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Photo Credit: James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports

Game Notes Oilers @ Avalanche: Out of Playoffs Annoys McDavid

It is official. The Edmonton Oilers will miss the playoffs for the 12th time in 13 years. Terrible, pathetic, vomit-inducing — there are a variety of adjectives and terms you could use, but they all lead to frustration. The Oilers current run of ineptitude isn’t the worst in the NHL, but they are one year away from setting a new level of bad.

1. No NHL organization has played 14 consecutive seasons and only made the playoffs once. The Atlanta Thrashers/Winnipeg Jets did miss the playoffs 13 of 14 seasons, but the 2005 lockout interrupted that streak. Same with the Florida Panthers, who missed the dance 13 of 14 seasons between 2001-2015.

2. Between 1971-1983 the Detroit Red Wings only made the playoffs once, matching the Oilers current ineptitude. Then they proceeded to make the playoffs 30 of the next 32 seasons. Technically the Devils franchise also missed the postseason in 12 of 13 years. The Kansas City Scouts missed in 1975, 1976, then relocated to Colorado, where the Rockies went playoffless in five of six years before relocating to New Jersey where the Devils missed their first five seasons. Over the next 24 seasons, the Devils won three Stanley Cups, lost in the Finals twice and made the playoffs 21 times.

3. You’d like to think the Oilers losing will end at some time. And with a new GM coming in, you hope it starts right away. The ineptitude of the management during this run, especially since 2009/2010 has been ugly. It needs to be fixed.

4. The frustration has reached new heights among fans. Some watch parts of games or none at all. It sounds like many season ticket holders will not be renewing their seats. And last night Connor McDavid voiced his displeasure. “It wasn’t good enough all year. We did our best to stay in the fight. It’s been an insane season. Coach/GM change. My frustration level is really, really high. I’m not happy about it. We have a lot of crap to figure out,” said the Captain.

5. Of course he is frustrated. He should be. The management did an incredible job to weaken the talent around him since he arrived. The new GM has the luxury of having elite players. When I asked Jim Nill if the Oilers GM job would be appealing he said, “They have the toughest assets to acquire; elite skill. That is a great starting point.” Many will want this job, as long as they aren’t forced to keep the entire management team. If they have the leeway to bring in their own people the job becomes much more enticing.

6. The final three games will only impact the Oilers chances of winning the lottery. They currently have a 6% chance to win the lottery, and that could climb to 7.5% or drop to 3.5% if they manage to pass Chicago and Vancouver. There is, however, one major thing to watch. Leon Draisaitl’s quest for 50 goals.

7. Leon Draisaitl is trying to become the 90th player in NHL history to score 50 goals in a season. It is an exclusive club, and it gets significantly more unique when you talk multiple 50-goal seasons. Only 45 players have done it twice, twenty have done it three times and 14 players have had four 50-goal seasons. Tim Kerr, and Alex Ovechkin are the only two of those 14 not currently in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Ovechkin is a first ballot entry once he is eligible.

8. From 1984 to 1987 Kerr was a dynamic scorer producing 54, 54, 58 and 58 goals. He was injured in 1988 and only played eight games. He returned in 1989 and scored 48 goals in 69 games. He was dominant on the powerplay and scored most of his goals right around the crease. He battled injuries after 1989 and never played more than 40 games in any of his final four seasons. In his prime he was a dominant scorer, around the crease specifically. I’d argue that during his prime years he was better around the net than Dave Andreychuk.

9. Fourteen of the 44 players who scored 50 goals once in their career never surpassed 40 goals in any other season. Players like Adam Graves, Guy Chouinard, Bobby Carpenter, Jonathon Cheechoo, Sergei Fedorov, Bernie Geoffrion, Danny Grant, Vic Hadfield, Rick Kehoe, Gary Leeman, Hakan Loob, Mike Modano, Al Secord and Craig Simpson.

