GDB 37.0: LOOSE CHANGE

The cold mornings are on us now, starting the car involves a few extra minutes for warm up and the search for mittens and toque is unnecessary (any self-respecting Albertan has all the winter wear in a feature place in the home by now). The Christmas turkey has been consumed (well, mostly) and the Boxing Day game made us suitably grumpy. Now, on to Calgary and the battle of Alberta. A win would be outstanding, but the Oilers are not healthy and they carry a noxious power play into the province’s second city.

THE PACIFIC

standings

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The Oilers are 6-3-1 in their last 10 games—music!—but Calgary is 8-2-0 and have the look of a team coming together in a big way. Last night’s game saw some fine performances (Cam Talbot, Mark Letestu and his line, Andrej Sekera, the Leon line) and some wobbly ones. The coach put a positive turn on things:

  • Todd McLellan: “I
    liked a number of our players coming out of the Christmas break. I
    thought they had a little jump in their stride and made some plays. And
    then there was about five or six that I thought was pulling us down
    anchor-wise. And hopefully they give us better games tomorrow.”
    Source

That should light a fire under the ass of every man who had a poor night in Vancouver, but injuries and lack of depth are a big deal for Edmonton currently. We can get upset at turnovers, bad passes or shots going in from bad places, but there also needs to be the recognition that some very important pieces are injured. Sucks, but it is true.

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I CONFESS

I miss watching Connor McDavid and I am tired of waiting. I understand patience, being less than independently wealthy my whole life means years and years of patience are a part of me. I can wait, but don’t expect me to be happy about it, and the timeline remains vague and distant. Remember the night the Oilers beat the crap out of the Flames? October 17th. More than two months ago. And tonight, we Oilers fans have to watch Calgary—healthy and successful despite icing a grown man named Dougie—with all the bells and whistles. Edmonton brings a posthumous power play, a second line that can’t get out of their own zone, and a third pairing the 1974-75 Washington Capitals may have passed on. 

It might be time for the Oilers to roll out new video of McDavid skating on a lake.

THE GAME IS A FOOT!  ?

Peter Chiarelli may be about to make a mid-season deal, sending away Ben Scrivens for Zack Kassian. Are you all ready for this? In some ways, this is a confusing deal—Edmonton has too many forwards now, no idea what happens when Nail Yakupov, Connor McDavid and Rob Klinkhammer return. Then again, Kassian probably plays in Bakersfield for a time and he would replace Bogdan Yakimov (in minutes, not position) in the lineup. Interesting days, trades are allowed beginning midnight.

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PROJECTED LINEUPS

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Oilers lineup courtesy of DailyFaceoff.com

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Flames lineup courtesy of DailyFaceoff.com

QUICK HITS

  • Bakersfield also plays tonight, rookies Kyle Platzer and Joey Laleggia are beginning to spike offensively.
  • I would not be at all surprised if the Habs-Oilers deal turns out to have additional pieces.
  • The Habs were always linked to Nail Yakupov, wonder if that was discussed.
  • Oscar Klefbom and Brandon Davidson are missed more than my Lee jeans from the 1970s.
  • The Oilers power play makes me sad. If this continues, I may start missing the MacT power plays! Speaking of, what ever happened to Mike York? Toby Petersen?

WHAT THEY ARE SAYING

From FlamesNation.ca

Let’s face it, the Oilers are a scrappy bunch that are playing much better structural hockey under coach Todd McLellan, but their depth is stretched thin with them currently without Rob Klinkhammer, Connor McDavid, Nail Yakupov, Andrew Ference and Oscar Klefbom. And since they played and lost last night and are playing a rested Flames team, they’ll probably do their best to slow the game down and keep things low-event. It’ll be tough, though, considering that the Flames have last change and can likely minimize the amount the Oilers can victimize the Wideman/Engelland defensive pair.

GAME DAY PREDICTION

GDB37.0

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers come out strong early, as the Flames try to find their legs. A meandering shot from Nikita Nikitin gives the good side a 1-0 lead after one. 

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Calgary applies pressure at every turn in the second, scoring three goals and chasing Anders Nilsson. Edmonton’s power play grabs a late goal to make it close entering the third period. 

