GDB 25.0: Avoid self destructing

PowerByLiquorDepot

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

Screen Shot 2016-12-01 at 12.18.57 PM

Screen Shot 2016-12-01 at 12.11.26 PM

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

Screen Shot 2016-12-01 at 12.08.34 PM

Screen Shot 2016-12-01 at 12.08.58 PM

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 
      • 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.

      • T.J.F.M.

        After the horrific last game Nurse/Benning had against Toronto (although, every single player not named McDavid stunk the place up), I think this would have been the game to put Fayne back in.

        Fayne and Sekera have proven before that they make a solid tandem.

        They can split time with either Nurse/Russell or Russell/Benning. Either way, one of them needs a rest. And I think the odd man out this game is Nurse. He hasn’t looked too good in the past 3 Oilers losses.

        There is the argument that we need Nurse for his physical play, but the fact is, Benning has been far more physical lately.

        The truth is, both Nurse and Benning could benefit from seeing the game from the pressbox. For Nurse, i think it is purely mental. For Benning, he has never had to play this much. He could use a break here and there.

      • oilman3

        wow, the eberle comments are getting old. give it a rest already. everyone who reads any posting by any author on this site is well aware of how you all feel about him. win or lose, it seems like some of you can only be negative and focus on nothing but eberle’s shortcomings. what’s the point of constantly repeating the same negative comments? i’ve had plenty of frustration as an oiler fan over the years but can’t imagine devoting all of my energy hating and constantly commenting on a player.

      • Mitch92

        So the Oilers double up the Jets in spite of Patrik Laine’s two goals, Drai, Testy and CMD had three point nights and Sheifele was blanked and finished the night a -2 yet you people still have to find something to complain about? Enjoy the win.

      • Ssseth

        With only 5 wins in the last 16 games December is going to be a make it or break it month to find out what this team really is. Let’s hope the winning train gets going again.

        Go Oilers!

      • chickenStew

        There are 4 or 5 people on here that see what they want to see regarding Eberle. To them, he is a bum.
        That in itself makes their take worthless.

        Honest criticism is one thing and well deserved. This flooding of the same nonsense over and over reminds me of a child pestering their parents by repeating the same phrase until they get attention.

        In what world does a mature adult need to harp on one point incessantly, as if it will make any difference other than to irritate those around them?

        I think I just answered my own question..

        • AJ88

          Unfortunately your well written post will have no affect on the 4 or 5 you allude to. Aggression and personal attacks do not equate to a high level of hockey knowledge or being perceived as a passionate Oiler fan.

      • McRaj

        Oilersnation is full of a bunch of morons. It is shocking how some people here actually think Eberle is worthless. I bash him too but I give credit where credit is due. Why do none of you want to speak badly about Nuge? What has he done to deserve less criticism than Eberle?

        Also, Sweetbabynuge, don’t mention Lebron with Jordan and Gretzky. Lebron is good but he first has to reach Kobe’s level before getting to Jordan’s.

        And Hockeyfan, dude you seriously need a life. You must be real miserable to constantly come on Oilers Nation and troll on the articles.

        • Shameless Plugger

          Because there ARE things he does well(believe it or not). I don’t dismiss his shortcomings, never have, never will, just like I don’t dismiss what he does well.

          Unfortunately some don’t see it the same as I do and that’s fine. I’m just excited we finally have a TEAM we can get behind after having nothing for ten years.

          I’m not about to start complaining about the small things. The Oilers are finally competitive. I’m not going to go looking for things to be upset about. I’m changing the way I think about this team. I’m looking for things to be happy about. Enough with the negativity.

        • Spydyr

          The MSM love Eberle because they make their living off the Oilers and stating that one of the golden kid sucks kills their gravy train. Brought and paid for.The sheeple follow them,

      • Big Jacks Meat

        Some of these line changes on the PP smell of desperation, by the coaching staff.

        Guess you have to try something as the crap we have seen so far isn’t working.

        We need a gun on the point , somehow.

      • IRONman

        The Oilers are number 1 goals for @ 70 in the west.

        But not number 1 west.

        Hmmmm. Ebs is not responsible for all the defence errors

        Blame where it is deserved. The weak D.

      • Oilers4Ever

        Wow … who would’ve thought making drastic personnel changes to the abysmal PP would make a difference? It took the coaching brain trust this long to figure this out? SMH

      • 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.

      • Gaz

        It hurts my brain and heart that Pouliot is in and Puljujarvi is out. I made a comment to this extent yesterday on another article, but since he’s come back from being scratched he’s done…nothing.

        I’d rather have a good prospect doing nothing offensively than a veteran.

      • janegallagher

        I’m surprised by the Ebs hate. I suppose it’s the way of things to pick a scapegoat after years of frustration cheering for a losing team, my scapegoat over the last decade has been a little more encompassing and vague – “the defence” – but that’s not completely true either.

        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.)

        But there are other things that cause us problems and cost us games, like the sheer number of beautiful feeds and passes McDavid sets up for his teammates, I mean Lucic should have 15 goals by now – when you miss these chances it hurts momentum as well.

        I feel that with the addition of McDavid on these Oilers, there’s an intangible force that happens on the ice, a confidence that we haven’t had maybe since Messier and Gretzky before him, where once we get rolling, usually with McDavid as the catalyst, we can’t be stopped. At the start of the year, we were winning by outscoring, defensive faults be damned, but later we got smarter on the back end, which resulted in wins like 5-0 against the Blackhawks.

        It’s strange about slumps and bad luck and the like in hockey that can’t be explained by analytics, droughts that can create a slippery slope of lost confidence mentally and how a player plays on the ice…for someone like RNH who’s been playing well for the most part but hitting posts while playing smart in his own end, I feel like it’s a matter of time till he gets it back. But when these things combine, (players missing open nets from perfect passes from McDavid, our defence not clearing the zone properly, another post or 3 too many extra passes on the powerplay, Lucic flubbing one, Pouliot taking another bad penalty) it leads to these types of losses we saw in Arizona and against Toronto.

        Ebs can lead the second line, I’m down with that. I have hope for this team, but it’s like there’s two versions of them out there and I hope we see the smart, confident one led by a bonafide superstar out there tonight. God bless ya McDavid.

      • Spoils

        I’d swap Maroon for Pouliot… but I like those lines. I’d like to see Draisaitl start scoring.

        Curious what types of trades might be available. This team has too many passers, not enough goal scorers. Maybe trade a quality passer and a prospect/pick for a scorer?

      • SweetBabyNuge

        I hope Todd isn’t trying to over coach. All he needs to do: “Sir who do you want to play with?”

        McD: “Him and Him”.

        The easiest gig is coaching Gretz, Jordan, Lebron… McD. Outsource the coaching to the best player on the planet.