GDB Game Notes: Red Wings @ Oilers

The Oilers will have an opportunity to go into the All-Star break on a positive note with the Detroit Red Wings in town. Here are your game day notes.

1. The Detroit Red Wings currently sit in a tie for dead last in the NHL with the New Jersey Devils, Ottawa Senators, Chicago Blackhawks, and Ottawa Senators. If they finish last, it would give them the highest odds of drafting first overall for the first time since they selected Joe Murphy with the first pick in the 1986 draft. Murphy, of course, was dealt to the Oilers along with Adam Graves for Jimmy Carson where he would help the team to their only post-Gretzky Stanley Cup.

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2. Barring some miracle run in the final few months of the season, the Red Wings are on pace to miss the playoffs for the third year in a row. It would represent the first time Detroit has missed the playoffs in three consecutive seasons since the franchise’s period of darkness in the 1970s. Between 1971-72, which was the end of the Gordie Howe era in Detroit, and 1982-83, which was the beginning of the Mike Ilitch era, the Wings missed the playoffs in 11 of 12 seasons.

3. At this point, losing is a good thing for the Red Wings. Their historic 25-season playoff streak that featured four Stanley Cup victories ultimately ended with the organization refusing to enter a full-on rebuild when the core was no longer good enough to compete. The Wings had an old and expensive roster when they missed the playoffs for the first time in 2016-17 and a farm system devoid of game-changing talent. In the past two drafts since ending their playoff streak, the Wings have selected 21 players, adding high-quality talent like Filip Vadina and Joe Veleno to their system. Getting Jack Hughes first overall would be a game changer like drafting Steve Yzerman in 1983 was.

4. The Wings will be a very interesting team to follow this off-season. There are already rumours that Steve Yzerman, who stepped down from his role as general manager in Tampa Bay in September, is planning to join Detroit’s front office. If the organization decides to move on from head coach Jeff Blashill, they could be in the running for free agent coach Joel Quenneville. About $18 million will be coming off the books this summer, giving the Wings the opportunity to make a big free agent stab at somebody like Erik Karlsson.

5. The Oilers and Red Wings have met once already this season. Edmonton won the game 4-3 which was a score that really flattered Detroit. The Oilers threw 42 shots at Jonathan Bernier and he managed to stop 38 of them. Without that performance, the score could have been a lot more lopsided.

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6. The Wings were right in the middle of their best stretch of the season the last time these two teams met. Edmonton snapped a three-game winning streak with that 4-3 victory and then the Wings went on to win their next four in a row, bringing them up to respectability after a 1-7-2 start to the season. Since that seven-wins-in-eight games stretch in November, though, the Wings have gone 10-17-5 and have won back-to-back games just three times.

7. The Oilers took a big risk on Mikko Koskinen, signing him to a three-year extension worth $4.5 million annually yesterday. It was odd timing, that’s for sure. The team allowed 12 goals in two games over the weekend and Koskinen hasn’t looked sharp in the past few weeks. The spotlight will certainly be on Koskinen tonight as he faces off against a Red Wings team ranked 19th in the league in goals for.

8. Remember a few games ago when Ken Hitchcock had a damning observation about the Oilers and the pattern of their compete level? He said the team only completes hard after they’ve been embarrassed and they feel they have something prove. It creates a vicious cycle in which they get embarrassed, they come back strong, they then get complacent. Rise, wash, and repeat. Well, if that pattern is correct, the Oilers should be in line for a big win tonight as they spent all weekend getting absolutely embarrassed at home.

9. If Edmonton loses tonight against Detroit, they’ll go into their break with a 23-24-3 record. Depending on how other teams around them perform on Tuesday and Wednesday, Edmonton could get passed in the standings by the Coyotes, they can get caught by the Blues, and they can be as many as five points out of a playoff spot. I would definitely call tonight’s game a must win. If

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10. I would definitely call tonight’s game a must win. If this team can’t beat Detroit in your final game before the All-Star break after the horrendous showing over the weekend, they don’t deserve to make the playoffs, and they aren’t worth adding to at the trade deadline. I don’t like to ever put too much stock into just one game, but a big win over Detroit with a long break on the horizon and Oscar Klefbom set to return soon could be a nice momentum changer for this group.


