GDB 36.0: CRAZY TALK

The last time Edmonton Oilers fans could talk playoffs without sounding like lunatics? 2006. Oh sure, there was that time Steve Tambellini added Ales Kotalik in a bizarre flurry of deadline deals, but the last time the Oilers were really in the conversation, Craig MacTavish didn’t feel there was much difference between Ty Conklin and Jussi Markkanen. Today—tonight—we are on the edge of a dream.

CURRENT STANDINGS

standings

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The Oilers have played more games than any team but Vancouver, but they have also played a ton of games against difficult opposition. Make no mistake—they are in this race. A win tonight places Edmonton one point behind Vancouver (although Arizona also plays tonight) for the final playoff position.

The win before the break was important, but the goal differential also tells us this team is right in there and is worth following into January. The last time we could say that? I do not recall, but can say not having to write draft articles on New Year’s Eve is a welcome result for this contributor.

LAST 10 GAMES, OILERS

  1. Taylor Hall 10, 6-8-14 (Chance is cashing at a tremendous rate)
  2. Leon Draisaitl 10, 1-11-12 (Brilliant season from a very valuable young player)
  3. Ted Purcell 10, 4-6-10 (Deadline value leaping, maybe the sign him instead?)
  4. Jordan Eberle 10, 5-3-8 (Finding the range now)
  5. RNH 10, 2-4-6 (Has not played well in recent games, points are there though)
  6. Lauri Korpikoski 10, 3-1-4 (Improved play of late)
  7. Matt Hendricks 10, 1-2-3 (Rugged checker chips in on offense)
  8. Mark Letestu 10, 1-2-3 (Checking C comes in handy)
  9. Justin Schultz 10, 1-2-3 (A tough first half, scored a nice goal the other night)
  10. Andrej Sekera 10, 2-1-3 (Edmonton’s best veteran D)
  11. Jujhar Khaira 7, 0-2-2 (I have been impressed with his play)
  12. Darnell Nurse 10, 1-1-2 (Top pairing as a rookie. He is a perfect fit for Edmonton)
  13. Iiro Pakarinen 10, 0-2-2 (Earning his roster spot, how long will he stay?)
  14. Brandon Davidson 7, 0-1-1 (Oilers miss his calm play)
  15. Luke Gazdic 10, 1-0-1 (One fight in 10 games, he is playing well)
  16. Eric Gryba 10, 0-1-1 (Big man gives Edmonton size and strength)
  17. Oscar Klefbom 5, 0-1-1 (Wow, do they miss him)
  18. Anton Lander 10, 0-1-1 (Makes himself useful in many ways, needs a goal)
  19. Nikita Nikitin 5,0-1-1 (Trying to create trade value)
  20. Mark Fayne 3, 0-0-0 (The coach doesn’t trust him. That is a bad way)
  21. Rob Klinkhammer 1, 0-0-0 (It has been a tough season for injuries)
  22. Benoit Pouliot 2, 0-0-0 (Just back, trying to get his timing)
  23. Cam Talbot 3, 2.33 .947 (He is on fire)
  24. Anders Nilsson 7, 2.94 ,.908 (Five wins, some of them mammoth)

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PROJECTED LINEUPS…

Taylor Hall 
Taylor Hall
Leon Draisaitl 
Leon Draisaitl
Teddy Purcell 
Teddy Purcell
Benoit Pouliot 
Benoit Pouliot
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
Jordan Eberle 
Jordan Eberle
Matt Hendricks 
Matt Hendricks
Mark Letestu 
Mark Letestu
Lauri Korpikoski 
Lauri Korpikoski
Luke Gazdic 
Luke Gazdic
Anton Lander 
Anton Lander
Iiro Pakarinen 
Iiro Pakarinen

Oilers lineup courtesy of DailyFaceoff.com

Canucks lineup courtesy of DailyFaceoff.com

QUICK HITS

  • The goaltending looks strong, now the Oilers need to fix that defense. Oscar Klefbom and Brandon Davidson being unavailable is putting too much pressure on the blue. It should be noted the expensive defensemen are all healthy.
  • Connor McDavid’s return remains both top of mind and without a firm date. The Oilers are a different team these days in terms of passing along information, but all reports have him progressing very well. That is the best news of all, patience is something I continue to work on.
  • This week is massive for Edmonton. Games against the Pacific Division and by next Saturday night we will know if draft talk will be necessary for January. Cross your fingers.
  • I hope we begin to see some recognition for Taylor Hall’s season from the national media. Hall’s 80-point performance a couple of years ago was not recognized with a post-season All-Star nod, mostly because some of the professional writers voted for Alexander Ovechkin at left and right wings. That is a shameful thing, but even more galling is the slow recognition of another stunning year by No. 4 from the Oilers. He is not in a major market, but surely people see his point total and recognize his talent. I sincerely hope the writers get it right this time, that slap in the face a couple of years ago was not just for Hall, but also the fan base. I hope the writers recognize they don’t get read, and don’t have jobs, without the fans. Perhaps some of those writers have been too long at the fair.

