Photo Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

GDB 76.0: Scouting Report (7pm MT, SNW)

Watching a game in full speed, even with slow motion replay, we often miss things. You can then look at what the stats and analytics say, but they too will miss specific details. Often you have to watch video repeatedly to get a better understanding of what is going right, or more often, what is going wrong with a player.

Real time doesn’t allow us to see a small technical weakness, nor does analytics. Watching video, over and over, is where you will be able to pick up subtle nuances, but only if you have the capacity to know what you’re looking for.

When it comes to evaluating goalies, I’m well behind. And that’s why a few years ago I reached out to have a goalie segment once a week. Since then I’ve learned a lot about the position, but I’m still in the beginner stage and will likely remain there for a while.

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Mikko Koskinen is a hot topic in Edmonton, specifically his glove hand. Is it really as bad as some believe?

I talked to Kevin Woodley from In Goal Magazine to discuss. I asked him to watch video of Koskinen and then get back to me on what he sees.

“I’ve got to be honest with you, I don’t know if there is one answer,” said Woodley. “We talked about this earlier in the season (about the glove), and I looked at a bunch of film and I actually think he has good hands, I really do. But his footwork was putting him behind at times, off angle at times. On powerplays he was sort of fading and almost off square to the glove side. I talked early in the year about that windmill effect — the tendency to want to pull the glove up, which opens your shoulder away from the path of the puck, versus keeping the glove out front and tracking into the puck and having the body and the glove all closing in together. I think he’s improved — there are fewer wind-mills — and he’s keeping the glove out front and active more often.

“All it takes is a game like Vegas where it all comes unraveled and his glove hand is the focus again. When there is this much conversation around this and it’s become a part of the opposing scouting reports, you are going to need to do some work on it. If you’re not set, and you’re not square you don’t give yourself a chance to track the puck. You tend to pull up and we saw it on a couple goals lately, like the Brady Tkachuk winner. He’s a little flat off his angles so that is part of it — again, it’s a two-on-one, so maybe he’s hedging that back side to make a push across and because of that he’s not square on the shooter. As he pushes to the ice, the knee drives to the ice. If you drive your knees to the ice, your torso and head pull back, and your glove lifts up, and the Tkachuk OT goal was a perfect example of that. The puck ends up getting under both his vision, and his coverage and goes right underneath his glove.

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“Also the Schwartz goal in the Blues game. The glove side of the sharp angle, to me that is post play and still something they are working on, and not the glove hand specifically. It’s about being flat, off angle, and poor post play execution. In Vegas, Stone’s goal, again, it is a post play. Cody Eakin on a partial breakaway, I didn’t mind how he played that. He was slightly off his angle, but sometimes you just need to tip your hat to a shooter,” explained Woodley.

There are many different elements to goaltending. As Woodley explains, he thinks Koskinen has good hands, but it is his positioning that puts him in a position to be exposed and now players are looking to shoot there. One bad game and opposing players are like sharks. They smell blood, in this case a perceived weakness, and will attack it relentlessly.

Can Koskinen improve? That is the main question in Oilersnation.

“I believe he can, because I’ve seen improvements,” said Woodley. “The windmill motion was way more exaggerated earlier this season, and I see less of it. And that is a big adjustment to make, and there is going to be some imperfection in it if you’re changing the entire motion of the way you use your glove. The post play — it’s a challenge for him, we knew this would be a challenge for him. They don’t attack from dead angles in Russia like they do in the NHL.

“Post play was always going to be a massive change for him, but I actually like the changes he’s made, and the fact that he’s done it in season. They haven’t been perfect and there is still work to do, and a lot of it is reads. These are all adjustment that he’s made during the season and they are not easy. I’ve heard about the work ethic, and how much he’s put in to making them.

“The results aren’t there yet, all the time, but there has also been some really good glove saves. I like the way he projects it forward on plays in tight and along the ice low, most of the time. There are a lot of positives here too. I know teams aren’t allowed to ask players to stick around in the off-season and work with specific coaches, but I really hope he is going to stick around and do this work in the summer. It’s really hard to make big changes during the season, he’s made some impressive ones so far. I think it would probably accelerate the adjustment if he were able to spend some time working on it throughout the summer with the Oilers goalie coach, as opposed to waiting until training camp next season to get started again,” said Woodley.

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I enjoyed Woodley’s responses, because I learned something, and now I will watch for improvements in those specific areas.






Joe Gambardella has a modest two-game point streak, but he has looked more comfortable lately and Ken Hitchcock decided to give him a look in the top-six. He explained the improvements he has seen in Gambardella’s game over the past few weeks. “Quickness of thought. It takes time to adjust and to adapt to the speed of the NHL and the last few games he and Currie are processing the game better and we will give him a chance up the lineup,” said Hitchcock.