From peewee to the pros, Albertans loves the atmosphere, energy, and life lessons that take place at rinks across the province. And where there’s an arena, you’ll find an ATB branch nearby—with our team members cheering and fundraising along with you. See more information at ATB.com.

Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 1/22/2019 – 12:00 pm MT

  • Big Nuggets

    winning might give the official green light for a Chiarelli trade I don’t ever really cheer for loses but I’m torn here. I think now is not the time to be adding a player to the line up and if they do it only highlights the dysfunction of management. Just get rid of Chiarelli already and quit wasting our time.

  • Flint

    Just seeing that Koskinen got a huge contract extension relatively speaking. This is a very dangerous deal.

    Koskinen has only played 27 games this season and other than those 5 nearly a decade ago he was an unknown commodity. “The book” on goalies is a real thing.

    In his first 10 games he had a 60% quality start ratio. 6 good starts, 4 bad.
    In his next ten, he dropped to 30%. 3 good starts, 7 bad.
    In this last 7 to date. He’s at 43%. 3 good starts, 4 bad.

    He’s 48% quality starts in these 27 games. Not good. That’s well below avg.

    Cam Talbot is a career 55% quality starts. The best are closer to 66%. Raanta – 66%. Tim Thomas – 65%, Lundqvist, Crawford, GIbson, Holtby, are all at ~62% Price, Luongo, Anderson, Bishop all in the 58%

    Signing a goalie to such a deal on small sample is dangerous. Signing him on a small sample when he’s not even league avg consistency is ludicrous.

    Mikko Koskinen is not Scott Darling, no two goalies are the same. But lessons should have been learned from Scott Darling.

    • Flint

      Interesting when you look at the bottom end of the range, besides the outliers, here are a few of the names: Garon (49,4%), Toskala (49,3%), Conklin (48,7%), Auld (48,6%), Scrivens (48,5%), Ellis (46,7%), Deslauriers (46,6%)

    • Glencontrolurstik

      The Oilers D has been below average for years. A measure of this is the success that Dubnyk & Broissoit have shown after they left the team.
      On any given night the Oiler goalies are getting peppered… That’s a huge amount of stress for a goalie to take game-in, game-out. Anyone that has played goal can attest to this…
      Stop those shots on goal, minimize the stress & the Oiler goalies aren’t that bad. It would be interesting to see the shots on goal ratio when the team wins? Tighten up the D & the team isn’t that bad actually…

    • slats-west

      Sorry but there is a bit more to this signing then the stats you propose.

      1. Talbot will be traded. And soon as that deal happens you really are not dealing from a position of strenghth.
      2. You seem to have ignored his other games and stats including playing for Finland where it can be argued he played against World talent. In those tournaments starting in 2015- 2018 he posted GAA with 1.13, 1.13, 1.69,1.80, 1.62 and 2.01 Not that bad.

      4. I would also argue that KHL is not NHL however the GAA in KHL is also a lot higher as emphasis is on offence and not defence yet Mikko posted 2.42 (41G), 2.08 (23G) and 1.57 (29G).
      5. While I will give you the biggest question will be can he be a #1 with 60+ starts I would say we don’t know and that’s a big risk. However I would also argue that this guy does not have a lot of mileage on him. Almost equivalent to the risk they took on Roloson (he was always a #2 in Minne).

      I would conclude I thought the contract was too high. I would have liked this around $3.2-$3.5MM however there could be an intangible benefit that if we can agree that goaltending is “heavy on mental aspect” then removing this pressure of still playing for a contract for a July signing should allow Mikko to relax and perhaps play even better.

      Finally – can Schwartz and bring in a Finnish goal coach. The country produces outstanding goaltenders. Will give Mikko and PJ someone to talk to and perhaps the goaltender coach can provide some names of Finnish prospects for next years drafts.

  • The Immortal

    Must win for whom?

    I feel badly for the boys in the room, there’s a shtstorm out there and really can they be blamed for assembling that team? Granted they could play better, but some of them really can’t so….

  • The Off Ice

    I hate the Red Wings. In the 90’s prior to the cap the Wings, with their crappy Little Caesars money, went nuclear on the payroll spending. With teams like the Avs and the Stars responding in kind, along with the very low Canadian dollar, the Oilers almost left town. I hate the Red Wings.

