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Power Outage

You know that feeling you get when you walk into any room of your house during a power outage and try to turn on the lights? Nope, not back on yet.

You likely felt the same way watching the Edmonton Oilers powerplay last night. It was an exercise in futility.

The Oilers had five man advantages for a total of ten minutes. They didn’t score a goal, and only registered three shots on net, all of them off the stick of Leon Draisaitl.

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Through ten games this December the Oilers have only three powerplay goals on 33 opportunities. They scored twice against Colorado and once in Winnipeg. Their PP is an ugly 9.1% this month and last night it cost them the game.

“We lost the game in the second period, we didn’t lose it in the third period and we lost it on special teams on the powerplay,” said head coach Ken Hitchcock.

The Blues second goal had many in Oilersnation upset. I understand the immediate frustration, because Sportsnet never showed a clear angle that had the puck in the goal. However, the Blues broadcast did find one, and that is likely the one the officials watched. The puck was clearly across the line and it looked like it was across before Talbot’s pad was touched/pushed.

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A fair question is why did the Blues TV broadcast have that angle and not Sportsnet? The NHL would be much better off if they showed that angle to both fanbases, and do it for every game. It would eliminate a lot of frustration and anger. Transparency is a good thing. Why not have a simple dialogue among off ice officials and the TV producers to ensure they get a copy to show their viewers at home?

The review process likely had you baffled, but the inept powerplay was the root of much of last night’s frustration within Oilersnation.

It cost the Oilers the game. The Blues did their best to hand the Oilers the game.

Their five penalties were:
Too many men
Cross checking
Delay of game-bench (unsuccessful offside challenge)
Slashing
Delay of game-puck over glass

The Oilers got a powerplay right after Jesse Puljujarvi’s third goal of the season, after the Blues unsuccessfully challenged for a potential offside. It was a glorious opportunity to pot two goals in under two minutes, but they couldn’t score. I’m seeing the same issues on the PP now that we saw last season. Too much stationary play. They get caught standing still too often.

“We are too slow on the flanks,” said Hitchcock.

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“We don’t have enough movement on the flanks. We’ll get that changed. We are standing still outside the dots and trying to make plays instead of in attack mode. We are not playing near enough downhill. The major thing for me is our movement across the top is too slow, both with our feet and our puck movement and it allows teams to recover. We are in the zone a lot, but not much is going on when we are there.”

The coach sees the same issue you and I see, and now we’ll see how he goes about changing it. The most logical change for me would be to switch out Darnell Nurse for Matt Benning. It gives the Oilers two right shot options. It wouldn’t make sense to me to remove any of their three best forwards, who all shoot left, so that means a right shot at the point. I don’t see any other personnel move that makes sense.

Ryan Rishaug asked Hitchcock if the fix would come through a change in tactics or personnel.

“Really the only change we can make is on the backend. We haven’t even had a hockey practice with them yet. It is what is it right now and we have run cold the past few games. It was helping us before, but now it is probably hurting us. Like I said, we will get two practices in, fix it, and move forward from there,” Hitchcock said.

When he says them, I presume he means the new unit of five including Darnell Nurse.

I don’t believe Hitchcock was remotely suggesting Nurse is the cause of the powerplay’s problems. It struggled prior to his arrival. He, or any D-man on that unit, won’t be the focal point. I believe a right shot will give the Oilers more options, and Benning has the best one-timer from the blueline, so he’d be my choice on the PP, if they are looking to make a change. But ultimately the PP will succeed mainly off the decisions and movement from Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. They touch the puck the most, and set the tone for the PP.

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With two days full days of practice scheduled for Thursday and Friday I’m curious to see if Hitchock and Glen Gulutzan stick with the same five or if they experiment with a second right shot in Benning.

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SECOND UNIT…

Apr 5, 2018; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Ty Rattie (8) scores a third period goal against Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Malcom Subban (30) at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

I’d make a major overhaul on this unit. Last night Ty Rattie, Milan Lucic and Tobias Rieder were the second unit. Rieder has no goals this season, Lucic has one, but none in the last 34 games, and Rattie has two. Three forwards with three goals on the season won’t have penalty killers on edge. One of Nurse and Benning will be on this unit and I’d strongly consider Caleb Jones here as well. He was running the PP in Bakersfield, so let him show you what he can do in practice.