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION:

 Talbot shines in his second straight night of work, stopping 20 third period shots and stoning the Calgary power play. Edmonton’s own chance late with the man advantage does not cash and it ends 3-2 for the Flames on another frustrating night.

NATIONGEAR BOXING DAY SALE

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  • nqmt

    I for one am very, very, confused on Todd McLellan using Justing Schultz for every ocassion PP, 5×5, PK, ………I think JS played half the game!

    Now I know we are short defenceman, but the over utilization of Schultz is perplexing on so many fronts. He has no ability to shoot the puck so maybe overplaying him on the PP is a failed strategy. If he were to play reduced minutes in my mind this would help other parts of his game.

    I will be at the game in Calgary tonight with my Oilers jersey on sitting next to three flames jerseys that cover three other members of my family……..Oilers please do not embarrass me…….for the love of God please??

      • supra steve

        Guys like Kassian and Burrows are the reason why we all dislike the Canucks. They are D-bags on and off the ice.

        As a Flame fan, I am hopeful that Kassian does not come to Calgary; and as a Flames fan, I would not be upset if he DOES go to Edmonton. But for the sake of the Oiler fans…man I hope you guys are not saddled with that D-bag Kassian.

  • ComeAtMeDog

    the pack in the pacific is starting to separate, its now or next year oil…

    cheers to you lowetide for doing the Game Day Blogs over the holidays. a true brethren in servitude

  • Big Cap

    Marchment, Messier, Muni, McSorley all hard nosed warriors whose grit and cheap shots we loved. But Kassian is classless and dirty!!

    With Nuge and Ebs leading the charge with being soft and playing with no heart, maybe it’s time to bring in someone who our opponents actually hate playing against.

    • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

      Canadians cheered and praised Messier when he split open a Russian with an elbow in the Canada Cup.
      Not many players have the kind of package that Kassian can bring to the table. If they do their homework and Kassian looks to have changed I say bring in his size and game.
      Fans would change their tune in a heartbeat the first time he put a Flame into the fifth row of the stands.

  • ComeAtMeDog

    I was really praying Shultz wouldn’t be with Nurse again. That was a disaster last night. Seriously JS has to go, it’s embarrassing watching him get pushed around like a rag doll. He should be playing next to Brad Hunt. Try him at forward or move on already!!

    • bradleypi

      Schultz played well last night. I challenge you tell me once where he got pushed around like a rag doll. He did get hit once pretty good but he recovered fine.

      No goals against. The most ice time. You can maybe tell me what you see that I don’t. He moved the puck well. Limited chances against when he was on the ice.

      He missed that pass to Hall. 1) if he put it where he should have, it would have been intercepted or Hall would have been creamed. 2) Nothing resulted the from icing.

      • Serious Gord

        He got caught shading the puck rather than taking the body a couple of times. He struggled getting the puck out of his end and he was terrible on the pp.

        • Stack Pad Save

          The only Oiler D-man who treats the puck like a grenade more than Schultz in his own end is Gryba, but at the very least Gryba can play physical in front of his own net.

          Schultz’s biggest 2 problems is he has a terrible first pass and he can not remove forwards from the puck in his own end. That makes for a terrible D-man.

          Even the CBC Vancouver homer commentators from last night commented on how bad his first pass was.

          • 3 Little Birds

            Try to watch him tonight rather than just notice when he looks bad. He’s not a great dman but he’s not terrible.

            There is a reason why he had the most ice time last night.

        • Stack Pad Save

          The puck normally got out when he made the play except when he went up the right side and Eberle was on the ice. It didn’t look good because he was usually on the ice with that line. Plus he was on against the Sedins much of the game. As much as you may not like them, they are very effective players.

          Someone is complaining about his first pass. He had no give aways. The only pass he made that the TV complained about was that break away pass to Hall. It wasn’t that bad of a pass.

          The problem the last two games hasn’t bee the defense. Heck, there was only one goal against in regulation (Gryba/Nikitin). It’s been the forwards in the D zone. Too many turnovers.

      • bradleypi

        Lol. Are you actually trying to get oilersnation to admit that Schultz actually played a good game? That’s a lost cause man. Everything bad about the oilers begins and ends with Schultz. I’m sure they even believe he’s responsible for McDavids injury. It’s fun reading every 2nd comment about how bad schultz is. Good times!