  • Dallas Eakins Hair

    If the oilers manage to come out and play 60 minutes of hockey it will be because they are embarrassed again, not because they have solved their issues of showing up to play 60 minutes and how they cant play any defence in their own end at all…like defending there is non existent and they just arent capable.

    The coaches bare some responsibilities Hitch has got the Oilers playing this no hitting lets get pushed around style and it showed during the flames games because he was worried about the team taking penalties and how did that work out for us? It made the Oilers easy to roll over and we still took penalties anyway \, instead of the Oilers making it tough for teams to play against them they are a cakewalk and every team see’s it. The defencesive system has and is still brutal, backing in on the gaolie with your two defenders 5 feet apart from one another like they are tied together by rope and having them stick their sticks out is one of the worst systems I have seen., no pressuring the man, no pushing him off the puck lets just let the opposition skate deep into the zone and have all the time and room they need. Never mind that stand there with 5 guys in front of the net system while it is a shooting gallery during 5 on 5 and guy dont luscle the guy off the puck but stand there and wave their stick and hope to get the puck with no idea of where the opposition is and that brilliant system of when he puck is in the corner and all 5 guys are on the far side of the ice leaving guys wide open on the otherside, like come on now!!!

    And then there are the Oilers zone entries, especially on the PP, lets skate to center drop it back and have McDavid try and carry it up over the oppositions blue lineon the ight side of the ice while the opposing players crowd up on him because they have seen the Oilers do this play 80 times and get no whee with it…like if it isnt woking dont use it, like dont keep going back to it over and over and over and watch it fail again and again and again and here is an idea how about when an Oiles forwad get the puck over the opposition blue line and is stating to head toward the net or deep in the end the other forwards dont stat to turn back once the player with the puck is getting down by the house, like unless the play gets broken up why they heel are they peeling off?? The man is in alone, and there is no support, no one to pass too, and the opposition just knocks him off the puck and the other guys starts to head up the oilers way because everyone has fallen back already…offence would be nice

    The coaches need to go to the basics especially in the Oilers own end, they are just terrible the defensive position is brutal when the opposition is coming over the line…just allows way too much space to manoeuvre and score and it happens way way too much


    At this point I dont care of they win another game. I am completely over this franchise and will only cheer for Mayor McCheese and his yearly point race. OEG has done nothing but try its hardest to alienate fans and destroy a franchise. You can also blame the collective bargaining agreement and league wide profit sharing. Results dont matter when your business is still making money.

  • Hooker

    Let’s say they play their best, most complete game of the year. How do they build on that when they have 10 days off right after and start out on the road? Crazy schedule, just like at the start of the year

  • The future never comes

    The whole organization loves being mediocre to bad at their jobs, getting paid handsomely, having ultimate job security despite terrible results, and best of all – they get to hit the golf courses earlier, while those other teams are stuck playing hockey into the summer (what losers!).

      • Glencontrolurstik

        Although I don’t want to believe that at all. There is iron in your words…
        The Oilers team has to start having fun again… with that, they will play better. It seems they hate playing now, too much like work. Expecting a bad outcome is not the way to play hockey as a team. That’s what they are doing now….

  • You just got LITT up!

    ON read M. Spector’s article on Sportsnet Re: McDavid? Doesn’t sound good … I really think he’s gone. He will ask for a trade and frankly, who can blame him.

    • slats-west

      Spector left out a key piece of McDavid;s interview which was essentially – He did not think that there is anyone who does not believe in the team or their team mates. He also said he knows people (media and fans) are down on them and they need to play better but that’s on the players. So pump the breaks on McDavid trade or stop your wishful thinking….

  • Heschultzhescores

    I’m sure Detroit is nervous meeting the kings of first round picks. We can mentor them on exactly what it takes to be last overall. I can imagine how nervous the Wings locker room will be playing a team that could force them to take 2 pts tonite.

  • The Oilers should easily win this game, if they have any heart or pride left. However a win will only mask this teams faults that have to be addressed soon if they ever hope to have any future success. Leadership, a winning attitude, a porous defense, lack of toughness and weak management are some of the important needs the Oilers have to fix.