10. Bernie Nicholls scored 70 goals and 150 points in 1989. His second best season, both goal and point wise, was in 1985 when he had 46 goals and 100 points. He played with Wayne Gretzky in 1989. Lanny MacDonald had five 40+ goal seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Colorado Rockies, but in 1983 he erupted for 66 goals with the Calgary Flames. Those two had the most goals of any one-time 50-goal scorer.

11. Edmonton product Johnny Bucyk was the oldest player in NHL history to score 50 goals. He was 35 years old when he scored 51 goals and 116 points in 1971 for the Boston Bruins. It was his 16th season in the NHL. He produced 83, 93, 75, 81 and 83 points in the five years after scoring 50 goals. Pretty impressive run from the age of 35 to 40 for Bucyk.

12. There have been a total of 195 occasions where a player scored 50 goals and 37 times a player reached 50 on the dot. And 13 times has a player finished with 49 goals, one shy of the elusive 50. Here are the players who scored 49, but never had a 50-goal season: Gordie Howe, Frank Mahovlich, Kent Nilsson and Rob Brown. The other nine all managed 50 goals in another season.

13. The Pittsburgh Penguins have had a player score 50 goals 16 times, which is the most in the NHL. Edmonton is second with 15, while Washington and Los Angeles have 14.

14. Connor McDavid picked up his 115th point last night and became only the 45th player in NHL history to do it. It was the 111th time a player has done it and the second this season joining Nikita Kucherov. Only 18 players have had 115 points twice or more in their career. I’d wager a lot of money McDavid will reach 115 points again before his career his over.

15. McDavid likely won’t enjoy his 115-point season this summer. He wants to be in the playoffs, and I’d be curious what he says to Bob Nicholson in their end-of-season meeting. If I’m Nicholson I make sure I have a conversation with him before he departs for the summer. McDavid will channel his frustration into off-ice workouts and will return in September a better player. He is always looking to improve himself, and it would be nice if the management team held themselves to the same standard.

16. McDavid has been the most prolific scorer in the NHL the past three years and he is always working on getting better. Nicholson has to recognize his management team has been the opposite and significant change is needed this summer.

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Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 4/2/2019 – 9:00 am MT

  • The Oilers have to dump the old boy’s of the 80’s advisers and hire a strong GM that has complete say in every aspect of the teams dy to day operations. Then he has to dump at lest a dozen players from this lousy roster for draft choices, prospects and players from winning organizations. They have to rid this team of their losing attitude and to free up money to sign the right players. It may take 3 to 4 years and if anyone isn’t on board trade them for players that want to be part of this rebuild.

    • corky

      How do you sell three to four more years of rebuilding to Connor? Doubtful he would want to stick around for that, making his first seven to eight years all for nothing.

      • Schmidt Head

        It would be a hard sell, no doubt, but it may be the only viable solution.

        We’re in this very same situation, year after year, because we FAIL to do what needs to be done….. year after year!

  • Danger Pay

    At least we’ve got the most competent management group that will make the necessary decisions to lead us back to the playoffs. (I just puked in my mouth a little bit)

  • Hemmercules

    Personal player achievements mean very little to me when the team misses the playoffs and they probably don’t mean all that much to the player either when all that hard work results in an early summer. Good for Draisaitl and McD and Nuge for having such great seasons but for the fans of the team its not enough to soften the blow of 12 out of 13 years without playoffs. There is only 1 trophy that matters and the guys down south look like they have a decent shot at it. That will be the ultimate blow to this pathetic organization if the Shames win the cup before they do.

    I miss enjoying hockey. They need a major shake up this summer. Any fans they have left after this season deserve so much better.

      • Hemmercules

        Katz saw what Connor said last night. The entire hockey world saw it. It’s bad. Really bad. If that isn’t the wake up call Katz needs I don’t know what is. This team has no pride left. The fans are embarrassed.

        I’m really really interested to see if they force all the old boys on the new GM or let him pick his own crew? That will be really telling if MacT, Howsen and Keith G are still employed by the Oilers in a few months.

        Thankfully there’s the NFL. I may not even watch an NHL game next year if the OBC are still in full control. Sounds like many seasons ticket holders are feeling the same.

