GDB 25.0: Avoid self destructing

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Connor McDavid Newfied Mikey

(photoshop: @NewfieMikey)

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The Oilers toughest opponent lately has been themselves. In their last three losses they controlled much of the play, rarely had extended defensive zone time, yet they lost all three games.

They out shot the opposition 106-87.
They had 214 shot attempts while only allowing 154.

The problem was, they made glaring defensive errors which led to goals, and didn’t make enough wise shooting decisions in the offensive zone.

They need to play smarter tonight in Winnipeg.

The Oilers aren’t getting overwhelmed like past seasons, but their inability to avoid the major defensive mistake is crippling them right now. Call it a winning attitude or whatever, but this group, including the many new players, need to find it. It comes from within. They need to start holding each other accountable.

Mistakes will happen. That is part of hockey, but if this team wants to win they must cut down the 10-bell mistakes. These defensive miscues and reads are mental mistakes, not physical, and because it isn’t just one or two players committing the same error over and over again, the problem won’t be solved by benching one or two players. The group needs to be more committed.

At the other end of the ice, the Oilers fired 106 shots on goal the past three games, but they’ve had 62 blocked and 46 miss the net. They had 108 attempts not reach the goalie. Unacceptable.

The Coyotes and Leafs are not elite shot-blocking teams. The Leafs have one player in the top-50 in blocked shots, while the Coyotes have none in the top-70. The Oilers were forcing pucks through and not making smart decisions. They need to stop accepting the easy play, and show more determination to take the puck to the net, or ensure their shot gets past the first defender.

The Oilers had more talent than Arizona and Toronto, but they didn’t play with enough determination and smarts to win. They must be equal in those two areas with the Jets tonight if they have any hope of ending their three-game winless streak.

LINEUP

Oilers

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The Oilers had an optional skate this morning, but it looks like Hendricks and Puljujarvi will be coming out. Maroon/Letestu/Kassian will be the fourth line, while Pitlick/Caggiula/Slepyshev will be the third line.

Draisaitl will start the game with McDavid and McLellan is looking to load up his first line. Talbot will start his 23rd of 25 games for the Oilers, and he’ll likely get Sunday off against the Wild.

Jets

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Lineups courtesy of DailyFaceoff.com

QUICK HITS

  • It looks like the Oilers will change their PP units. They’ve moved Eberle to the second unit, and Letestu, Slepyshev and Pitlick might all get a look on the first unit. I have no issue moving Eberle to the second unit — you need two to win — and considering McDavid draws the most penalties on the team, the second unit could start many powerplays. The issue is how they are using Eberle. Stop asking him to be something he isn’t. He will not be a dominant outside shooter. He never has been. Put him where he is successful, closer to the net. I’d play him in the middle, same spot as Draisailt on the first unit. Eberle is smart, a good passer and good shooter from in close. He has never been an outside shooter, yet he’s been one of the most consistent goal scorers the past five years. Why move him further from the net? He won’t have as much success, and the Oilers don’t have a better options in close. If moving Eberle to the second unit means he will play closer to the net, great, if they just move him to the second unit and have him remain an outside shooter, then they are putting him in a position to fail.
  • I think many of us have to re-adjust expectations on what is a consistent goal scorer. I still hear many toss out 30-goal scorer. The sad reality is there are very few consistent 30-goal scorers in the game nowadays. Here is a list of the top goals scorers from the past five seasons. Only seven of them have more than 150 goals, which averages 30 goals per season. It does include the 48-game lockout, so if I prorate the goals from that season, then Jamie Benn, Patrick Kane, James Neal, Phil Kessel and Jonathan Toews would make it eleven players who averaged 30 goals per season.

    If you do the same prorating numbers (which I’m not a huge fan of because it is a projection, not exact, and injuries and slumps can alter things), the the league has 30 players who average 25-goals consistently over a five-year span.

    McDavid looks like he’ll be one who can average 30 per season (he is on pace for 38), but as goals per game continue to dip, it looks like 40 goals will become the new 50 (except for Ovechkin, who is unreal), and our goal expectations of players should drop.

  • The Oilers still lead the league in road points, 16, and are tied with the most road wins, seven.
  • Their PP is 8 of 37 on the road, 21.6%. and tied for seventh best in the NHL. Their PP is only 10.5% at home. Their PK has been basically the same on the road and at home. It is 89.5% on the road (34 of 38) and 87.1% (27 of 31) at home.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…

From JetsNation.ca

McDavid is back! McDavid is back! 

Duck and cover, the NHL’s leading scorer is back in town. The Jets will face-off against Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers tonight at the MTS Centre. This marks the first meeting between the two teams since the Oilers domination of the Jets at this years Heritage Classic.

