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GDB 70.0: Sharks are Circling (7:30pm MST, SNW)

The Oilers were shut out for the eighth time this season last night in Calgary. Only Montreal has been blanked more this season (ten times). The Oilers had some good chances, but Mike Smith made some great stops on Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Ryan Strome. The Oilers do lead the league in putting up goose eggs on home ice with five, and Oilers fans are frustrated enough. They don’t need to sit for 60 minutes and not cheer once, other than when they are urged to cheer for a coffee cup, donut or race car to win whatever promotion is being shown on the big screen.

Oilersnation understands the playoffs aren’t happening, but at least give them something to cheer about when they show up at the game.

Pontus Aberg won’t get a better hockey opportunity in his life than what he’s had the past few games skating alongside Connor McDavid. He needs to show something soon or he might never get a chance again. He has good speed, but he needs to do more than have good speed to play with McDavid. He picked up an assist in his first game as an Oiler but is pointless in his last six. At some point he needs to get on the scoresheet playing alongside McDavid. A proven veteran will get a longer look, but for Aberg he has to start creating something, or getting in a dangerous scoring position, if he hopes to stay on McDavid’s right wing.

I liked RNH and McDavid last night. They created many really good chances, and while neither finished it was a good sign. I expect the’ll continue to create.

The powerplay is still a trainwreck and it needs to improve, without question. I understand the frustration from many to see Milan Lucic still on the top unit despite not having a PP point in 33 games. The coaches are being very loyal to him, but at some point, he needs to reward them or be taken off the top unit. He was taken off for a few games, but he’s been put back on it and there hasn’t been any change. At some point something has to give.

The one positive for the Oilers lately is they’ve started to cut down the quality chances against. It has only been three games, but they’ve only allowed three goals in the last three games. It is an area of their game they need to improve next season, so hopefully, they can build off of it. Last year their team defence was solid, but this year it has been a disaster for the most part.

LINEUP…

Oilers

**Updated lines***
RNH-McDavid-Aberg
Lucic-Draisaitl-Puljujarvi
Cammalliri-Strome-Pakarinen
Caggiula-Khaira-Kassian

Nurse-Larsson
Klefbom-Bear
Sekera-Russell

Montoya

Oscar Klefbom will play tonight and will have a procedure done soon to “clean up” his shoulder. When that occurs he will be out for the season, but the rehab from this mysterious procedure will supposedly not have him miss the 2018/2019 training camp. Keep in mind the Oilers open the regular season in Sweden next year and Klefbom is very excited about getting to play a regular season game in his home country. I don’t understand the secrecy over a shoulder procedure. Everyone knows he has a shoulder injury, so why not say what the procedure is? The opponents know he has a shoulder problem, and none have targeted it.

I assume they know what the issue is and Klefbom is comfortable playing with some discomfort until he can have surgery. He wants to keep playing until he can get in for surgery, which I understand. If it doesn’t impact his off-season training too much, I understand why he wants to keep playing, but if he ends up not being able to start training until August, then I question their plan. We’ll wait and see what exactly unfolds.

Sharks

Kane-Pavelski-Donskoi
Hertl-Couture-Boedker
Meier-Tierney-Lebanc
Goodrow-Fehr-Sorenson

Ryan-Burns
Vlasic-Braun
Dillon-Demelo

Jones

Demolo has seven points in his last six games, all assists, and he is getting more PP time as of late. He is starting to play a bit more lately, up to 15 min/game, and they feel his decisions with the puck have really improved. They would like him to shoot more, however. He only has 56 shots all season. They have been very careful of not giving him too many minutes or responsibilities but like his progress.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…

From Fear the Fin:

A win tonight will allow San Jose to stay ahead of the teams chasing it in the Pacific Division. Los Angeles is currently holding onto the third spot, but is just one point behind after a shootout loss to the Arizona Coyotes last night. Meanwhile, Anaheim is three points back, but the Ducks are also on the outside looking in. At this point, falling out of the Pacific also means falling out of the playoff picture altogether, something the Sharks cannot afford to do.

