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Photo Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

GDB 50.0: Finish Off Strong (7:00pm MT, SN1)

For the last time before heading off into their bye week and All-Star Break, the Edmonton Oilers will look to get themselves back on track with a win against the Detroit Red Wings. Can they pull it off? The first step will be showing up.

After stumbling through what can only be described as a disastrous weekend and following it up with a day that was ripe with suspect roster decision, the Oilers need to find a way to head into their break on a high note. They need something that helps them feel good about themselves before heading off to Gord knows where for the next ten days. Something to help fans remember why they spend so much of their money and lives invested in them. Needless to say, the vibe around here has been toxic for a while and it doesn’t seem like this management group cares much, so all we’ve got left is to hope for wins and to keep sending out prayers that things will magically change. Would a win against the league-worst Detroit Red Wings help?

At this point, the Oilers are basically stuck in quicksand and we’re all on the sidelines helplessly waiting to see if they’re going to keep struggling and drown or if they’ll find the lifeline that saves their season/respectability. The trades they’ve made have been weird, the games are getting more painful to watch, and I’m really unsure about how much I’m able to trust in the process anymore given the people that are steering the ship. I’m not going to pretend to know what the answer is for fixing everything, there are plenty of problems that need to be addressed and some of them are deep-rooted issues, but I do know that the people that put the Oilers in this spot shouldn’t be given any more chances to turn things around. But as we saw with yesterday’s roster moves, the organization doesn’t see things the same way and Peter Chiarelli will be given every chance to crawl out of the grave he’s dug for himself.

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Given the fact that we’re now four years into Connor McDavid’s career, being this far away from being competitive is completely unforgivable and it’s getting to the point where I actually feel sorry for him for being forced to answer why things are the way they are. Yeah, you can tell me that there is still plenty of time left in this season, and you’d be right too to a certain extent, but there’s no way in hell you will ever convince me that this team shouldn’t be further ahead of where they are based on the players they started the McTenure with. When they drafted him back in June of 2015, the Oilers needed improvements on the back end but here we are almost four years later and they’ve depleted the skill on the wings and still haven’t solved the defensive issues. I don’t even know how that’s possible. Yet, here we are, hoping and wishing for better days while being stuck in this Groundhog’s Day world that the Oilers have created for us.

Oh, and I almost forgot, there’s a game tonight against the Detroit Red Wings, I believe. Need a quick start, get pucks deep, stay out of the box, and blah blah blah. Just win, alright? 

NUMBERS

OILERS RED WINGS
RECORD 23-23-3 18-25-7
WIN/LOSS STREAK L2 L2
LAST 10 GAMES 5-5-0 3-6-1
GOALS FOR 144 142
GOALS AGAINST 160 170
POWER PLAY 21.5 16.5
PENALTY KILL 76.8 77.2
AVG. SHOTS/FOR 28.7 29.3
AVG. SHOTS/AGAINST 31.2 33.2
TEAM SAVE% .902 .906
CORSI FOR% 45.83 48.32
PDO 99.43 100.38
TEAM SHOOTING% 7.89 8.38
EXPECTED GOALS FOR% 46.61 46.55

Numbers courtesy of Corsica (fancies at 5×5)

LINEUPS…

Oilers

RNH – McDavid – Puljujarvi
Khaira – Draisaitl – Chiasson
Spooner – Cave – Yamamoto
Lucic – Brodziak – Kassian

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Nurse – Russell
Gravel – Larsson
Manning – Benning

Koskinen

After the mayhem that went down yesterday with the Rattie and Spooner hitting the waiver wire, Caleb Jones being reassigned to Bakersfield, and Mikko Koskinen signing a three-year contract extension, I really wasn’t sure what to expect from Hitchcock’s line combinations. Now that we know that neither Spooner nor Rattie was claimed, the Oilers chose to retain Spooner on the roster instead of assigning him to the Condors. Patrick Olsen on Twitter had the breakdown on why this is possible. According to Jack Michaels, it looks like Rieder will draw the short straw tonight. Frankly, with this team, I feel like anything is on the table at this point and all we can really do is strap in and hope for Jesus to take the wheel.

Red Wings

Bertuzzi – Larkin – Nyquist
Vanek – Nielsen – Mantha
Helm – Glendening – Athanasiou
Abdelkader – Ehn – Frk

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Kronwall – Green
Dekeyser – Jensen
Ericsson – Cholowski

Howard

Over their last 10 games, the Red Wings have been giving up an average of 3.4 goals per game and a whole lot of shots against, which might be exactly what the doctor ordered for our boys. On the flip side, Detroit has also been firing a lot of shots towards their opponents’ nets and that could be a problem as our goaltending hasn’t exactly been hot fire over the past month or so.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

From Wingsnation:

The Red Wings road trip through Western Canada so far as been a disaster. In both games, they had a lead going into the third period and in both games they lost it. Their losing efforts as of late have plummeted them to the bottom of the standings where, after the Los Angeles Kings won their matinee game yesterday, they sit in last place.