    • ville de champignons

      Forgive the off-topic Neil Young story but a guy bumped into him outside a Toronto music store and had this conversation with him:

      Guy: Hey, sorry, aren’t you Neil Young?

      Neil: Yes I am. Now why don’t you f**k off?

  • nqmt

    Edmonton Oilers ‏@EdmontonOilers 16m16 minutes ago
    The #Oilers have recalled defenceman Brad Hunt from the @Condors and placed defenceman Brandon Davidson on Injured Reserve.

  • JuicyKillerWhale

    With JS playing so much, I think Chia is trying to show him off or boost his stock. A bad defence man who plays a lot is worth more in the trade market compared to a bad defence man who has limited minutes. And also with injuries right now, honestly we don’t have much of a choice, I mean would you rather have NN or Fayne play those minutes? And yes I know we have Nurse but for god sakes, he’s a 20 year old rookie, you don’t want to try and shove too much down his throat at the same time.

    • bradleypi

      Lol! So you’re saying that McLellan is pulling the wool over every gm in the leagues eyes but oilersnation sees right through this devisshly sneaky scheme the oilers are playing out?? Hahahahaha. Lol. Or does the oilers defence stink so bad that there is no better option than to play schultz as much?? Classic oilersnation……

  • ComeAtMeDog

    I welcome Zack K . I would hate playing against him and we need more grit . Scrivens = no loss there . So let’s shake hands with a old enemy and join forces . I’m sure he will be motivated . Or we could grab him and add him in a package with other players . Either way I trust PC .

    Now let’s play huge tonight and win . Play brad hunt on PP and fire away . No goat niki thank god . He will not play another game for us

  • Max Powers - Team HME Evans

    I always hear of people (LT…) mocking MacT for having Toby Petersen on his power play, but McClellan has consistently put out Letestu on the first unit with frequent sightings of Korpikoski getting significant pp time as well. Not sure why this hasn’t gotten much attention considering their pp stinks to high heaven.

    Somebody ought to go back and see what the hell Krueger was up to because people were accusing RNH of being a power play WITCH his first year.

  • Max Powers - Team HME Evans

    LT,

    A quick point about last game against Vancouver. I’m watching in Vancouver, hoping for a big effort from the Oilers. I knew the defensive side would be ugly based on the lineup, but I didn’t see desperation, effort, or grit most of the night. The forwards had a few good chances, but didn’t sustain much. I know McLellan knows this, but it all adds up to a fairly bad night. Additionally, I felt disconcerted that the coach’s assessment of the game was that the two teams were approximately even, both trading chances.

    My fragile psyche is so damaged by Oil teams of the last 9 years that it triggered memories of Ethan Moreau never admitting that they were poor in the aftermath of poor game after endless poor game, and of Dallas Eakins last year somehow saying the team did okay in every game that they sucked, and they did badly in about every game they were a little better. Please don’t let dear Todd fall under the strange power of Oilers Entertainment inc. that causes skewed outlook completely divorced from reality.

    I know it’s just one time, but when recovering from gangrene, you have to watch every moment for blood poisoning. Look away at your peril, Oilers.

      • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

        Oh boy. Here we go. The gist of my comment was a personal admission of my own fragile psyche – hoping that McLellan wouldn’t go down a dark road – not saying he’s gone down it. So no need to lawyer me with little points about what he *also* said. I heard it, I get it. I’m speaking about his *general* overview here, which was as I stated it. I assume if you can dicker about little points, you also heard him say what I said he said? Christ – not everything is just fighting over one flat point.

    • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

      “And then there was about five or six that I thought was pulling us down anchor-wise. And hopefully they give us better games tomorrow.”

      I see that as admitting you played poor. Last time i checked being an ancor isn’t code for having played a good game.

      Also the oilers got a point, and had the winning goal in overtime sitting a foot away from the goal line and just not being able to bang it home. So while it wasn’t close to a good game, i don’t think he needed to come out and throw everyone under the bus.

