GDB Game Notes: Ducks @ Oilers

The Oilers will go into tonight’s key game against the Ducks without Connor McDavid. Let’s see how they respond with their captain having to watch from the sideline due to his two-game suspension. Here are your game day notes.

1. I’ll talk briefly about McDavid’s suspension before getting into everything else. Personally, I don’t think two games is terrible for this hit in an isolated circumstance. Sure, you want to set an example and protect players from head injuries. Fair enough. But what makes this two-game suspension in the greater context of the league today so agitating is the lack of consistency. We’ve seen so many similar hits go completely unpunished and then, suddenly, a clean player like McDavid throws a headshot, and the book gets slammed down. Why now? Why not this elbow by Drew Doughty on McDavid? It’s so random that it’s infuriating.

2. If you aren’t agitated enough by McDavid’s suspension, watch this video of all the times he’s hooked, slashed, interfered with, cross-checked, elbowed, and the whole nine yards while the refs turn a blind eye. It’s shocking how little the NHL cares to protect their best player. Again, I can live with two games for hitting a guy in the head, it’s the hypocrisy and lack of consistency that makes me shake my head.

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3. The Oilers have been without McDavid twice now this season. He missed a game back in early December due to the flu and he missed a game earlier this week to Arizona due to spending an entire day at West Edmonton Mall. The Oilers lost both games, though the more recent one against Arizona featured a dominant third period with a gutsy comeback in the dying seconds to force overtime.

4. With McDavid not in the lineup, Leon Draisaitl has an opportunity to shine and prove his doubters wrong. A narrative has been twirled around Draisaitl that suggests he’s a byproduct of McDavid and he isn’t good enough to drive his own quality line. I mean, there’s some merit to that given Draisaitl’s mediocre numbers without McDavid, but, to be fair to him, when he’s centring his own line, he isn’t exactly playing with high-quality wingers.

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5. In the two games McDavid has missed, Draisaitl has been very good. In the Dallas game, he was on the ice for 26 shot attempts for and only nine against. In the Coyotes game, Draisaitl was on the ice for half of Edmonton’s high danger chances, and he picked up assists on both of the goals the Oilers scored.

6. This game is definitely a must-win for the Oilers. Anaheim is ahead of them in the standings and Minnesota won last night, so Edmonton needs to win to jump the Ducks in the standings and get back within six points of the Wild. The Oilers have played well their last few games. They’ve earned three of four points on this current homestand with some gutsy efforts, and, despite losing all three games on their Eastern Swing, the team played hard.

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7. The Ducks have gone 3-2 since firing head coach Randy Carlyle. Bob Murray, oddly enough, decided to step behind the bench to replace Carlyle despite the fact he had never coached before. It was an odd decision, but it’ll give him a very clear indication of which players he wants to keep around and which ones should go.

8. It’s incredible that the Ducks are still in the playoff mix given the fact they’ve had two different seven-game losing streaks and a 12-game losing streak this season. They’re the worst team in the league offensively, as they’ve scored just 138 goals 61 games. The Ducks are so bad offensively that Pontus Aberg, who was traded over a month ago, still ranks tied for third on the team in goals. Their leading goal scorer is Jakob Silfverberg with 14 goals, and their leader in points is Ryan Getzlaf with 39.

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The only thing keeping them even sort of afloat is goaltending. John Gibson, who is currently on the Injured Reserve, has been excellent this year, as has backup Ryan Miller. With Gibson sidelined, undrafted NCAA free agent Kevin Boyle has been given a chance with the Ducks. Through three games, he’s stopped 85 of 89 shots.

9. The Ducks have been absolutely decimated by injuries this season. Adam Henrique and Brandon Montour are the only players on the team who have played in all 61 games. Cam Fowler, Rickard Rakell, Ryan Kesler, Ondrej Kase, and Corey Perry have all missed significant time due to different injuries. The only key players the Ducks have on the shelf right now are Gibson and Kase, meaning they’re close to their ideal lineup as they have been all season.

10. Edmonton and Anaheim have met twice so far this season. The Ducks won the first one on American Thanksgiving 2-1 in overtime after scoring a late goal to tie things up in the third. The Oilers slammed them 4-0 in their second meeting back in early January.


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Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 2/23/2019 – 7:00 am MT

  • camdog

    When I seen the hit in real time before I knew it was Connor I thought 5 and a game and 1 game suspension. That was without replays, just my quick thoughts, because it was too the head. The NHL has a knack of over compensating for the missed call on the ice by adding a game. No other league does this.

    That said it’s good for the team and the executives too see what this team can play like without Connor. Who knows maybe a forward or 2 will actually play like they want to be in the NHL next year. As far as I’m concerned the team has been using Connor as a crutch for too long. Connor can sit for the rest of the season as far as I am concerned.

    • Ogie Oilthorpe

      I wish I had your amount of free time to troll another fan base. But I have family, friends, beer league and work to take up my time. Must be convenient to have mommy bring leftovers down to the basement when you’re hungy..