        • I fully expect to see dumb, dumber and dumbest at the draft table, while being fed the BS that they are not involved. He is playing with fire if he chooses the gang that cannot shot straight (unless its aimed at their own feet) over Connor, If that is the case , I will be joining you next year in not watching the Oilers at all. Why bother if they keep the idiots? Results will be the same. He should have flown in to Edmonton and cleaned house already.

      • If the Oilers hire a great GM and McD starts whining about the team he is captain not getting him wingers as a priority over rebuilding then this new GM should trade him away and get players that want to be in Edmonton and want to be part of a proper rebuild. Great organizations don’t let the players run the ship.

      • If the Oilers hire a great GM and McD starts whining about the team he is captain not getting him wingers as a priority over rebuilding then this new GM should trade him away and get players that want to be in Edmonton and want to be part of a proper rebuild. Great organizations don’t let the players run the ship.

        • Hemmercules

          I think the OBC badly want to win. They just have no idea how to be NHL executives. They say all the wrong things. They don’t do anything particularly well. They have their job because of their names and the coat tails they road on to all those cups a hundred years ago.

          • Derzie

            And their names are known only because they played with Wayne Gretzky. Now, their names will be known because of Connor McDavid as well. A whole group of people defined by two hockey superstars. With polar opposite results.

  • Slick Stick

    I am a season seat holder and I voice my concerns against Katz and his entourage of KLOWNS ( OBC ) by not wearing a jersey to any games anymore and not buying any merchandise or concession food. It is only a small symbol of my frustation but I see the impact it has on many fans. Just look at all the empty seats and the number is growing. Wake up Daryl. You are very close to going down as the owner with the most futile record in the history of the NHL.

  • rnj

    Ive never been legitimately angry before at sports as an observer. Frustrated sure, but not really angry.

    Knowing the Oilers might be so incompetent that we waste McDavids career makes me angry.

    This is pure utter garbage, and Nicholson’s smile he does when he’s uncomfortable is the worst. In psychology we informally call this “monkey smiling” – it’s a sign that someone is not comfortable with conflict and has issues being assertive. I see this most in younger men who struggle with anxiety. It’s ok to have anxiety, but as a top executive this is absolutely something that needs to be addressed. Usually, this is an obstacle that gets tackled on the way up as it’s difficult to hit top level management without addressing your blind spots.

    His response to conflict cannot be avoidance and dissociation. Armchair observations of his body language and mannerisms reinforce the idea that he is not a competent leader. It’s so, so frustrating to see this level of incompetence over and over again.

    Katz, get your sht together and fix your organization.

  • Gravis82

    Guys and Gals, I hate to break it to you. But it was over when Chia traded for Griffen Reinhart, and the coffin was nailed in the following draft. We are only realizing it now, and that we have to restart. It is too late. Should have drafted anyone at 16, Chabot would have been nice. Done your research and taken Dobiois, and opposing GM did. And well, perhaps taken Connor Mcdavid’s linemate from junior in the 2nd round who has 40 goals this year? Oh, dont trade taylor hall or Jordan eberle, or the good depth players already in the system like Pitlick. Also, when you lucked out on a decent players, dont trade them for nothing like Caggulia and Aberg. Perhaps also don’t buyout people for no reason after signing them for no reason. It was pretty clear that all moves were made with 1 goal in mind….making the playoffs before season ticket renewals were up. Not building a long term team. But ensuring that fans would be happy at the end of year three in the building. This is why were was so much mortgaging of the future at every step. At the draft, trades, buyouts, lack of patience. They were on a three year plan to be the 8th seed at all cost. This literally all goes back the ownership.