The good news is they roll into Edmonton tonight where they won’t be the biggest disaster. The Oilers are currently out of playoff contention, though by a mere three points, and Peter Chiarelli seems determined to sink them even further. Yesterday, he waived Ryan Spooner, effectively turning Jordan Eberle into nothing. Then, it was announced that Mikko Koskinen, the goalie whose played a mere 31 NHL games, has been extended for three years at a $4.5-million AAV. He’ll apparently be their starting goalie of the future.

But enough about their head office moves. What about their play on the ice as of late? The Oilers are 5-5-0 in their last 10 games and 12-12-1 at home. Funnily, they are 11-11-2 on the road, making them a perfectly even and balanced team. Thanos would like them. In their only other game against the Red Wings this year, the Oilers won by a score of 4-3.

TONIGHT…

Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk


Game Day Prediction: After dropping two horrible games against the Flames and Hurricanes, the Oilers bounce back with a strong effort and a 3-2 win.

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Obvious Game Day Prediction: Regardless of what happens in tonight’s game, Oilers fans will be thankful for a 10 break from the emotional rollercoaster that is Oilers fandom.

Not-So-Obvious Game Day Prediction: Before the game starts, Peter Chiarelli will walk into his favourite local coffee shop and trade $200 for a small Vanilla Latte. He will then trade the cup holding the latte back to the coffee shop in exchange for them pouring the coffee in his hands.

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Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 1/22/2019 – 10:00 am MT



  • DannyGallivan

    Makes one wonder how many players we have currently playing on the roster that none of the other 30 NHL teams want. 30 teams anD no takers…..

    This line sums up the current position:
    “When they drafted him [McJesus] back in June of 2015, the Oilers needed improvements on the back end but here we are almost four years later and they’ve depleted the skill on the wings and still haven’t solved the defensive issues. I don’t even know how that’s possible.”

    All the trades (Ebs, Hall, Perron, Davidson, Maroon Schultz, Dubnyk etc.) and draft picks wasted (OMG – Reinhart – really?). We no longer have anything of value other than futures and we are worse off than we were in 2015. GROSS MISMANAGEMENT THAT IS HOW ITS POSSIBLE !!!!!

    • percy

      This organization will go down in history. The OBC are slowly destroying their history. They all followed Katz into the depths of hell. Guess they thought they were more than just hockey players. What a shame.

  • Hockey_Fan

    I think part of the reason that Chiarelli hasn’t been fired is that the player/personnel decisions are being made by the consensus of the Oilers ‘brain trust’ and not just by him. Firing Chiarelli would basically be throwing him under the bus for the organizations poor decisions. I imagine there would be some reluctance to do that.

  • Still Hate the Flames

    How awesome does Spooner feel pulling on that jersey tonight, knowing the team he’s playing for just tried to give him away (and to make it worse, that no one was interested)? Ouch.

  • Spaceman Spiff

    If you’re only a casual Oilers fan and not up-to-date on the Koskinen contract situation, fear not. The bloggers on this site will be happy to remind you of its details every time Koskinen lets in a goal over the next three seasons.

    • Rufio Barcoli

      Of course.
      It will be the Yin to Talbot’s Yang.
      Remember how for the last two years when Talbot let’s in a goal or loses a game-they would all come out and write excuses for him, no matter how poorly he played.
      They’ll do the opposite for Koskinen.

  • Lazarus

    GameDay Prediction. Koskinen let’s in another 5 spot sending Oiler fans into the break wondering how the next 3 years will go with their newly anointed Keeper

  • Harry2

    The only language Katz understands is money. Ive been saying this since the “Lowe must Go ” days. If you want a change stop financially supporting this team.

    • Wilee1

      Clowns on this site complain about Katz all the time. Think of him what you will, but he is willing to spend money, and eat money, to win. He’s paying Hitch while paying Todd, he’s willing to swallow millions on players in the AHL, he’s willing to pay for a large scouting staff, and he’s willing to pay big money to coaches and GM’s. He’s not the problem, and his massive wallet and willingness to use it is why the Oilers are still here, and financially competitive.

  • OldOilerFan

    I enjoy your writing BM as I think you summed up everyone’s feelings. Not much else to say other than fingers crossed we get to the break unscathed further and Chia can be fired already. If it wasn’t for Conner and the Nuge (love the Nuge) I’d be checking out the golf channer earlier …

  • Spoils

    sorry if this is a repost…

    really want to shout from the hilltops – FIRE CHIARELLI NOW

    also, don’t rush the rebuild.

    yes, I said it, we are in a rebuild.