    • Glencontrolurstik

      It’s funny how Detroit is so low in the standings. I confess, I have not seen them a lot this season, but from what I saw in Vancouver they play a fast game with accurate passing plays. There were a pleasure to watch actually.
      For a basement team, they look OK. Maybe that says something about the parody of the league this year. What are the Oilers, 3 points out of a playoff spot? Are we playing .500 hockey? 5 years ago that would have been a dream. I agree it’s not looking great, but I refuse to let all these “Negative Nancies” influence my thoughts and bring my enjoyment of the sport to an all time low… Chiarelli has to be fired, that’s a reality & will make a lot of people feel better, myself included…

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    I woke up this morning and realized I’m done. The Koskinen signing and what that implies (that Chia is still in charge) finally broke me. I don’t care anymore. This team is going nowhere. I would prefer Katz sell the team to a competent owner, but unfortunately only Katz can make that call. I’ll still visit the site for my dose of schadenfreude, and I’ll always be a McDavid fan, but after 20+ years, I just don’t care anymore.

    • IRONman

      Wow. Koskinen has put up 91% saves. What more can you ask for. You want to rank the defence. True is the Oilers defence does not even hit the top 30. Kelfbom is as good as it gets. Koskinen has done a helluva job with the pathetic d in front of him.

    • Jon

      I came to that same conclusion a few weeks ago. Schadenfreude is the perfect word to describe my attachment to the team now. I actually kind of chuckle at how pathetic they are. I am serious when I say that I hope McDavid gets traded so I can start cheering for a new team.

  • Total Points

    Free Connor McDavid. He deserves better than this.

    PS – Also free Nuge. I would like to see him as a second line center on a contending team, like Winnipeg. Nuge would put Winnipeg in a very strong position to win a cup.

  • harmbasi

    I’m a Canucks fan and not even a fan of the Oilers but I feel so bad for the Oilers fans. The top people in your organization need to go. They have destroyed your team. Oilers should be in their prime right now and making deep runs to the cup instead they are bottom feeders again. Something needs to change. At this rate the Canucks will be competing for the cup sooner than the Oilers.

  • Gary Chalmers

    Just win, get Kelfbom back and go from there. Qne shift at a time, one period at a time, one game at a time. Its cliché, I know, but that is all this team can do. They should be 1 point out after tonight, they just need to start well.

  • Alberta Ice

    With everyone’s job on the line, this team should stomp the Red Wings (who are greatly ready to end their long road trip and have a break in their dreary season). Show case Talbot. Show case Puli. Show case Spooner and Rattie in the next AHL game too. Then make the next huge trade fixes from the show casing and presto. Into the playoffs where anything can happen. Yep, tonight’s game could be the turning point for the next rebuild. The winning streak starts tonight. Maybe.

  • DoubleDIon

    Flames fan here. I kind of feel bad for you guys, from a human empathy perspective. But then I come in each off season and see your ridiculous takes like JP and Rattie each scoring 25-30 goals and enjoy how bad you have it again. I like that you whine and complain but don’t do anything to actually force change. You still show up and fill the barn and buy your beer while the taxpayers finance your new rink for a sad sack owner making millions off your stupidity. Then you mock Calgary for being infinitely smarter and not paying for our billionaire owner to make more money than he already does. Some of you deserve exactly what you’re getting.

  • cityofchampions

    Given the realities of the Edmonton market, we are always going to have sellouts (as the last 30 years of mediocre hockey has proven, especially the last 12). However, what should be possible is cutting into their secondary revenue streams to express our dissatisfaction.. Tier 1 fans don’t need to buy bobby nicks burgers or $15 beers…eat and drink before and after the game. All fans (Tiers 1, 2 3) should stop buying Oilers merchandise until they put a team on the ice that is worth cheering for. The only way to get through to OEG is for revenues to fall. We know that enough people are desperate enough to buy season tickets, but we can all limit our purchases of secondary revenue sources to send a message.

    • Stallions #35

      That’s not going to happen…. remember when gas prices first went up and there was a viral post going around about how if everyone just didn’t buy gas for a day, it would make a difference? That didn’t work out too well