    • Archer

      sigh – don’t know how often this has to be repeated, but the Oilers could not have drafted Dubois as he was taken before the Oilers’ turn to pick. Other than that, hard to argue with your analysis

        • Archer

          in hindsight, yes – but in fairness, at the time the consensus on Tkachuk was that his numbers were inflated by playing on a stacked team and that his skating would keep him from ever becoming an impact player. Sometimes you get lucky, and Calgary did with Tkachuk, as there were reliable rumours at the time that they were looking to trade up for a shot at JP but couldn’t close a deal

      • Gravis82

        Yes. My point was more that a GM who has the option of picking JP, decided not to after further research. We should have likely done the same. Clayton keller would have been nice too you know. Already an all star

        • Archer

          you can play this game with nearly every draft, after a number of years have gone by and things have sorted out there are always surprises, good and bad, and with 20-20 hindsight the order would be altered, sometimes drastically. The bigger issue to me is how the Oilers have handled JP, I think with another team his trajectory would be entirely different and in that event we would be talking about how Keller or Dubois or Chabot was a wasted pick and wouldn’t it have been nice to have taken JP instead!

  • Gaz

    McDavid’s comments last night should have Oilers management very rattled. For a guy of his calibre and public persona (to date) to make these types of remarks is horribly worrying.

    Worries over his completely justified dissatisfaction were brushed aside earlier this year by ON writers, but it appears to have been well-founded.

    This is really, really not good.

    • rnj

      Thought the same thing. Him saying publicly his frustration is “very very high” sounds like he’s near the end of his rope. I don’t think he would ask for a trade if we miss next year, but if we miss again the year after I can see it

      • Derzie

        What’s this next year or year after crap. Everyone with a pulse who has paid attention to this team knows that nothing will change without a gutting of the top. We know it. Connor knows it. Connor’s agent knows it. The next couple of months will determine McDavid’s future. If they get serious and do the right thing, Connor will come down a notch. If they don’t he and his agent start the clock to moving on. We’ll know by Jul 1 if Connor is part of the solution or moving on. Moving on will happen during next season if the OBC stays in place.

  • Schmidt Head

    If Connor McDavid were to do to Bob Nicholson (or Katz) what Patrick Roy did to Ronald Corey all those years ago back in Montreal, we’d likely see some changes in a big hurry!

    It would be unfortunate if it had to come to that but increasingly, I fear that there’s no other way.

    I can see NO indication whatsoever that anyone; from Katz on down, “gets it” or even begins to “get it” or worse yet, cares!

    Buying this team was never anything but a vanity project for Katz. He couldn’t care less about winning; all he wants is to hang out with his heroes.

    He is however, a businessman and as such, a massive, devastating hit to his brand and his bottom line will force him to act.

    Love and loyalty are all well and good but sometimes tough love is required and just like the lazy bum teenager that won’t smarten up until he’s finally thrown out of the house, this organization needs to be thoroughly and publicly humiliated to make it smarten up!

    If you truly care about the Oilers, don’t buy a ticket, a jersey or spend one penny on them. It’s clear management doesn’t care so they need to be MADE to care and that’s our job as fans.

    • Hemmercules

      The problem is, money is really no object to Katz. He’s richer than rich no matter what the Oilers do. Look how he throws money in the toilet on this useless management team for years and overpays every player, coach and GM that joins his circus. Losing out on a few playoffs games isn’t breaking him by any means. Always another person in line for those seasons tickets too, win or lose. And they just keep jacking the price every year. Maybe that’s to offset the lack of funds from never making the post season? Maybe empty seats would light a fire under him? Not sure anymore.

      Katz also doesn’t seem very involved so I’m not sure how much he really cares? Maybe he just gets tired of them being a joke and sells the team for double what he paid for them?

      • Schmidt Head

        Maybe you’re right about the money part but he certainly cares about his pride and his reputation and being publicly embarrassed is more than he can stand for.

        Men like him are always super sensitive about things like their image and being humiliated in front of the whole world is more than they can bear.

        • Hemmercules

          Can’t be embarrassed if you never show your face. If Katz was embarrassed he would have stepped in a year ago or sooner. I honestly don’t think he really cares that much. I mean, how do you stand by for the things Chia did, and the things Lowe has said, and the things Bobby has said and not do anything? Ridiculous.