WHAT THEY ARE SAYING

From CanucksArmy.com

The last time we saw the Canucks, they put on a valiant effort and won. If they can stay out of the box for I dunno, less than a period or so, there just might be a win in the cards. I wouldn’t be surprised though to see a Nugent-Hopkins show either. Oilers in OT…again.

GAME DAY PREDICTION

GDB36.0

GAME DAY PREDICTION: Both goalies are sharper than the shooters off the hop, although Vancouver gets a first-period goal and the commentators begin to talk about the Canucks in the playoffs. 

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OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Edmonton roars back in the second period, leaving Vancouver’s defense breathless and toothless. 2-1 Oilers after two, Hall and Pouliot with the markers. 

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Canucks have a push of their own in the third period, scoring three times as Edmonton gets itself into penalty trouble. Two late goals—both with the net empty—give the Oilers a point going into OT. Early in overtime, after stopping a two-on-none breakaway, Cam Talbot shoots the puck to center, Taylor Hall corrals it, and scores from just above the circle with a brilliant slapper. 5-4 Edmonton in a thriller.

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Screen Shot 2015-12-26 at 9.05.16 AM

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  • sportsjunkie007

    As much as I want to see McDavid back, don’t rush him in the least, Oilers! I’m looking forward to seeing #97 lead us for the next 20 seasons. Not interested in risking that for this one season.

        • bradleypi

          Ya. Because the oilers have been an offensive juggernaut the past 3 years….. what a surprise that an oilers dman has low goal totals. Classic oilersnation. I didn’t know that we are judging defenceman by how many goals they score around here now. You guys are relentless in your quest to pin the last few years of losing on jultz. Too funny.

          • Reg Dunlop

            Actually a player always has to responsible for his play. Bradleypi has become the Schultz apologists in this sight in a similar fashion to a good number of Yak apologists. In the case of Yak, his less than stellar performance has been due to either Eakins hated him, isn’t playing with the proper line mates, everyone hate him because he is Russian or some other irrelevant falacy. For both players they are getting to the point where they need to produce consistent performances that help the team win as the current management does have the emotional attachment to players as the previous one did.

          • bradleypi

            If I didnt know better I would say someone is gunning for an NHL record for futility in terms of missing the Playoffs.I guess some people will do anything to remain on the record….lol.

            I feel that both Coaches Head and Asst. are getting to the point where they need to produce consistant evidence of performances that help the team win,I count the 8 most recent games as the only ones where they have provided a consistant impact with the Players on the ice .

            It is time we see some evidence of fair and reasonable returns on our investments in management.Never mind Yak and JS,the process makes the Players,they dont answer for Coaching challenges and we have no consisant evidence of optimal Coaching yet.

            We see a 6 game win streak which has no reasonable explanation in terms of process evolution ,it came out of the dark and went right back into it, therefore we can have no reasonable expectation of repeatability….and without the 6 wins we are nearly a sub-Eakins team.

            Lose 2 more and we have lost what maybe 5 of 6.Win 2 more and we have a 3 game streak and reason to believe.

            One thing is sure,a lot of damning evidence is rolling in consistantly on every level,lose 4-5 games in a row here and dump the season and someone will seriously have to explain why the win streak was an anomoly and not the norm.

            We have seen Players hung out to dry recently.

            A smarter Eakins stands up and takes the bullet for the Teams failures himself and relies on his Rookie Mulligan to float him….nope….vanity kicks in fueled by poisoned advanced stats supports convincing him he has a coat of Kryptonite armor on and he blames the Players lack of basic defensive understanding then loses it completely.Dallas had an EASY OUT in absorbing the fan pressure and ownership pressure and COULD HAVE been a winning Coach with his elite d-zone exit strategy. From what I got out of it Ownership said the numbers killed Dallas…just to many losses….lol…how bloody ironic huh?When it was advanced stats a different kind of number doing a real number on both Dallas AND the Oilers working both sides of the fence …lol….I hear Dellow is still around…lol.

            You try to tell me Mac-L isnt potentially in his same situation if we lose a few more in a row now?

            It is to the Coaches I look for some expectations of future sucesses,it is to the Leaders I look for Leadership.

          • S cottV

            Lol…yup…NewAgeSys has retired, now we will roll as JAFO,did you ever see the movie Blue Thunder ?…lol.

            I am now Just Another F-ck–g Observer….JAFO…lol.

            The game tonight is boring as hell.

            The most interesting thing so far was watching a Sedin doing groin stretches on the ice and standing on the bench looking concerned.