    Step1 – ADMIT CHIARELLI FAILED
    Step2 – take note that we have the best player in the world signed with term and we have some quality support around him that is as young or younger.
    Step3 – hire a new GM (be patient here, deploy an interim GM that can only tinker, be willing to pay to get the best GM)
    Step4 – patiently build through the draft and by opportunistically praying on teams that are trying to rush a rebuild (oh – you mean like find the Taylor Halls we can trade Larssons for? yes).

    The goal isn’t making the playoffs. The goal is winning the cup. multiple cups.

  • VK63

    2000+ seats on Ticketmaster right now, many, by price, getting dumped!!. Well done Oilers fans!! thats the bullet wound that OEG can’t fix with a pompous bandaid and a foghorn dissertation.

    • Danger Pay

      Obvious game day prediction:
      A group of family and friends will gather and talk around seats they didn’t pay for, then give the rightful seat holders dirty looks when they show up to sit down.
      Plenty of fans will not be in their seats prior to puck drop.
      An upper bowl drunk will have to refill his/her drink at least 3 times during both the 1st and 2nd, making everyone in that row get up every time they leave and return.

      • Danger Pay

        I was looking into getting cheap tickets for tonight then I remember, Oilers fans will be there, No thanks. Just had a colleague return from Tampa Bay. She attended a Canes v Lightening game and said everyone was in their seats prior to puck drop. Everyone was nice to talk to. No one left during gameplay and everyone was back from intermission before puck drop.

        • Ted

          But the OILERS chant is sooooo unheart felt I’m sure the players hear too. If your gonna chant be biligerant and scare the **** out of the person beside you to wake them up!!! … The chant is sooooo sooooo bad it’s not worth it …. IT’S EMBARRASSING!!!

          • Danger Pay

            Agreed, Then there’s always an a$$hat who starts the chant right after puck drop. Can we let the game develop a little bit, let everyone get settled, including the players? Nope, straight into “LessgoOy-lers” right out the gate for no rhyme or reason.

          • Gravis82

            you know, this is probably on the city. Katz walked in with a certain design and then the city essentially said no to everything and they just kept cutting and cutting and cutting.

            Owners do not fund their own buildings anymore. It rarely happens. If the city wants the team they have to pay. We are a small city so this is what we get. Oh well

        • Danger Pay

          If I was Oilers management I couldn’t or wouldn’t care less about Neanderthal Oiler fans who don’t know how to act in public. Tier 1 fans, more like entitled animals with no etiquette.

    • Lazarus

      Took you all 12 years but maybe you have finally grabbed a clue..you are all guilty of enabling and all shoulder the blame for what has been allowed to happen. Who do you think paid for it?

  • President & General Manager

    Just look at that Oilers lineup. I mean just look at it. I mean just get a look at that. Oh look at that. You got to look at it this way, okay. You just got to look at it, that’s all you can do anymore.

    • Leo Tard

      I can’t look anymore. It just hurts too much. Would rather look/watch the Jets. Too bad SN blacks out most of their games and forces me to stream them. As much as I love and would miss Nuge, the Jets need a second line center badly, would Trouba and Ehlers for Nuge and Puljujarvi hurt too many feelings? Ehlers locked up for 6 yrs. Trouba restricted free agent. Puljujarvi could play with Laine and Nuge would get two fantastic wingers to play with. Edmonton gets an offensive RHD/pp guy that has not found his ceiling and McDavid gets a true top line winger with plenty of goal scoring ability. I think the Jets do this deal in a heartbeat and is a great hockey trade. Not sure how we would find cap space for Trouba but I am sure that he could be signed for 6M long term given the fact he wants to be a top minute defenceman.

  • RexHolez

    Game day prediction: it’s overall a boring uninspired game, mcdavid gets 2 points, Detroit gets 3. Building remains sold out and ticket prices increase

  • Reg Dunlop

    Leafs started to rebuild the same time the Oil signed McLellan and began the latest official rebuild. Toronto has flashed past us. Vancouver started to rebuild when the sisters went home, about 8 months ago. They passed us like we were standing still. Detroit started their rebuild just before the puck dropped tonight. They waved to us as they passed by. Regardless who is running the show next year, the goal at Rogers Place has to be, “don’t be the worst team in the league”. A lofty goal? Yes, but it’s time to shoot for the moon.

      • Dallas Eakins Hair

        I d be willing to be that once Talbot goes to team that can play defence and has a proven NHL goalie coach he has not quite as good as his first season here but close to it… Havinga team that can play defence and a goalie coach that knows how to fix a holes in a guys game can do wonders, I think we will see that when Talbot goes elsewhere

  • Dallas Eakins Hair

    the one good take away from this game, Chia one step closer to being out the door and Schwartz should be out the door too along with KLowe and MacT