MONTH OF GIVING

Our 6th annual Month of Giving begins today. Every weekday from today through to Friday, December 22nd, we will be auctioning off a package on my TSN 1260 radio show with all the proceeds going to various charities including Santas Anonymous, Operation Friendship Senior Society, The Christmas Bureau, JCI Holiday Hamper Program and a few others.

We will have a new package every day, and packages will include tickets to sporting events, signed jerseys, golf packages, jewelry, training sessions for you or your kids, dinners with Oilers and Eskimos and much more.

Package #1….

Image result for auto city Edmonton logo

Courtesy of Auto City Edmonton

  • 12 tickets in their Suite for the Oil Kings game on December 28th.
  • Two parking passes
  • $300 GC to use in suite for food and beverages

You can bid by calling 780.444.1260 or text 101260 between 2-6 p.m. today.

Thanks in advance. All proceeds will help out The Christmas Bureau.

TONIGHT…

GDB

(photoshop: @TomKostiuk)

GAME DAY PREDICTION: Oilers play well, but pick up Bettman loser point in a 4-3 loss.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Oilers PP scores a goal on the road and the human freight train, Dustin Byfuglien, crushes one of the Oilers with a huge, clean hit.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: McDavid scores his first PP goal of the season which prompts Wanye Gretz to send out a squeeeee tweet for the first time this season, and there is much rejoicing within Oilersnation.

Recently by Jason Gregor:    

  • Oilers need to be better
  • GDB 24.0: A budding rivalry
  • Monday Musings: This is who the Oilers are 
  • GDB 22.0: Desert Storm 
  • Oilers Report Card 
  • GDB 21.0: Mile High City 
  • Depth: A good problem 
        • It certainly is not close to the net. He avoids that area like a plague. The defense of this player on ON is getting ridiculous. He has been singled out by both Sportsnet and HNIC several times just this year for non contact hockey , avoiding scrums, avoiding the front of the net, losing or not even engaging on a puck battle, losing his man or not even attempting to back check that by my count has cost us 3 games this year already.Prior years there are too many gaffes to put a number on.We will not win with players that are not committed.He still gets a free pass and I am sure other players notice this. That said the entire squad needs to held accountable for piss poor play and that includes the coaching staff. If they play balls to the wall and lose, fine, but they seem to leave those in the dressing room when they head to the ice.

          • Jason Gregor

            He doesn’t go to tough areas, doesn’t score from outside, but he has 18th most goals in NHL the past five years.

            How does he do it then. Please tell me how he is so f-ing terrible yet he is 18th best at the hardest skill factor in the game. Please enlighten us.

            Yes, he has defensive weakness. We all know this, has nothing to do with his ability to score goals, yet you and others keep bringing it up.

            Tell us all how he manages to score if he is so soft, never battles, never goes to tough areas. Just answer the question.

            • Coach My PP

              He has a lot of goals in the past 5 years because he plays on the Oilers. The competition doesn’t take him or the Oilers seriously. He is as soft as the team he represents.

              He does it because he is gifted ice time and there was no one else.

              You’re right, his defensive weakness has nothing to do with his ability to score goals, but it has a lot to do with Oilers losing a lot of games.

              He is soft, never battles. He goes to the tough areas but doesn’t come out with a good result.

              • Might be one of the dumbest posts I’ve read here all year, and that’s saying a lot.. there’s definitely a wealth to choose from.

                Eberle has a lot of goals because “the competition doesn’t take him seriously”… lol. Wow, that’s priceless. “Hey everyone, just allow that guy to score on our net.. nothing to worry about here!”

              • Coach My PP

                Yes, genius.

                “We’re up 5-1 against these primadonnas. Let’s send our 3rd d-pairing to kill the penalty”

                Eberle scores! Racki and Gregor high-five and celebrate his accomplishment.

              • You’re right, Eberle only scored all of his 150 goals either in empty nets or vs. bottom pair D. Brilliant posting.

                Eberle’s defensive game is flawed as hell, and he’s struggling to score at the moment, kinda like how you’re struggling to actually make any sense…. but Eb’s ability to score in the past had nothing to do with other teams coaches not giving a crap about him.

              • Coach My PP

                Did I say that? If you have to exaggerate to make belief that’s fine.

                Yes, it does. Most teams, since Eberle has been on the Oilers, haven’t given a crap about them. They’ve been a joke of a team, and you don’t have to be an Oilers fan or an NHL player to figure that out.

              • Coach My PP

                Off the top of your groupie head, tell me out of those 150 goals which one of them come to mind as clutch or meaningful. Which one of them were hard earned and highlight real against the best defense man? I’ll wait.

              • Jason Gregor

                1st career goal. Shorthanded undresses defender and Kiprusoff. Wins goal of the year of TSN. That is just one.

                Eberle most career goals vs. Defender.

                5 vs. Brent Burns
                3 vs TJ Brodie
                3 vs. Shea Weber
                3 vs. Duncan Keith

                Seems he plays against the top defenders most in fact.