            Sloppy line changes,players extending shifts on their own accord,an embarrasing PP which belongs on an AHL Team and not Nelsons.No urgeny,no focus,no continuity,instinctive smoothness,no coherance,one wonders exactly how an NHL Crew could come up with such pathetic PP , I thought the Oilers imported a PP Specialist from San Jose?WTF?

            In fact just what the heel ARE they doing on that PP? Has someone been spiking the Office Coffee Urns with something little stronger than Bold?

            I love the Canucks new tactic…..the bluff charge….lol….all game long they have been burning in and forcing a decision by the puck carrier then they are pulling up and ….lol….not hitting anyone at all.Pathetic to not see Oilers challenging that scare-tactic.

            The Nucks hustle but dont hit….lol…and the Oilers panic and twitch like mice in a trap making rushed decisions….lol.

            Niki N. is having heck of a night,no?

            Ebbs is looking like he has forgotten how to shoot the puck.

            The word overpass comes to mind,the cycle is not generating anything,just more passes….lol….nice crisp accurate passes for sure….lol.Maybe to many guys are so busy getting into Cycling position they dont have time to get into shooting positions which might generate some goals….lol….those passes sure are looking sharp though.

            Dont you usually wrap pucks around on rookie Goalies?Ryan Smyth used to.

            The Nucks Tender is sure looking calm and collected tonight….no pressure I gues….lol.

            Look out here comes the Oilers PP again….can they hold the Nucks off the board…lol.

          • D-Unit

            While not a perfect stat, his career -63 doesn’t say a lot about his defensive abilities.
            Wouldn’t say everyone is trying to pin the losing on Jultz. If you read the comments about anyone other than Jultz,you would know Lowe, MacT, Eakins, Tambellini…are all on that list.
            The way you relentlessly defend Schultz, I am starting to think he is paying you to defend him on the internet, and possibly you have never seen him play.

          • bradleypi

            Lol. Classic oilersnation. I don’t miss a game bro. Might be tipsy for most but I watch em! The oilers have lots of problems and a 24 year old defenceman ain’t one! That’s for sure!

          • Soiled Trousers

            When I read your comments I can almost picture you in the double wide with your mom’s karaoke machine just letting it rip. “I want to know what love is. I want Jultz to show me!” Never let the dream die bro.

      • R U Kidding Me!

        I would take Gryba on the first pairing over Schultz if I’m looking to win games.

        Gryba -1 through 31 games compared to Schultz at -7 in 21 games. As for toughness Gryba 66 hits, Jultz 13.

        • bradleypi

          Lol. Remember the good Ole days when I used to bring up petry and schultz +/- and got blasted and told that +/- doesn’t mean anything. Classic oilersnation. Schultz will turn those numbers around. Especially if he’s playing with the type of players he should be playing with. SKILL PLAYERS. Schultz playing with 4th liners is a waste. Because in case you haven’t noticed in the past 3 years, Schultz is more of a playmaker than goal scorer. But I only see that because I actually watch games…..

      • JT

        I’d take a 50% Brandon Davidson over Schulz in that pairing

        Im loving watching those 100 best plays on sports-net with the Oilers – Schulz on the ice for about 90 % those goals…. Weak

      • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

        Bradley get your head out of your ass (I don’t care about getting banned), ANYONE should be in the first pairing but Schultz.
        You keep defending him, it’s getting old.

      • Himynameistaylor

        I know you’re a moron but Schultz has been out scored by players in the last 3 seasons who aren’t even in the NHL anymore. John Scott had half as many goals playing in 38 games as opposed to Jultz’s 81.
        Idk if that’s enough for you? Are you from BC and are just a homeboy or are you actually convinced Schultz belongs on the ice in a top 4 role?

        Christ.

  • Jay (not J)

    Love the weak defeated comments from CA. Let’s hope the poor self loathing sap is right minus the loser point. They already have a season’s worth of them propping up their totals.

    • Van isl Oiler

      This is why the I just cannot cheer for the Canucks, not even when they were in the finals in 2010 against Boston. Most pessimistic fan base EVER! On the bandwagon, off the bandwagon, on the band wagon, off the bandwagon. Oh, and those friggin green dudes…that’s just stupid. I’ve had a lot to sulk about as an Oiler fan for the past decade, but I’m still here. I’m still proud and I’m never gonna abandon my team ..NEVER EVER!! Unless Steve Tambellini is ever made GM again.

      • Delete

        Actually he’s exactly what we’ll need once McDavid, Draisaitl and Nurse start getting paid. We won’t have room for 6million dollar wingers anymore… Young skill guys on entry level deals is exactly what we’ll need

        Not to mention, we could have also grabbed Brandon Carlo with the other pick. A 6’5 right hand shot Dman… Kinda sounds like somthing else we need

        Barzal & Carlo > Reinhart

      • fran huckzky

        Except he skates well. That takes the Gagner comp out.