    • bradleypi

      Holy. Do you guys like anyone besides connor McDavid and jeff petry? Wow I have never read more depressing and hateful comments than the ones being posted this year. Was anybody on here even happy on Christmas morn? Or do you guys hate the Lord too because he created a jultz? Yeesh!

  • ComeAtMeDog

    Kassian in the dressing room may make the players edgy. On both sides. Being traded multiple times in one year may be the kick in his ugly mug he needs.

    Scrivens + Schultz

    For Petry + Kassian

    One can only dream.

  • hagar

    Its time the Oilers had someone that pisses other teams off , been far too long. Clean up your act Kassian and we welcome you , be a good teamate , stay out of trouble , but continue to irritate. Id take a chance. Yes, i feel there is more to this. CH has hit the skids , no price = No chance. Need offence.

  • ville de champignons

    Schultz still hasn’t been sent to the minors?? What’s going on here, I thought chia was suppose to be better?? Maybe we’d get lucky and someone would claim him, I doubt anyone would, but one can dream!

    • hagar

      Did you see the Bob Nicholson interview last night? He says MacT is very much still part of the operations..

      Schultz is MacT’s boy!! If he let Pete send him packing, that would basically be the last thing he hoped would work out, but didn’t.

      I have no doubt he is begging and pleading his case to keep Schultz around. Nothing else makes sense. Classic oilers is to do what doesn’t make sense to save face, and this wreaks of it.

      • No I didn’t see that, but you just successfully ruined my day!

        I hate everything about Schultz’s game. Nothing against the guy, but I can’t stand watching him play hockey with an oiler jersey on. I’m not gonna comment about MacT because I’ll get all worked up then I’ll start talking about Howson which will inevitably lead to rant about Lowe. Just thinking about them still being apart of the organization makes me insane. It’s a disgrace we even have to hear their names mentioned

      • D-Unit

        I didn’t see the interview, and even if MacT is the reason Jultz is still on the team, I still fault The coach for his usage. I cannot see a reason to play him so many minutes especially on the PP.

        By my eye, Jultz is not great at anything in the game of hockey. Mediocre offensive skills, minimal defensive skills (even worse when you know he is a Dman), no physical game, poor hockey sense, gets pushed around at will by anyone who tries, but gets top minutes.

        I would love to hear a some pointed questions be asked of the coach about Jultz’s usage in a post game interview at some point. I really want to know what he sees that no one else seems to.

  • “We can get upset at turnovers, bad passes or shots going in from bad places, but there also needs to be the recognition that some very important pieces are injured. Sucks, but it is true.”

    Injuries should be motivation for every single guy who is in the line-up to bring their best game. It’s not an excuse as to why some didn’t in Vancouver.

  • If finding energy in a back to back circumstance is an issue, might I remind you rnh, eberle and poozalot should have lots of it. They have hardly broke a sweat for a while now. Maybe the training staff could put bobskates on ebs so he can stay on his feet…worked for me …when I was 4.

  • Soiled Trousers

    I do see a bigger deal. With the Habs floundering. 0 for 10. Even when Carey Price and Gallagher return the Habs may not be able to recover enough mojo to make the playoffs. If im Bergevin I am looking to bolster my scoring depth. Now. Not in 20 games. The picks and prospects for a player scenario at this point seems more fact than fiction due to the rise of Leon Draisatl. With the return of CM and Yak in the new year it may be a wise idea to cash in on Jordan Eberles value. His play has improved lately and he is looking more like the guy who has led the Oilers in scoring 3/5 years.

    What might be the ask? For me it begins with Tinordi and McCarron. Add a pick or 2 and perhaps its a done deal.

    The Habs need a secondary scoring option. Need. Not want.

    • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

      Get rid of Yak and he can play with Galchenyuk, his buddy.
      Yak has proven he can only produce when Mcdavid is here. Even then he only had 2 goals not enough for a sniper

      • Serious Gord

        Yakupov performed well late in the Krueger season when given more time on the PP, was one of the Oilers top scorers at that time.

        Yakupov performed well with Coach Nelson when paired with experienced center Derek Roy, and again was one of the Oilers best scorers during that time.

        If you, or anyone, claims that he’s only successful with McDavid, it tells me that you haven’t really follow this team.

        And that’s fine, it’s just that statements like that make you seem incredibly uneducated.

        • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

          I am far from being uneducated. just because he had a few periods where he played well doesn’t mean he has been consistent.
          If he can’t get it together after McDavid gets back its time to cut bait and start over.
          I like his desire and try but that’s not enough . We need more from a #1 in his 4th year in the NHL.

          • Wince

            History demonstrates that Yakupov has been consistent when put into certain situations. That was the point of my post.

            I’m not pretending that he’s a player that can succeed in any situation, few players in the entire league can play with anyone and make their teammates better. McDavid being one of them. Yakupov isn’t that versatile all in one that you’re unrealistically expecting in every #1 pick.

            And secondly, why do you care about draft pedigree? People don’t trade “my #1 pick for your #1 pick”. This is the NHL, what matters is contract length, price, and age, when it comes to results.

            Yakupov works well with vocal centers like Roy and McDavid, for only $2.5 million dollars. Find me another 22 year old who will play for that much and get us similar results, and has as much potential. He made it clear that he learned a lot from Roy. You’re claiming that he should know more in his 4th year, and he should, but what could he have learned from Lander? From a rookie Drai who was struggling? Again, when put in a position to learn and grow, he succeeded.

            You gotta hit the pause button and think this through. You’re confusing his inconsistent usage and those varying results and conflating that with inconsistencies as a player.

            Yakupov isn’t free of blame, we see how a player like Drai focus on weaknesses in the off season. I think Yak could use an Adam Oates in his life.

            But what you’re asking for is continued mismanagement of an asset that has been misused and mismanaged for most of his NHL career.

            It’s the sort of simplistic thinking that we’ve seen from Oilers management in the past many years which digs us into a deeper and deeper pit. No. You don’t trade a 22 year old that plays for peanuts and happens to love the city, because he wasn’t scoring when playing 13 minutes a game on the 3rd line with Lander or Will Acton being the guys expected to set him up as a shooter.

            Again, don’t mix inconsistent usage and deployment for inconsistent play. He was pretty consistent with Roy, pretty consistent with McDavid.

          • socaldave

            Nice synopsis overall,howeve you failed to include the fact that Yakupov has excelled when he was playing for Krueger and when Gagner was tutoring him.This leads us to the Process they were using then…..which leads us to the tasteless plug for Adam Oates who is tailwinding the Philosophy and concepts surrounding the “Process” Sam Gagner and some Oilers were using during that time without crediting or validating it.

            It looks like Nuge is finlly being used properly,someones been going through the recent archives and following advice…..smart move IMHO…..smart money keeps this focus…and we wont let the tactical side of this Cat out of the bag now….lol…..its data from a while back and we should see Nuge scoring more tonight….lol.

    • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

      No interest in Tinordi for me. We have enough left shot dmen prospects. And I wouldn’t give up Eberle for Mccarron and any other prospect they have. If scoring depth is what they’re after I’d gladly give them Purcell for somthing. Maybe Purcell and Scrivens for Kassian and Mccarron

  • Serious Gord

    Tonight I will be looking for confirmation of what I think is a worrying fact:

    That the hall/drai/Purcell line cannot compete/is not effective when the opponent is able to match their best line against them. That is what seems to be happening whenever the oil are on the road and the opponent gets last change.

    This would not be so bad if the oil second line could then over power the opponents second line. But rnh/ebe/pouliot are not delivering – not even close.

    Meanwhile the tire Fire which is the oil defense burns ever brighter when on the road. I say pair Shultz and nikitin and at least the oil will have contained much of the oozing smouldering mess to one pair, hopefully Freeing nurse from having to bail out Shultz every other shift.

    And is Nilsson going to regain form?

    Hate to say it but I think the flames won this going away – 5-2.

    As for Neil young: he is not a legend. He is a god. That said I despise his moronic Ill-informed political opinions. And the song above is one of his weaker efforts.

    I like his in-the-ditch stuff my favourite being this one

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=oSG0P4hLtos

    (Not my favourite version)

  • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

    Kassian is the type of player who has about 15 good games a year, about 10 bonehead games a year, and the rest he is a passenger. The only reason I see bringing him in is pp net front presence, and that’s not the Oil pp modus operandi.
    Thanks for the shot of NY.