                You can see entire list here…

                http://stats.hockeyanalysis.com/showplayer.php?pid=1342&withagainst=true&season=2011-16&sit=5v5

                Stats are a wonderful thing to refute certain ideals about a player. Take care.

              • I am Batman

                Nice stats.

                Especially for a career -41 player…. how does that qualify NHL wise? Bottom 10?

                Oh wait, we do not like THAT stat, and we only mention the ones we do like, my bad.

              • btrain

                That’s not a hypocritical statement! +/- is a team stat! If you play on one of the worst TEAMS in the league for your entire career you are going to do poorly in +/-. If you have never played with anything nearing a top pairing d man, you will do poorly with +/-. If your goalies (except Talbot) have generally been subpar +/- is going to be impacted. STOP referring to this stat to evaluate individual performance….it’s useless!

                Justin Faulk -72
                Jeff Skinner -68
                Jeff Petry -69
                Phil Kessel -67

                Worst +/- almost always belong to those playing on bottom dwelling teams for significant amounts of time. Which would makes sense.

              • I am Batman

                Sure, however if you are such a talented scorer as you kids say Eberle is, you can directly influence that.

                How? By scoring.

                I would understand if he was -10, for example, but -41, tells a part of that story.

                I don’t get why you guys defend him so much. You really think of him as a winner and visualize him as one of the oilers that will lead us to win a cup?

              • pkam

                How can one player lead any team to win a cup? Even McDavid cannot.

                If a -41 player cannot win a cup, Kessel was -67 and he wins a cup.

                Almost all ex-Oilers were minus when they were an Oilers. But you know what?

                Sam Gagner was about -100 before this year and is +7 this year when playing on a winning team.

                J. Schultz was about -80 before trading to the Pens and he was +7 last season and +7 so far this season with the Pens.

                The +/- of these two ex-Oilers were worse than Eberle, now they are both plus. You can hate Eberle, but using +/- to support your argument is stupid.

              • I am Batman

                You are saying Columbus is a winning team?

                I wonder how they made it. They don’t have a couple of 6 mill players, they don’t have a generational player… they don’t even have a first overall in a few years.

                They do have a balls to the wall coach that would MURDER Eberle if he coasted like that in Columbus.

                I did not ask you if you saw Eberle as the one leading the Oilers to the cup, I asked if you saw him as part of a winning team that led the Oilers to the cup…. I don’t see which attribute from Eberle is valuable to this team anymore, but if you do, please explain

              • Shameless Plugger

                We hear you man loud and clear.

                What you are missing is this;

                You will never change anybodies mind just as we won’t change yours.

                The same dribble everyday is becoming moot. You’ve made your position abundantly clear.

                I’m curious what it is your trying to prove now? I’m certain everybody here knows yours and Spydyrs position regarding Eberle.

                My main curiosity is what’s your angle man, seriously what do you get out of constantly arguing over Eberle?

              • I am Batman

                I’d like to hear why people defend him so much . But if that’s impossible to articulate by readers and writers of the site, fine then.

                I mean, ultimately, I’d like to see Eberle traded, waived, scratched or retired, but that’s not for me to choose, so I will settle with some hockey discussion.

              • Shameless Plugger

                You’d like to hear why people defend him so much? Really? That’s what you’re going with?

                I guess you’re right, I’ve never seen anybody on this site defend him or give a plausible defence! ?

                Come on man even you must be sick of debating the EXACT SAME THING everyday. Non?

              • M22

                ^
                ^
                Good post.

                Imagine how much better this site would be if the comments weren’t CONSTANTLY subverted by worthless, mindless b!tching about Eberle, Remenda, etc. by a small handful of people.

                Come on, people – be better. Evolve. You can do it.

              • Randaman

                I tell you what, when my ears stop bleeding after listening to Remenda, I’ll back off but listening to the Jets feed tonight has been the most enjoyable game of the season for me.

                If that grates on you, too damn bad

              • pkam

                You said you don’t see how a player with -41 can win a cup, so I tell you Kessel a player who has worse +/- than Eberle just won a cup.

                I don’t need to know how, I just know it happens.

                If +/- is the key determining factor whether a player can win a cup, then how a player with worse +/- than Eberle can win a cup? And not only Kessel, but J. Schultz too.

              • His first one against Calgary was pretty great. Also there were nights early on where he was clutch. It carried over from his time on the world juniors where he scored a ton of clutch goals in the tournament.

              • btrain

                So Eberle is tied with Hall for 22 game winning goals over their careers. He is in the top 15 for game winning goals for a RW since the 2010-2011 season. Please review the below video of Eberle’s first 100 goals and have a refresher:
                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0sDH1nbgagM

                Obviously some people have very short memories and an unreal amount of confirmation bias. In other words, they see what they want to see.