According to our friends at OddsShark, Los Angeles is 1-7 SU in its last eight games on the road

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Ilya Kovalchuk is back in LA skating with their skills coach. He and head coach Willie Desjardins are not on the same page. The Kings are in a tough spot with him. If he retires, his contract still counts against the cap because he signed it when he was 35. Maybe he gets a mysterious injury, and he goes on IR for two years, or maybe a new coach will connect with him better. Either way his signing has not worked out well for him or the Kings.


From LA Kings Insider:

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Willie Desjardins, on defending well and the overall performance:
Well, I thought they got lots of chances. I thought we played well the first half of the first period. They didn’t have a lot. They didn’t have a lot. They got some power plays, and then they generated some stuff off their plays. Overall, I thought our guys played smart. They’re a good team, a real good team, and I think we were on our heels a little bit but we didn’t break.

Desjardins, on whether quotes like Drew Doughty’s today tangibly ramp up emotion and intensity:
I think there’s always dislike between players, like every game you have it. It’s not just that game, it’s every game you get that. So that wasn’t unusual. You can see that in every game, there are certain things. But yeah, it does bring a little bit more emotion to it, and it was probably good for both sides.


Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk

GAME DAY PREDICTION: Some Kings fans, and their amateur scouts might be yelling right now. After winning two of 18 games between February 9th and March 18th, the Kings have suddenly won three games in a row and now Ottawa trails them by six points. The Kings are why I believe you can never completely tank, because players will always try to win. Oilers end Kings modest winning streak with a 3-2 victory.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Draisaitl picks up his 96th point and inches closer to 100. When he does the Oilers will become the 64th team to have a pair of players with 100+ points. Sixty-one of those teams made the playoffs. Only the 1988 Quebec Nordiques (Peter Stastny/Michel Goulet) and the 1990 Pittsburgh Penguins (Mario Lemieux/Paul Coffey) missed. The Oilers could become the third to miss the postseason.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The broadcast microphones pick up a conversation between Doughty and McDavid.
McDavid: “Your comments about Tkachuk made me laugh. You know how to stir it up.”
Doughty: “I can’t stand that kid. Good player though.”
McDavid: “Didn’t you stick guys early in your career?”
Doughty: “Yes, but never in a cheap way (laughs). Now shut up and get back to the game. It doesn’t look good us being friendly. Get ready for a stick next shift.”
McDavid: “Try catching me first. You defend like Burns (laughs).
Doughty: “You can chirp when you make the playoffs two years in a row.”
McDavid: “You are the verbal equivalent of Tkachuk. Cheap.”


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Recently by Jason Gregor:

Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 3/26/2019 – 1:00 pm MT

      • HockeyIQ150

        That’s all you’ll have. As long as the focus is on McDavid’s numbers instead of winning games the team will go nowhere. Truly great players can make it work with anyone. McDavid NEEDS another top talent to be successful on offense and only skates back hard on odd man rushes. If he skated back hard on every play the defense could step up and stop more scoring chances instead of backing up on top of the goalie.

        • El Connor mcdaddy

          Well I think you had a decent point about the focus needing to be on the betterment of the team rather than just on McDavid’s success, however, you lost me when you started to to talk crap about Mcdavid. Mcdavid allowed Chaisson to double his previous high in goals, and has literally just allowed Zach Kassian to reach a career high in goals this season. Both not particularly top talents if you ask me, and McDavid is bolstering literally every d-man’s numbers on the PP. McDavid can make any player in the league look like a super star. Also watch any other elite scorer in the game and tell me if their defensive game is flawless maybe besides Bergeron. People only beak McDavids defense because there is nothing else to make fun of. Defense isnt his job btw. So stop asking him to be a Norris winning defensmen and a 100 point scorer.

  • Dallas Eakins Hair

    The Oilers lack killer instinct and there seemns no sense of urgency. The last trwo games shots stats speak for itself, not enough offence. I said this in the Hitch thread, these guys are too defence focused, they do not chase the puck enough in the offensive zone and they do not go after the puck hard enough in the offensive zone, they do not pressure other teams enough dont battle enough and just are too lackadaisical in the offensive zone, the minute the puck gets in guys are turning back thinking defense and there is not enough support for the puck carrier. This is a systems issue a coaching failure. What we are witnessing is guys not knowing what to do and when to do it, other teams are relentless in the puck pursuit on the offensive and defensive side of the game, this boils down to coaching strategy, systems tactics and the message being communicated to the players. The Oilers are a mess on both sides of the defence and offence part of the equation it too late to fix now, but they damn well better fix this by next season, its one of the reason I dont have much faith in the coaching staff right now, its just not the right mix and its bee a mess all season on all fronts. DuStin Schwartz needs to stick to tHe Oil kings and the Oilers need to hire a proven NHL goalie coach, he has Koskinen in the same bad habits he got Talbot into and its isnt getting any better, if the Oilers leave Schwartz in control of the goalies, look for the same issue next season

  • Rob...

    What’s the over/under on cheap shots that Brown and Doughty are allowed to get away with by the refs. My prediction is 5 ignored penalties between them and 1 likely ejection, were it an Oiler on a King instead of the other way around..