As for the Oilers, mathematically they are still in the playoff race, but realistically, their season ends on April 7. The Oilers are playing for pride at this point and they have plenty of firepower to make a win against any team in the league a possibility. They’re also angry and frustrated after a heavy game in Calgary last night that ended in a 1-0 loss.

TONIGHT…

Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk

GAME DAY PREDICTION: Oilers playing second game in as many nights and Sharks are hungry for a win. Oilers lose 4-3.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers get two PP opportunities. In their first 35 home games they have had two or fewer PPs 17 times.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Baggedmilk is disgruntled as he prepares another “#BeetCast.” He decides to spice it up and adds some hot sauce and mayo to his beets and really enjoys the flavour combination. He likes his new “Hot Beets.”

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  • T Ambrosini

    Credit to David Staples for one of the funniest lines I have read in a long time regarding our second line… “This was the Hindenburg Line, a big flying German with no wings”.

    Priceless and sadly true

    • TruthHurts98

      Leon is so grossly overpaid, Pastrnak is paid 6 mil/year and is a better player. Leon will never be able to compete with those numbers. But that’s what happens when Boston fires PC for his horrible moves and then the Oilers hire him. Complete mess. 8.5 mil/year for not much production away from Connor. One good playoff series and he gets an extra 2.5 mil/year! Remember John Druce? Look him up.

      • Soccer Steve

        You are wrong. At his age and in the cap era he is probably currently overpaid by 0.5-1.5 million. With his arrow pointing the way it is, he should (italics there) be paid fair in his early prime year.

      • Hemmercules

        Overpaid, yes. Grossly, no. His point production is on par with other players making the same or more money. He obviously gets a bit more than a winger because he plays centre as well. I was hoping they would get him at 7 or 7.5 per season but after having a great regular season and playoffs in a contract year I’m not surprised he got what he got. Its too bad they didn’t bridge deal him for around the same as Pastrnak but then they might have to spend 10 just to keep him in 2 years. The fact that the team isn’t doing well this year makes it look worse too. Hopefully the team rebounds from this disaster season and that contract will better going forward.

        Boston did well to get Pastrnak at that price though, no denying that. Just to nitpick, the number is actually 6.7 so 1.8 mil less than Drai.

        • Soccer Steve

          Agreed.
          A good litmus test for knowing if a player is overpaid or not is imagining if other teams would trade for him. Would other teams trade for Drai? YES they would, therefore not overpaid. Would other teams trade for Russell? I doubt it, therefore overpaid. Would other teams trade for Lucic? NO, therefore vastly overpaid.

      • OilersGM

        I think during the duration of the contract Leon is worth it as the cap goes up every year. Should Chiarelli have done better yeh, he should’ve compared it to Gaudreau,Scheifele, MacKinnon,Monahan and others but let’s take it easy on Leon it’s not his fault Chiarelli panics every time he makes a decision. To me Leon is the least of this teams problems.

  • QuitForRealThisTime

    Can we get confirmation as to wether or not boarding will a penalty in tonights game? Players may need to change how they play depending on this.

    • oilerjed

      At this point in the season who cares if it is a penalty. It should all be about payback. Game after game. Just keep evening the scores for the season. start fresh next year with a clear conscience.

  • Deezy

    So, we’ve got 3 players playing on their off wing in the top 9. No wonder the Sharks never won anything with these idiots running the show. I thought one of the goals of coaching is to put your players in a position to succeed. Simply put, McLellan and his buddies deserve to lose their jobs at the end of the season.

  • The Oilers are a team with questionable management, very little depth, a weak prospect pool, over paid fringe players and a superstar captain that piles up the points for himself but doesn’t know how to lead a team. Tough times ahead for this team.

    • Homer

      You had me till you blamed Connor. Worst run team in the league or very close. No prospects in minors due to horrible mgmt before current buffoons, current buffoon has traded away everything of value except Nuge and seem to have zero plans. New coach is no better then any of the last 10years of coaching carrousel and my faith in PC is wavering. Kassien has sucked all year, Lucic is struggling hard, our defence looks clueless we have no wingers left after we let Maroon go capable of scoring 20 a year and none on the horizon. PC better pull off a few miracles this summer or I smell yet another rebuild….woohoo local sports team!!

      • RJ

        Worst run team? Check.

        No prospects? Check.

