent hall kind get a shot writing for ON. NAS for his passion and doctor Jordan Mc nugent hall kins as he is the most respected poster

  • Jay (not J)

    If JK gets screwed on an assist every game he’s up I’m OK with that as long as it means he’s still making things happen. Great work on Eberle’s goal! Maybe it’s Lander who gets demoted (would he face waivers, would it matter?) when the team starts getting healthy.