    • HockeyIQ150

      Like McDavid, Kassian, or Lucic never hand out cheap shots. Sorry but an unbiased view has seem them do that plenty. McDavid doesn’t get calls because he does plenty of hooking, holding and cross checking or dragging players down before making a rush without getting called.

  • Glencontrolurstik

    I think Hitch said it best this week. (paraphrasing) When we let teams get behind us, that’s when we get in trouble… The teams with great footspeed tend to beat us. The teams without footspeed we’re OK with…”
    The above definitely is in direct correlation to how good our goalies are.
    When you look at the teams mentioned that gave Koskinen issues, they are the “get by our D & stay there teams”… If we fix that, we get better goaltending & we win. It means defending our zone & staying in theirs longer. AND Gregor, THAT DOES NOT MEAN TRADING NUGE FOR RISTO…..

  • TKB2677

    I like the fact that they are giving Gambardella a look in the top 6. He has 27 goals in the minors. I do not think he’s a top 6 NHLer but it would be nice to see if he’s an option for a bottom 6 role next year. They are going to need cheap guys that can play and contribute. Playing him less that 10 mins a min with Lucic on his wing doesn’t help you see what he could do.

    I would also move up Currie to Rieder’s spot. We already know Rieder can’t score and won’t be back with the team. So what good does playing him on the 3rd line do. At least if you give Currie more time, maybe you get lucky and he produces. At least you can see if he can play.

    • Dallas Eakins Hair

      I didnt understand sticking Currie down in the line up when he had his nose around the net was ,making plays and put a couple in the net and as sited on a couple let Currie go with the guys he has a best chance of scoring with, I get Reider has been a good solider, but Currie has a chance to fuill one of the roles on the team next year so why not try him out and see what he can do, the guy is hungry and has something to prove, let him do that, an early audition for next season isnt a bad thing, Reider wont be here

  • Spydyr

    Positive note: The Oilers are not mathematically eliminated with a handful of games left.

    Negative note: The Oilers floundered down the stretch and for many periods during the season.

    • Goaltender Interference

      The problem with your ‘positive’ is that the only reason the Oilers are still in it because of how badly the Western Conference played as a group this year. This was definitely a missed opportunity – even if the team only had 80 or 90 points this season they would have been a lock for the playoffs.

  • Abagofpucks

    When you think about all the games they lost because they couldn’t hang on to a lead due to talent issues, or the goalie had a stinker it just makes you feel lost as a fan.

        • Spydyr

          It is called being a GM. I understand after decades of not having a competent GM in Edmonton you find the idea of making a move in August that helps the team outlandish.

          • TKB2677

            It doesn’t matter if the Oilers had a competent GM. Not having a replacement for Sekera was not the reason the Oilers missed the playoffs. They had way more problems than just not replacing Sekera who’s in their 3rd pairing.

        • HockeyIQ150

          They should have brought someone in to begin last season. He was their best Dman, by far, when they went to the second round. A good #1 Dman can have more of an effect on a team than any forward. The team fell apart without Sekera. He was not considered by most to be anywhere near as important as I considered him to be. But I was told I didnt know what I was talking about. SMH

      • HockeyIQ150

        I said that before last season even started. While the “experts” were saying they were a “Cup Favourite”. Now he’s at least 95% but Hitchcock doesn’t like smaller defencemen and he will be stuck on the 3rd pairing when he’s the only Dman that gets the puck out of their zone consistently and effectively.

  • WheatiesHockey

    The Oilers scouting staff should be showing MK game film of Dallas Stars Ben Bishop. They are both the same size and build. Even when he is on the pillows MK still covers a lot of net. Watch Bishop and see how how cool he is playing the puck up to his defensemen. Like it or not Bishop is one of the reasons Dallas is likely going to the playoffs this year.

  • El Connor mcdaddy

    Now, I hate the Flames, and I’m not a fan of Tkachuk, but the comments that Doughty made, especially about Burns, made him seem like such a friggen baby. Doughty elbows McDavid literally every time we play the kings, I hate how Doughty complains about other players behavior but then does exactly the same things. I hope McDavid absolutely decimates Doughty’s baby ankles exactly three times tonight, and then Doughty complains after in a press conference. Doughty needs a big sip of mommy’s milk #baby.

  • Alberta Ice

    On a bright note, the Oilers are comparable to the Lightning. They are the only two teams that now have two or more 90 point scorers in the whole NHL this year. Good chance both teams end up with two 100 point scorers by the end of this season.

  • HockeyIQ150

    Well at least tonights game against a last place team is one of the 17 they play against teams playing back to back nights. Maybe that will help. I get the feeling if they played all 82 against teams playing back to back they still wouldn’t have made the playoffs.

  • Rama Lama

    Is JJ hurt? I have not seen him the last three games…….hope that he is not benched. I could think of at least four guys who should be benched ahead of JJ.

  • hagar

    There you go boys and girls, kassian, McDavid scoring winger. As a bonus, he can help protect McDavid while on the same line. Often too late to have a goon on a different line.