    • Heschultzhescores

      Sadly, he holds all the cards. Don’t go to the games, Bettman will move us in a heartbea. We are not one of his treasured US assets. We have zero power to make Katz cut the OBC and get qualified management. The Katz era proves it. We can only hope they get embarrassed into doing the right thing, and so far their egos don’t allow that either. This is not what any of us want to hear, but it’s a sad reality. WE control nothing but the support we give our team.

  • Mitch64

    They will have to buy koskinen out after next season cause i feel that its only gonna get worse the other team going high glove. The oilers need to get a amazing backup next year on a bargain cause im pretty sure koskinen us gonna be in the ahl or back in the khl by december

    • Dallas Eakins Hair

      It was dumb giving Koskinen a huge contract for that kinda term based on a handful of games. The Oilers need to hire a proven NHL goal goalie coach for starters and get rid of Dustin Schwartz. But if I am the Oilers they better look for another starter, because unless their proven goalie goalie coach they hire can pull Koskinen out of this funk, look for him to be the back up because I would be he has a NMC about the minors thanks to Cnia and being sent down or cant stay with the condors so bet we get stuck with him and he’d be a tough trade… it would take a sweetner

  • Heschultzhescores

    “We want to play in the playoffs as a team, I personally want to play in the playoffs” Lots can be read into that statement, separating himself from the team in that comment. I think he’s closer to leaving than people want to admit.

  • Oiler Al

    Some interesting history in the write up, but for me the most significant point is last sentence in item #16…re significant change need this summer.I would start by hiring a real hockey ops guy..GM…coach. Even McDavid sees this.

  • madjam

    My prediction for next year is Oilers will have a top notch defence and goaltending to compliment Connor . Not sold Hopkins and /or Draisaitl will not be traded to accomplish this . Once season tickets give up their tickets , they almost never go back .

  • Dallas Eakins Hair

    McDavid is a competitive guy who wants to compete for a cup and when he was in that playoff run that year he had a lot of fun and that taste for the playoffs has him wanting more and I think he has a right to be pissed that the team has been out of it before january is even over, can you blame him for being p.o’d cause I know the fans cant. Maybe this is McDavid’s shot across the bow to Katz that he wants to see some real changes to the Katz. Honestly, there needs to be more changes than just some players, I have no faith in the coaching staff, Hitch is a great coahc, but his coaching style is too easily defeated in todays NHL , the assitants havent changed anything from last seasons assitants, its like they are following last season plan, the defensive systems PP, PK and goalies are all still bad…. no way should Schwartz be back with the Oilers.Lowe Mc T Howson and many others in Mgmt should not be back either…there needs to be a solid house cleaning. I get the new GM is going to have his hands tied because of CHia’s trades and bad contracts but uncle Bobs we have to take our time and talk to every other team to see what they would do has to be the dumbest thing I ever heard. The Oilers dont need to rush, but they cant wait till the end of next year either. They need to find a GM who has the sklill and savy to dump some contacts, find some diamonds in the rough, finds some hungry players who they can get cheap and dump some contracts on other GM;s and make a deal were they can and try not to take a beating in the process. The oilers have a lot of needs and not a lot of cash tplay with. I still say they look at McCrimmon or Mark Hunter and for god sake, no Mike Gillis….there is a reason he has been out of the game this long lets leave it that way. as for Katz, lets hope he actually cares about what his star has said before McDavid actually does get pissed enough to want a trade down the road

  • OilCan2

    We have two of the top five players in the world and Nuge is prime time. With Jones, Bear & Bouchard knocking on the door we may have a legit D next season. Jesse will have a summer for training and healing. Benson, Marody and Yamamoto will get a taste of the post season. Throw in a single digit draftee this summer and there in lies our future. I know a lot of fans do not remember the EOG but they gave us a bare bones NHL club while Winnipeg was shivering in the dark for many years. Pretty much every sport is about next season, younger, faster, better. I will be happy to watch the Oilers next season. Let’s see how younger, faster and better looks then. Note to Mr. Katz: spend some non cap $$$ on top quality hockey ops people.