I’d run the Oilers new line of Puljujarvi-Jujhar Khaira and Drake Caggiula as the second unit forward group. Caggiula is a better net front presence than Lucic, because he gets in the goalie’s vision more consistently and has better hands. Puljujarvi can be the right shot shooter, and Khaira is feeling it offensively with eight points in ten games. I’d much rather see Puljujarvi on a second PP unit than the fourth PK unit. If you are going to develop him in the NHL then try to nurture his offensive confidence. Last season Caggiula had three PP goals in 65 minutes and Puljujarvi had two in 48 minutes. Lucic had three in 148 PP TOI and this season he has one in 76 minutes.

That trio created some good looks last night and Puljujarvi scored and had another good look early in the third.

I think the time has come for the coach to give the young players a chance. The veterans like Rieder and Lucic have had enough chances and they can’t score right now. If they find their offence, then revisit adding them on the PP, but for now I’d try the KPC trio on the second PP unit.

MONTH OF GIVING…

A huge thank you to Michelle Derk for donating her Realtor Fees again and to Karla for the great bid. Also big shout out to Paul for the awesome bid on the Oiler and Oil Kings tickets.

Day 13: Package #1: Fan Cave TV Room from The Brick

  • A LG 65” OLED TV
  • Gena 2-Piece Sectional – Charcoal (Option to pick another colour)
  • Allendale 56″ TV Stand – Anthracite
  • Delivery of all three
  • ***For the Sectional and TV Stand you can swap to another style. The Brick will redeem the retail value of those two items to choose whatever you want in furniture.**

You can bid by listening to TSN 1260 and calling 780.444.1260 or text 101260 between 2-5:55 p.m. today

Package #2: Train or Rehab like a Pro

You get to train or rehab in Leading Edge Physio’s state-of-art facilities:

  1. Three :30-minutes Zero Gravity sessions on the Alter G Treadmill
  2. Three :45 minute Swimex Sessions
  3. Two :45-minute dryland training sessions
  4. Two :45-minute sports/medical massage sessions.
  5. You and a friend will play a round of Golf with Grant Fedoruk and me at the Mayfair Golf and Country Club.

You can bid by listening to TSN 1260 and calling 780.444.1260 or text 101260 between 2-5:55 p.m. today

Proceeds will help out Santas Anonymous and Alzheimers Society.

Recently by Jason Gregor:

 


    • Jason Gregor

      The correct call occurred. It was a goal. Just like they got review correct on Puljujarivi’s goal. Suggesting league wants to grow the game and punish CDN teams is sour grapes IMO.

          • Serious Gord

            And jet fuel can’t melt steel.

            Ridiculous accusation…

            Was it a conspiracy that the cubs and Red Sox went all those years without winning the World Series?

            13 teams won cups in those 25 years. That means 5 Canadian teams and 14 American teams didn’t.

          • OilersBro

            I think the reason the States win is because of Free Agents. I love YEG but it’s a lot tougher to talk one into coming to Edmonton or Winnipeg than it is to get them to California or Texas… Not a conspiracy theory, we just have to find other ways to build our team

      • QuitForRealThisTime

        Is there a specified time after a puck is covered by a goalie or at least no longer visible by the refs that a play can still be considered ongoing? Two Steamboats, maybe? or is this purely subjective?

        • Kepler62c

          “Way too much evidence evidence” — are you suggesting the league fixes it so Canada can’t win?

          Doing some rough statistics, there is about a 2.5% chance that a random selection of 6 teams is not one of the 13 teams that has won under Bettman. So, from that perspective it does seem kind of unlikely a Canadian team has not won.