        Still don’t hate or love the trade. Wait and see. Reacting and judging The Trade based on a world junior appearance and playing in the AHL is pointless based on sample size. Our dman will still need to get more time in the bigs this year and log some minutes, if he doesn’t, then I’ll worry.

    • fran huckzky

      What does Barzel have to do with Oilers. They may not have picked him and he might be an NHL dud. I think this dead horse has been beaten enuff and it’s time to move on.

      • bradleypi

        Or they could have picked him and he might be an NHL star. Part of the fun of being an NHL fan is judging trades, analyzing and guessing players futures and complaining when your team is the worst team for a decade.

        Fun part about trades are finding out wether it was a good or bad deal. I’ll be following it for a long time…

    • Van isl Oiler

      WJC is not even close to the same as the nhl. ps – where are you gonna play barzal? Honestly, way more room for improvement on the blueline then up the middle right now.

  • james_dean

    Lets give Schultz a break here fellas. If you were born in BC you would understand. Its a live and let live easy pace out there.

    Nobody driving a 50k $ diesel driving down the road stressed to the max ready to kill somebody.

    Still love ‘Berta tho

    Reinhart 》Barzal

  • james_dean

    I believe T Hickey had a successful world junior tourney years ago… howd that turn out?

    Sucessful being wearing a neck guard to hide the marks after a “win” when the party moved to the hotel room

  • Van isl Oiler

    Allan…….sometimes you talk Crazy Talk, mumbo jumbo, monkey on your back, talk……….but your taste in music, is second to none!

    You are absolutely correct that Hall is not been given the respect deserved especially by the Eastern Media. Very similar to Messier when Gretzky was along side. I hope that playing with Connor McDavid does not blind people to how important Hall is to this team!

    How lucky are we to have both on our team!

  • fran huckzky

    Looking at the ‘Nucks line up tonight. It would appear that RNH may get a match up against a 19 year old rookie. It would be nice if he could take advantage of this.

  • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

    If the Oil want to beat the nucks they need to come ready to play both ends of the ice and have no passengers. RNH and Eberle are two players I worry about when it comes to buying in and showing up. We’ll see which Oiler team shows up tonight.

    My definite game day prediction set in stone: the team with the most goals will win for sure.

    Connor McD is a better player when sitting in the press box than half of this forward core. That has to change.

  • Soiled Trousers

    Beating the Canucks and Flames EVERY game has been on my Christmas list AND my bucket list. Right now, knocking the wind out of their sails on a regular basis would be sweet!

  • O.C.

    “I hope the writers recognize they don’t get read, and don’t have jobs, without the fans. Perhaps some of those writers have been too long at the fair.”

    ^
    This. All day.

    Edmonton MSM should be calling out their ignorant colleagues who go to bed at 10 pm EST. Heck the coaches, management and players should too. Run the “no respect” line til their ears bleed.

    Create some controversy. Bad press is better than no press.

  • Reg Dunlop

    I don’t like the Sedins or the pretentious boobs that cheer on the canucks, win or tie and don’t tie too often. Please, Oilers, make a statement tonight and thump Vancouver.

  • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

    We live on Vancouver Island and hubby, oldest son and I are die hard Oilers’ fans. Son married a Canucks fan – and as lovely as she is, I cannot convert her. They were coming over for dinner and the game tonight but decided on dinner only as she said she was scared to watch an Oilers/Canucks game with me. Well – what did she think I was going to do? eat HER for dinner? I am stunned that I have a reputation of devouring poor Canucks fans………. GO OILERS!

  • Van isl Oiler

    Canucks fans drink wine during intermission, complain about climate change and how they are looking forward to spring when they can put on their spandex shorts, ride their bikes and explore their inner selves.

    Meanwhile, Oilers fans drink beer in the intermission, they fist pump with complete strangers and dread the off season cos there’s NO hockey.

  • Van isl Oiler

    “It should be noted the expensive defensemen are all healthy.”

    It should be noted all right…Noted with a big, flashing neon sign right in front of Chia Pet every time the defence goes Jultzing

  • Jay (not J)

    Win, win, win. Play hard EVERY game. NO sitting back or coasting, or taking your feet off the gas, NO ‘well we are 2 ahead so we can coast now’ and NO ‘I don’t feel like giving 100% tonight. PLAY HOCKEY, PLAY TO WIN, PLAY FOR PRIDE, PLAY FOR THE FANS AND THE COACHES. PLAY HOCKEY, that what you are paid to do. Make us proud, make us happy, we sure deserve it.

  • NJ

    We have managed to keep our heads above water with Connor, Nail and others out of the line-up. We need to show Connor and Nail that they are coming back to a revitalized Oilers’ squad who have managed to keep us in the play-off picture. We need to send a message to these young men that YES they are needed, but that we can win with a depleted squad and once we are back to full
    strength, the sky is the limit.