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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



  • 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.

  • 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 …

  • 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

  • Sparky Blue

    NSOGDPS – Baggedmilk exercises option to buy more Kulmans shares and lays in a good supply of at cost beets. Oilers continue on downward trend and the POHO laments how he could have pulled a Tambellinin over the last five years done nothing.

  • 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)!

    • 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

      • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Rama Lama

    Gravel is better than Benning or Manning……..by a country mile and yet he gets benched over lesser lights………perhaps we need a new coach!

    We could make history by hiring and firing more coaches than all the other teams combined…….sigh.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Oiler Al

    Seems to me that since Hitch took over, the team is playing like “cup Cakes”.
    Forecheckers coming in and barely getting bear hugs, guys in front of the blue paint are untouched.Time to get tough guys! We were winning games when playing hard nosed hockey.Its been awhile or far ad few betweensince Larrson, Nurse, Manning etc dished out some hits.

      • Oiler Al

        TKO.. if your talking Lucic well yes, but Kassian,PJ etc can wheel in a straight line to back check.If you are back first play the puck otherwise invite the forechecker in and the paste him on the boards

  • elliotsmom

    Still waiting for General Disappointment to do the Walk of Shame. Bobby pull the trigger. Relieve us fans of our misery and frustrations that Chia has be causing.

  • Odanada

    Love the pic of Looch pumping his own tires!!!
    Pete’s new “plan” is pump up Milan and trade him at the deadline!
    Genius Chiarelli! Pure unadulterated GENIUS!!

    NSOGDP Looch scores a Gordie Howe hat Trick!

    • 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

  • OldOilFan

    Oilers players laughing?

    I hope -tonight, anyway- that they are laughing, right along with us! All of us baffled and confused by the latest chapter in OilGate.

    Put another way, I hope the Oilers are “loosey, goosey” and feeling like “LOL, we might as well just have fun out there tonight… nothing to lose because it can hardly get any worse than it’s been lately.”