          However, 23 teams have made the cup final under Bettman, and we could probably safely say the league has little control over who wins the cup final series. Canadian teams have made 5 appearances at the final under Bettman. Statistically, you’d expect that about 36% of the time a group of 6 teams would have made only 5 appearances. So it’s not statistically significant that the Canadian teams have only 5 appearances. In fact, there is a roughly 50% chance that a group of 6 teams would have less than 5 appearances, so as a group the Canadian teams aren’t doing that bad on cup final appearances.

          Of course, we all know that while in theory every team has the same chance at the cup at the start of a season – in reality that’s not really true as those DoD teams were not constructed to be on equal footing with the PIT and CHI teams of the league. Also, pre salary cap era Canadian teams were at a significant disadvantage, so that’d be a point in Bettman’s favour that he’s giving Canadian teams a BETTER chance, and would also indicate the 5 Canadian appearances over that span is even better than expected.

  • Hockeytalkguy

    Nothing more can be said how bad the PP is right now, it just surprises me with all the talent on the 1st PP unit how they don’t create more chances. Hopefully some practice & rest can get it straightened out.

  • Spydyr

    The powerplay right now consists of passing the puck around the parameter then trying for the cross seam pass which more often then not is deflected or intercepted.

    This can be fixed by either watching videos of the teams that have the most successful powerplays. I will give you a hint. They have a strong shooter on their off wing that blasts onetimers at the net. The other way is put your player with the hardest clapper on the point and fire away. The big thing here and the Oilers have been guilty of this for a very long time. They have no traffic in front of the net and no one is collapsing on the goal after a point shot. Get in there and get dirty boys!

          • Derian Hatcher

            Cup winning teams do not dress players like Jordan Eberle.

            Championship teams cannot have players who will not sacrifice everything to make a play, block a shot, get gritty, stand in front of the net and take a beating, battle in the blue paint or along the boards…on and on and on.

          • Gravis82

            @Derian Hatcher That is simply untrue. Cup winning teams need players to score goals. It looks great to work had and block shots etc etc, but it really just means you are losing because you have not scored enough goals. Reasoning like this is why teams like Vegas can kill it in their first year while teams like the oilers are left wondering why none of their moves work. Seriously, none of their moves have worked, and they are all done based on the mentality you have just presented here. This is an old school way of thinking and it was useful at one time but it cannot compete with modern analytics and an understanding of what exactly contributes to winning. And its not how hard it looks like you are working or how much of a stand up guy all your players are. Good GMs merge the two methods, and the success is evident. Look at how Toronto turned it around and we have gone backwards.

          • Ya , i remember all those points Eberlazy piled up during the playoffs. King sized goose egg to the surprise of very few. Afraid to hit or be hit, giving up possession to a helmet, the exact definition of useless in the playoffs and most of the year for that matter. He was paid to score goals and when not doing that (Which he did not AT ALL in the playoffs ) he contributed nothing else. I see the Islanders have not bothered to talk extension with the wallflower either.

          • Ron Burgundyz

            We could not have kept both Hall and Ebs. One maybe, but not both as there is no cap room even with one of their contracts (Looch’s 6 mill is the same as one of their contracts). And while I’d rather have Hall than Looch from a skill perspective, I can’t even imagine how bad we’d be without Larsson on the back end. Wait, yes I can, we’d be exactly as bad as we were for the years before he got here.

          • Gravis82

            how could we have not kept both Hall and Eberle? We paid Lucic 7 million, overpaid Kassian and Drai and Russel. There. No Lucic, same defenseman with a cheaper version of Kassian and no Strome/spooner. The difference here is only a few million. And how many more goals would Hall and Eberle have added over Lucic? All of the goals is the answer. Larsson is great, but there are many of him out there to be had without having to trade a 1st line forward. It baffles me how people still defend Chiarelli as we are floundering in mid pack with the best player in the world.

          • Gravis82

            without larrson we would be right where we are now, with lots of offense but no defense. now we have no offense and ok defense. Lesson? Your GM has to actually be good and add to the team and not just do lateral or backwards moves over and over

  • Dapper Dan 3099

    Really, if their powerplay at least had a heart-beat recently, and they would capitalize once in a while, that STL goal wouldn’t have even mattered.

