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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



      • Gravis82

        any why is that?

        Because McDavid is literally the only other good player to play with on the team.

        WHen Drai plays alone, he is with plugs as Nuge is up with McDavid.

        Our GOOD players are NOT the problem.

        Our problem is that we do not have enough of them.

    • Clayton

      So you are going under the assumption that Chia gets fired…hired by St. Louis and makes the Tarasenko and Parynko for Nurse and Drai trade…then gets fired from the blues and hired by the Caps to make the Burakovsky for Talbot trade? Because I think the only GM in the world that would make those deals would be Chia.

  • 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

  • Randaman

    Don’t beat me up too badly but who do we keep between Draisaitl & Nuge? This is of course to be dealt with by a competent GM. Do you trade Draisaitl (higher value) for a package? I would keep Nuge myself. Good dependable 2C that plays PP, PK, etc. We need to surround Connor with more than just two players (Nuge & Draisaitl)!

      • Randomfan

        I dont think anyone is implying you keep the 20 and trade the players that are producing. But in the current scenario you have to move a piece that gets you few pieces back that can produce better than the other 20 that are not producing. Or you wait till you grow from within. We all know how that went in last 10 plus years. No matter what this org does they cant win. The problems run deep.

        • All Ice

          Yep, keep being the team giving up the best player in every trade cause that’s how you win? If you can’t win with the current group and can’t trade anything but your best then you sit pat and draft. Long term thinking instead of constant downgrading of talent

    • Rebuild3.0

      What is it with oilers fans and wanting to trade the only productive members of the team? there are 20 guys that arent doing anything but these are the ones that need to go?

      • Randaman

        Because you can’t win with two or three players. #97, #29 & #93 are all we have. After many years of crap, this is absolutely pathetic! You want to stay with the status quo? Good for you.

        • Rebuild3.0

          no, the difference is that i’m not stupid enough to be blaming the only players on the team that are productive. what’s pathetic is that people like you have no problem with 12 players that dont do anything and instead want to trade two guys that are on pace for career years.

          • Randaman

            Then I’m afraid to say we will be in this soup for three years at least! Nobody wants anybody else on our roster or otherwise! I really don’t want to trade picks to add to this gong show

  • Alberta Ice

    Game day prediction: The volatile Oilers completely shell shock a tired road team to the score of 7-2 (like as they did to Buffalo) and make the Red Wings become as tasty as Buffalo Wild Wings. The Oilers get a bonus feather to its salary cap when Lucic gets a hat trick utterly completing this fowl prediction of a game score.

  • 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.

    • Odanada

      They need to fire Chia.
      They need to get rid of BN and get a real NHL hockey man
      They need KL CM & WG to winter in Arizona.
      They need a front office fans and players can have faith in.
      Do they need to trade Drai? I don’t think losing another trade and another asset will help anything

  • 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.
    I was looking into getting cheap ticket 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.
    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.

  • Anton CP

    I will now point out for the reason that why Nuge is terrible. He is the example for the Oilers fans willing to settle for mediocrity instead of a desire for better. Here is a list of players that was drafted at the same year as Nuge:Gabriel Landeskog, Jonathan Huberdeau, Mark Scheifele, Sean Couturier, Dougie Hamilton, Rickard Rakell, John Gibson, Vincent Trochek, JOHNNY GAUDREAU, and NIKITA KUCHEROV! Other than Hamilton and Gibson that everyone else on the list have all cracked the 60 points at certain point of their career but somehow Nuge is great? Everyone on that list only Gaudreau and Scheifele are paid more than Nuge but somehow no one ever felt that Nuge is overpaid? The only reason that Nuge is still remain as an Oiler simply because no one willing to pay any good price for Nuge because he is not worth 6m per year. You can blame the Oilers management failed on him but he has never lived up to the expectation. So for those still cheering behind the greatness of Nuge, you get what you deserve: a mediocre team for the mediocre fanbase.

  • Anton CP

    It is funny despite about the high among of goals scored by Draisaitl that people can still claim that “the offense died on Draisaitl’ stick”. This is pretty much what type of the Oilers fans are.

    • GK1980

      Maybe but the guys in front showed nothing again most of the game. Not sure how to cheer for this team anymore. Nothing inspires them and they have no swagger.

      • Dallas Eakins Hair

        I said this before the Oilers have made themselves too easy to play against, no pushback, they rarely hit, their stick defensive system is a team needing scoring badly’s wet dream, and their goalie coach has their goalie into such bad habits that the most mundane shots on them ae too challenging, not to mention the brilliant drop back pass and hope that McDavid o someone can get it over the oppositions blueline which they know is coming and just knock the oiler off the puck or crowd up the line and take the puck of the carie and head down the ice with it…. but this is the oilers change systems that arent working…no no…lets stick with it

  • bwar

    After yesterdays circus, I really can’t see how the players will be focus and ready for the game tonight. You send a strong message to three of your players that you don’t want them and two of those guys aren’t wanted by anyone else either. Then you top that off by panic resigning a goalie in the middle of a large slump who’s never had sustained success at the NHL level. What messages are being sent to the room? We will punish you for not being part of the problem and we will reward you for being part of the problem. Might as well give Chiarelli an extension about an hour before puck drop.

    • Randaman

      Large slump? Playing behind our D would put the top five goalies in the NHL into a slump as you put it. We may have stumbled upon a starter and nobody likes the choice. Go figure!

      • bwar

        It’s a massive risk on a largely unknown quantity. He’s been good, he’s been bad. That’s just not enough for me to stake the claim that he’s the answer.