        Due to past management? Disagree. Don’t forget they gave up some high picks to get Chia and McLellan. They also gave up picks for Talbot and the immortal Griffin Reinhart. Even if they weren’t selecting Barzal, there was a lot of talent in that draft. Maybe you like the play of Talbot, but I also look at the opportunity cost of acquiring Talbot. Would they have been farther ahead signing a free agent and keeping those picks? This year I think so.

        New coach no better? Agreed. Remember when they signed him, it was that they were bringing elite coaching and the ability to coach offence. Hasn’t happened. The PP and PK are also worse than ever.

        The rest I agree with except I have no faith that Chia will be able to pull off any miracles.

        Kassian is in a tough spot. He’s signed to play a tough physical game but he really can’t play that way when every second PK results in an opponent scoring.

    • @S_2_H

      Wow. You’re a twat. Mcdavids passion and competitiveness is the epitome of leadership If the team can’t get behind this guy then they can’t get behind anyone.

  • Randaman

    I’m loving the fact that Benning is sitting in favor of Bear. Bear has made some mistakes but you can’t miss his offensive instincts. Benning is too slow and panics when crowded.

      • With no retribution. Have not watched a game since the last time we played the Flames. Nothing has changed except we are back to turning the other cheek so far the head has pulled a 360. Nothing worth watching. Certainly not entertaining.
        #stillnotwatching

        • Hemmercules

          That was the first game I actually intended to sit down and watch since New years. There were cheap shots going both ways last night. Still would have like to see Kassian get some crazy eyes and pull someone off the Shames bench and pound them a bit.

          • WillyWonka

            ya, kassian, isnt he the one that failed to engage any other Flames except Gaudreau, literally the smallest player in the NHL? ya, thit was Kassian, took a cheap shot on Gaudreau as he was leaving the ice for the bench… ya, he was brave! so, Kassian did in fact go after someone, cheap shot on the smallest guy out there. cool. guess he was afraid to go after anyone his own size

          • Hemmercules

            @willy

            Like I said. There were cheap shot going both ways. I think it was actually Lucic that cheaped little Jonny. Good times. Kassian should be benched for not jumping in there for McD and RNH. I guess he gets paid less so a suspension hurts the pocket a bit more.

  • Leo Tard

    If you are paying to watch this team, and if you are willing to pay 3% more next year to watch this team, then you will continue to get what you are seeing. The only way anything changes is to stop paying for a s*** product. I learned this the hard way too… I now have a barely worn Dustin Penner jersey, a barely worn Taylor Hall jersey, and a barely used Jordan Eberle jersey of which I paid around $200 dollars each so i could go to the games and show my pride for the team. Surely the fans of this team have learned by now, that unless we stop buying the merchandise and buying way overpriced seats that nothing will change. Expecting changes while the money continues to flow is ludicrous at best and stupidity at worst. Changes will only occur when there is no money being made. This is a simple rule of business 101. Just ask Harold Ballard. He is famous for saying if it is not broke then dont fix it and look at the result. The Toronto team did nothing but make money during Harolds time, it did not matter that the team was bad. Ditto for Katz in Edmonton. Why would he change anything while it is working?

    • Leo Tard

      Did you know? That I can fly to Florida, get an overnight hotel room, get lower bowl tickets for a hockey game, take a cab to and from hotel for cheaper than a pair of tiks to a game in Edmonton? Seriously. Same goes for Arizona. (if you book flights ahead of time).

  • Danoilerfanincalgary

    Cagguila is getting a free ride here he just doesn’t do too much kind of reminds of Patrick O’sullivan literally no contribution same goes for Shlepy. I like Cammi but his time is up need the Cammi from 5 years ago. We need wingers that will actually do something relevant once in awhile.

  • camdog

    So does Klefbom with his injured shoulder get prime time minutes on the powerplay tonight? I guess if you have to ask the question you already know the answer.

  • KootenayHT

    That Pepsi commercial makes me want to puke. There should be a few oilers fans inserted in there, I’ll volunteer to go first. “Thanks For building a team with next to no chemistry and backbone.” I’ve seen strangers stand up for strangers in a bar more often than these guys stand up for their teammates.