  • TKB2677

    I have said it before and it has nothing to do with them being left handed. Having McDavid, Leon AND Nuge all on the same PP unit makes no sense to me. They are all naturally centers with pass first mindsets. They need to take one of them out, I would pick Nuge, sorry Nuge and replace him with a more one dimensional guy – preferably right handed – who does nothing more than stand in a spot waiting to shoot. In their playoff year they had Letestu do exactly that. All he did was stand in the same spot and shoot it as soon as the puck came to him. I would still leave Chiasson as the net guy because he is good at it. This guy who takes the Letestu spot can be anyone. I would pick Puljurvi first but it can be Rattie, Brodziak, Kassian. Why not even try Benning. It doesn’t have to be a forward. But all you tell them to do, is stand in a spot, be ready, shoot it quickly. That’s it. Just like Ovie. All he does is stand in a spot and wait for a pass. He does very little else and guess what, IT WORKS!

      • TKB2677

        That’s great. They need help right now, not 2 years from now. I don’t expect any of the guys I listed be like Ovie but surely they can get a reasonable shot off at least once in awhile. If Letestu, a 4th line center can score teens in PP goals, you can’t tell me the guys I listed can’t score you 5 or 6? At the very least get a shot on goal, produce a rebound were maybe someone can bang it in.

  • smiliegirl15

    Has Hitch had Manny help with the power play? Wasn’t that one of the reasons they brought him on board as an assistant coach?
    That game started out fairly well last night but then went downhill so fast. Their power play is getting so frustrating to watch. Three shots in five attempts, three.

  • Randaman

    1st power play – McDavid, Nuge, Chiasson, Nurse (subbing for Klefbom) & Khaira

    2nd power play – Draisaitl, Pooly, Rattie, Jones (Benning Sucks) & Cagguila

    My point being that Connor and Leon each need to run a unit

    • QuitForRealThisTime

      Nuge was a PP distribution master in his rookie year? Was it an anomaly? Did they coach it out of him? Maybe he had a better supporting cast, don’t remember.

    • crabman

      the problem with this is you now take your 2nd best offensive player off the top unit power play. And right now Draisaitl seems to be the only one shooting the puck. I don’t think taking him off the 1st unit makes any sense at all. Maybe if both units played an equal amount but they don’t, not even close.

    • TKB2677

      So you subbed Khaira for Drai. Who shoots the puck? They are still lacking a shooter. Khaira is a grind in the corners, net front guy. He’s not a shooter. So what difference have you made. All you did was take off your second best player and sub in a way less skilled guy.

      • Randaman

        Yes, so the 2nd power play doesn’t suck! Leave Nuge alone with no talent on the second PP doesn’t cut it. Who says Khaira doesn’t shoot. He’s never had the opportunity so how do you know?

        • TKB2677

          Most teams give their #1 PP unit 3/4 of every PP. So you want to take the Oilers second best offensive player off the #1 PP so he can run the second unit for maybe 30 second if he is lucky?

          I got to watch Nuge when he was in junior so I am a fan of his and this is not intended to be a diss but he’s a second line player. Leon is a first line player on every single team in the NHL and he has the numbers to back that up. Taking a top line player off the #1 PP just so the second unit can maybe score the odd goal makes zero sense.

  • FanBoy

    The NHL needs to start sharing their “exclusive” view to the public in real time. What good does it do to the fans if we can’t see until after the game? Speculation and fear of editing is what happens which is not good for any league. NFL and NBA are miles ahead of the NHL because of this, they show all footage as they come. Fans appreciate transparency.

  • btrain

    We are now into the 3rd year of Benning being sold as a PP option with little credibility besides his handedness to support. Junior, no notable production, University about half the production of a Justin Schultz, and NHL his best totals 21 pts which Kris Russell has hit or exceeded 5 times (including last season with less PP time).
    Yet Russell is not noted for his offense or a go to PP guy and Benning is?
    You can try to sell Benning’s ability to get pucks on net but for me the shot lacks velocity and usually intention short of just hitting the net. If you dont have a cannon on the PP, you should at least be able to place your shots with precision and creativity, whether that be picking your spot for a goal, shooting for rebounds or looking for tips. You should also be sneaky with your release and picking your spots to pinch in.
    I think, like Russell, Benning can step in that role if the injury bug hits and hold his own making safe plays, but the fact that he is penciled in on either unit when the team is healthy speaks volumes of the lack of diversity and competence within this D group.

