GDB 25.0: Avoid self destructing

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Connor McDavid Newfied Mikey

(photoshop: @NewfieMikey)

We love HOME games; have Liquor Depot delivery in under an hour. Click, pick, sit back and watch the game.

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 
      • Yeesh, on pace for 38 goals, yet not a single PP goal yet? Lack of opportunity to rush the puck up ice probably has a lot to do with that. Off the face off, just dump it back in your zone and get him to wheel in (kidding).

      • McRaj

        Nuge Career: 337 games, 56 points per 82 games (19 goals), Minus 36, 19:21 ATOI, 282 hits, 173 blocks, +61 takeaways over giveaways, 43.3% F/O, 58% o-zone starts, 99.4 PDO, +1.4% corsi relative, +0.7% fenwick relative, drafted 1ST OVERALL

        Eberle Career: 449 games, 63 points per 82 games (27 goals), Minus 56, 18:26 ATOI, 255 hits, 166 blocks, -53 giveaways over takeaways, 99 PDO, +3.4% corsi relative, +2.7% fenwick relative, drafted 22ND OVERALL.

        Now, I am a Nuge fan but if we want to blame Eberle for the Oilers woes, than Nuge deserves just as much blame. Nuge is without a doubt superior to Eberle in the d-zone, but Eberle is no questions asked superior in the o-zone.

        When you consider that Nuge was a 1st overall draft pick over the likes of Landeskog, Huberdeau, Scheifele, Hamilton, Gibson, Saad, Kucherov, and Gaudreau, he has not added as much value as Eberle has as a 22nd overall draft pick with Carlson, Josi, Hamonic, Holtby, and Brodie taken after him.

          • Sir Dudeinstein

            What if we try RNH on the wing of McDavid?
            I mean RNH-McDavid-Pulijarvi may be a good top line for EDM and maybe even for years to come.

            RNH-McDavid-Pulijarvi

            Lucic-Drai-Eberle

            Maroon-Cug-Kassian/Pitlick

            Hendricks – letestu – Kassian/Pitlick

          • McRaj

            Perhaps you need to watch games and expand your Oilers knowledge before commenting. Nuge has spent the majority of his career with Eberle and Hall. Nuge has always been on the first powerplay unit except this year. Yes Nuge plays PK which would back up my statement of him being better than Ebs in the D-Zone.

        • Randaman

          Wrong, it’s time to bench Pouliot and then waive him, put him in the minors and if not taken in the expansion draft, buy him out.

          He is useless and constantly takes stupid offensive zone penalties. Unacceptable. Thanks MacT

      • Coach My PP

        “Gregor’s right about the level of error our defensemen are capable of – resulting in easy goals scored against us leaving Talbot no chance on the play, which increases the frustration of the players and alters momentum on the ice when we’ve been playing well,(outshooting and better zone time as mentioned in the article.)”

        What about the level of errors RW commits that result in goals and scoring chances? Do you think those errors, lack of effort and grit increases the frustration of the players and alters the momentum? Do you think any of that happened this and previous years?

      • Rickk

        Several Oilers are making the big mistakes because they try to do what McDavid does. They are trying too many moves and then passing on to the sticks of the defenders.

        McDavid’s speed has the defenders on their heels so they cant react to his passes easily. So for him, these passes are lower risk. Maybe he is also more skilled at seeing the openings… not sure.. but i know for sure they are off balance

        Another thing is that McDavid is so good at receiving passes. The team needs to be more accurate with passes to the more human players… At least one of the goals last game was a really dumb pass between the defensemen that only McDavid could have taken..

        This is on the coach to remind players not to emulate everything McDavid does… Just emulate the intensity and attention to detail…

      • Looch#27

        I have serious concerns with how TM is using our guys and his choice of lineups but I’m hoping a physical game wakes up our big guys and we start dictating the pace. Lot of hate for Eb’s with little evidence to back up said hate other then trust me he sucks. Some people just gotta hate…Game day prediction we come back after lousy 1st period and impose our will on the game Pitlick with a pair..Go Oil!!!!

      • Hemmercules

        Their PP is way too slow. Passes need to be tic-tac-toe-shot. The Oil just stick handle on the half boards, pass it to the dman, repeat. Too often they go in for a wrist shot with the goalie fully unscreened or a shot from the corner hoping to get lucky and squeak it in. Hardly ever see a one timer unless its bouncing off someones shin pads. Weakest PP I have ever seen.

        Spiral continues tonight. 4-1 PEG. McD with only goal.

      • 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

      • Wow, that third line is really worth a look. I am excited to watch the energy they could bring.

        Truth be told I always wanted to see a Shlepyshev, Yakimov, Yakupov third line, but it was not meant to be. Pitlick, Cagguila, Shlep could be pretty fun to watch though. Quick, they bang, and have enough skill to put it in the net.

        I predict at least one goal from this line tonight. They will show the rest of the team how playing with some urgency leads to success.

        I still am completely baffled how the Power play is this bad. Remember when Nuge was a powerplay wizard? What the hell happened to that? Don’t we have cerebral passer Draisaitl? Is the issue that the team ran out of trigger men? I mean they were big on passing the puck before but now it seems that’s all they do.

        On paper that fourth line looks great. In practice I think Maroon is being a bit wasted. But you never know, it might be the type of night where lunch pales win the day. And that is one mighty lunch pale line.

          • I agree, these guys aren’t rocket ships. You can’t just say 3,2,1 go and expect them to launch right away. Some chemistry needs to form. But that will start with having success. If the team wins, expect the lines to stay the same until the team doesn’t win, or until they decide they’d rather have Puljujarvi back in to show he needs time in the minors.