  • Clayton

    Oiler writers and fans WHINING about the treatment Connor get is getting old. First comparing that Doughty Elbow to Connors hit is a JOKE. Yes, Drew should have gotten 2 minutes, but they also should have tagged Connor for Embellishment on that play. The intensity of that elbow and the risk of injury is not even close to the play Connor made. The video of all the infractions against Connor shows a handful of missed calls similar to the calls missed against Kucherov, Johnny, Crosby, Malkin, Tavares and so on and a whole lot of hockey plays. I didn’t read the entire rule book, but I am pretty sure there isn’t a rule against hitting Connor.

    • camdog

      Either Drew caught Connor with the elbow or he didn’t? Go to the sports store, take an elbow pad and doink yourself in the face. Then come back and tell us it doesn’t hurt. You sound like one of those guys that’s only tough when your on your keyboard.

      • Clayton

        Never said he didn’t catch him with an elbow. IN fact, I clearly indicate he did and deserved a minor penalty for it. Equating that elbow to being anything even close to the dirty play McD made is hilarious.

        • Bman09

          You may have indicated that he got caught with an elbow but you forgot to tell the truth. McDavid was bloodied by the elbow which is an Automatic 4 minute penalty. Also the elbow was thrown with intention.! And speaking of Kucherov, He barely gets touched on the ice and when he does ho goes ballistic like he did the other night. So glad McDavid isn’t a big baby like kuchy!

  • DannyGallivan

    “This game is definitely a must-win for the Oilers.” They are second last in the W Conference, 27th in the league, have won 7/27 since mid Dec and recently 2/13 all with 2 players in the top 10 in scoring. How can that even happen? The realistic “must-win” ship sailed long ago.

    “He [Bobby Nicks] pointed out that when it comes to hiring GMs, including the hiring of Glen Sather [1979], the Oilers never conducted a wide search for a new GM. “With the Oilers, you go back all the way to Glen Sather, and how many people has this organization interviewed to name a General Manager? Through my research, it’s one person that they looked at…. Obviously it’s a mistake, as a I sit here today.”

    They never interviewed more than one candidate in 40 years! Actually interviewing GM candidates:Oil management have come up with an excellent idea. Insanity! – doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome.

    • Alfonso

      Both you & the Twitter guy couldn’t be any more wrong … on appeal the suspension still kicks in and in this case the appeal would never ever be heard until next week earliest … by then he’s served his two games … and if McD won his appeal he would stand to get his 134 K back only …

  • If Draisaitl has a good couple of games at center it would be a shame for him to be put back on McD’s line as a winger. If that does happen then it begs the question of why can’t McD drive a line without Draisaitl or RNH as a winger. If Crosby can take average wingers and makes them better why can’t McD? Wouldn’t it be better for the Oilers to have 2 good lines instead of 1 great line and 3 AHL lines, or has padding McD’s stats become more important than winning?

    • Dark Knight Returns

      Winning? What’s that?

      In a serious reply, to even imply that McD is not the driver of that first line and that he doesn’t make Drai better (or anyone for that matter) says that you live in a world of epic underdog stories where “the guy” (in this case Drai) comes and proves all the doubters that it was “him all along”.
      The Oscars are on Sunday. Enjoy

      • Jimmy_Gatz

        No offense. But how do McD’s numbers look without Drai OR Nuge? When Drai is off McD’s line he is without both – McD and Nuge. Claiming that Drai’s numbers drop without McD, is completely untrustworthy without regarding the other way round!

          • Dark Knight Returns

            “As talented “
            So …. if McDavid is the best player in the world Draisaitl is right there with him and is better than anyone not named McDavid????
            Come on. Draisaitl is very good, but he is not even close. If he were, trade him for the best D (Karlsson, Burns, Doughty, whoever you fancy)in the league plus picks first rounder plus a serviceable winger with term….. you would get that for McDavid (even more), for Draisaitl, not so much

  • TalbotsJock

    How about looking ay McDavid numbers away from Drai?
    5v5 g/60 this season
    McDavid 2.35
    Drai 2.26
    Togther 4.16
    5v5 points away 13
    with Drai-27

    McDavid Benefits from Draisaitl just as much.
    When we had some winger depth Drai torched the playoffs. So maybe we should wait to evaluate Drai when he his given some quality line mates.

    The criticism of his production away from McDavid is not valid. Its neither his ,McD or Nuges fault they have no help.

  • CMG30

    I think the call is terribly inconsistent with what the league has been calling elsewhere. That being said, a mandated rest period for McDavid is not a bad thing considering how much ice time Hitch has been feeding him.

  • Heschultzhescores

    A few things. Drai and McD are not the problem, together or apart. Talking about playoffs and somehow we are in the mix, clearly you are not using enough mix. This team is a few years from the playoffs, if things go incredibly well.

  • Datsyukian

    I don’t understand why Drai is being maligned so much. He is torching the league with goals, and had he had quality wingers, he would have left folks like Kucherov, McKinnon, Kane, Ovechkin in the ditch in the scoring race. His talent level is at par, or above, with all of the aforementioned players, including McD and Crosby. His passing is best in the league, including Crosby, McD and Thornton. I would definitely put him among top 5 star players in the league.