    • TKB2677

      I am not a big fan of Benning myself but every game I watch his shots are usually on the net. He may not have an absolute bomb but it’s usually hard and on target.

      Which would you rather? Klefbom at the point letting bombs go that 8 times out of 10 miss the net completely or a guy like Benning who doesn’t have as good of a shot but hits the net 6 or 7 out of 10 times?

      Personally, while it sure looks awesome seeing Klefbom rip a shot through a guy or going top shelf to beat the goalie clean the odd time it happens but I would much rather have a guy hit the net most times with a softer shot so it can cause a rebound or get tipped. The days of the point man beating a guy clean from the point are almost gone.

      • btrain

        Even accounting for the missed net, the heavy shot will win out in goals and grade A chances vs the purposless muffin shot that hits the net more frequently. Think of all the shots the 3rd and 4th line get and yet cant score. Shot volume without precision/skill will only get you so far. Which is why you want guys with offensive creativity and skill on the PP.
        The Klefbom shot is one of the reasons I would prefer him and the other is that he is far more skilled and creative offensively. He actually reads the play instead of resorting to the safe play.
        That said, my point of a lack of diversity and competence remains. Even if you prefer Benning it still amounts to a very poor option as a 1st unit quarterback/threat from the point. That’s on the GM not on Benning.

  • Kneedroptalbot

    I just love all the comments, excuses, homer reasoning,…when the Oilers play poorly and lose.
    Hats off to the Canucks. You outskated the Oilers all night, beat them to the puck, didn’t take self inflicked penalties, and played a smart discipline game.

  • FlamesFan27

    Who is the PP coach? If it’s GG, then nothing will change unless he gets overruled. He had Troy Brouwer on the Flames 1st unit PP until after the season was lost last year.

  • Aquavid

    Glen Sather traded Jason Arnott out of town for his perceived lack of ability to raise his game in the playoffs. He later scored the cup winning goal for the Devils in 2000. It just goes to show that you can’t accurately predict what players are really capable of in the playoffs.

  • Heschultzhescores

    You can see the stick in there pushing the pad and the puck in the net. I still think it was goalie interference. But bad breaks happen and the Oikerz had s ton of time to change the outcome of the game. Adversity happens. Good teams overcome. Let’s not blame one bad goal on a post with 3/4 of a period left to play.

  • AlexTheOilersFanSince2006

    It says a lot about how pathetic our powerplay is when a YouTuber can pick apart the Oilers powerplay in his kitchen. If a YouTuber can do that, it’s no wonder why other teams are easily able to kill off our PP. Hell, with us just constantly passing the puck around, we’re killing our own powerplay. A change needs to happen (might want to start with using he guy who was HIRED to run the powerplay), but I can’t say what that is. Regardless, a powerplay with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisitl shouldn’t be this pathetic.

  • Spoils

    This sentence from the athletic – “Bouchard is projected to be the No. 1 defenseman for Canada” – patience is a virtue – let’s hope we keep our powder dry, gather assets, and push for the cluster that has peak McDavid and full Bouchard. That’s the road to multiple Stanleys

  • Johnny Zylon

    Power play can’t score. Penalty kill can’t kill. And every team with any sense realizes they just need to stop McDavid and you have a great chance to beat EDM. Somehow we are still in the playoff hunt so there is hope.

  • HelpMeBabyJesus

    Two things continue to hurt us. Draisaitl is too slow and easily checked on the power play and We have no point shot threat. I hope people are slowly waking up to just how average Nurse is as a defenceman. Outside of the powerplay, Talbot is still not helping this team win games. I understand showcasing him for a trade but we need wins more. 2 game losing streak and counting…