            • I am Batman

              You have to score more than the others to win games.

              it does not matter if you score 2,000 if when you are on the ice the team receives 2,001.

              I don’t get why you defend him so much. He is an awesome scorer in a 27 – 29 place team…. so, if we didn’t have Eberle we’d be worse?

              I’d kill to get one of Gagner, Cogliano or even Hemsky back instead of Eberle. There’s no compete and no will to win….

              Oh, but he scores goals …. let’s see how many he scores tonight….

            • He can score on the fly, as long as there is not a body anywhere near him, because he will change directions to avoid contact.He easily coughs up the puck if there is any pressure anywhere near him. That is a fact and very easy to see. He does not battle for anything, he waits for someone else to do the heavy lifting. Not taking a shot at you, this is just what I, Sportsnet, HNIC , and a bunch of Flames fans I have the misfortune of watching Oilers games with that all see the same things. Not right or wrong. Just agree to disagree? There is always room for someone who scores 25-30 a year, but do your own math and see how any games he has cost us himself with his lazy, uninterested , entitled play on the ice.

            • IRONman

              Thanks Gregor.

              Some people need a witch hunt.

              We lost Hall a Goal scorer and now the want Ebs gone

              Ebs is not a f@cking grinder. Lucic is, lol well should be

            • OilersCapsFan

              I agree. I think whatever he did over the summer to improve his shooting has backfired, however. He seems to be missing the net A LOT. I think he’ll get it back, and once he does, RNH will get going offensively as well.

          • Chainsawz

            Your ridiculous bias is revealed in the second sentence. Didn’t read past it. It’s like there wasn’t a goal called back a couple weeks ago where Eberle made contact with a goalie… that’s just one example. There are several each and every game. If you are going to be a troll, step your game up from mindless troll.

            • The only ridiculous bias is the Edmonton media looking at this player through rose colored glasses. He is what he is , and they just wont admit it. The goal you refer to, was that the goal and the game he cost us when he blatantly interfered with Lundquist ? I do remember that because I was shocked he was so close to the blue paint. It happens so rarely , it is easy to recall.

            • I am Batman

              He tripped on the goalies shin pad!!!!

              That’s not contact, is an accident!

              Look who is the mindless troll!!!!! Now Eberle is a physical player because he tripped?

              • I am Batman

                Actually he got pushed by a defender that was passing by. It was the Pittsburgh game, and actually, Eberle scored a beauty on that one, that redeemed him for that game as one of the best games he played this year.

                But still, that play doesn’t make him physical, he tripped, he fell in the goalies shin pad. Accident. Next

              • Stanley

                Yeah, the discussion was never about him hitting people or fighting, he isn’t a physical player. The discussion was about him going to the tough areas, maybe you are new to hockey but the front of the net is considered the toughest spot to go.

        • West

          Need some new glasses or just hallucinating? No matter how much you wish it, your version of events did not happen. PS forgot to add quote. This is about Larsson not blocking the shot on Laine2.

      • Coach My PP

        Eberle is not smart.
        I have never seen him make a play and thought to my self: wow, that’s a smart guy.
        Most of Eberle’s play makes me think the opposite.

        What evidence do you have to back up the claim that Eberle is better in front of the net? Why are you campaigning and making excuses for him?

        You are right thou, the issue is how they are treating Eberle. Treating him like he is Katz son. You’re treating him like he is your daughter.

      • OnDaWagon

        I am not by any stretch of imagination, a Leaf supporter, but why do you see the Oilers as more talented then the Leafs? Because after McDavid, I think the opposite is true.
        ………………………..
        Nuge has been almost non-existent all year.
        Eberle is a part time goal scorer.
        Lucic is nowhere near(except for an occasional shift) what the fans thought they were getting.
        Dri has become a better then average player only the last few games.

        The couple of positive surprises in Edmonton are Russel and Pitbull.

        So, if the Oilers do have more talent(as you say), then,maybe the coaching is the problem, again/still.

        Any coach who breaks up a winning lineup, is an idiot.

        Just an opinion, of what my eyes see.

      • Becauseoilers

        Jets 5-1 tonight
        Don’t trash my post just because it is true.
        Life long oilers fan here but;
        Todd and his awesome pp coach have to be replaced
        Eberle needs a fresh start somewhere else
        Nuge needs a couple of vials of test
        Lucic needs to waive his no trade clause
        Pouliot needs to be moved

        • I am Batman

          And…. somebody will receive a bad hit an Nobody will do anything about it. The jets are a very physical team, they’re not only big and useless.

          I only hope it’s not McDavid

      • Spydyr

        Funny how they replace Eberle on the first unit powerplay with the fourth line centre. Then the fourth line centre scores two goals but Eberle is not the problem.

        • Bittersomfan

          Considering how many different coaches this team have had over the last years, and still gotten the same result, it seems very unlikely that coaching is the problem.