A long-standing tradition in hockey is when a player “puts money on the board” prior to a game. Often it is against his former team and it is a different way to try and fire up his current team to win. In an 82-game season, you look for different ways to motivate or ignite some passion amongst the team.
I’ve never heard of a General Manager doing it, but I can tell you if Ken Holland walked into the Oilers room, said nothing and just put some money on the board, the players would love it. It isn’t the amount of money that matters, it is the action.
When a team is winning you can do unorthodox things. I’m sure many of you remember Peter Laviolette wearing a bull mask during his post-game press conference after the Predators won games in Calgary and Edmonton.
“We had a challenge, to come into Western Canada and take four points…and this is the back end of the challenge.”#MustSee: #Preds head coach Peter Laviolette pays off bet wearing bull mask to post-game scrum https://t.co/lKVETvhOas #TSNHockey pic.twitter.com/LYurqW3lgU
— TSN Hockey (@TSNHockey) October 21, 2018
Laviolette explained how after Roman Josi scored an empty net goal to secure the win in Edmonton all the players were smiling and laughing telling him to get the bull mask ready. Little things like that break up the monotony of a long season.
It is only game eight, but Holland was with the Red Wings organization for 36 years and was the GM for over two decades. He’d love nothing more than to get a win against his former team. He left on good terms, so there is no animosity, but he is an ultra competitive person.
Just imagine the players if Holland walked in and put some money on the board. Often players will put money up on the board when they play their former team, it is their birthday or for other reasons. The money goes into the team party fund usually.
Last game Brandon Manning played his first game of the season and it happened to be against his former team the Philadelphia Flyers.
“It cost me a little bit, but it was definitely worth it,” smiled Manning. “You want to go out and play good, but when you get in the lineup you want to win. it has been fun to be around this group this season. There was a new attitude from day one and the good start only makes things better. It was nice to put one in (goal) against the old team and get a win.”
What would he think if Ken Holland rolled in and put some money on the board?
“I’ve seen a few guys, whether it be former players in front office roles do it against their old teams,” said Manning. “I also heard some good stories about Chris Pronger putting money up when he was in Philly. We will wait and see. I’m sure if he (Holland) walks in the room and puts some money up the boys will be pretty excited. He had a lot of success in Detroit and hopefully we can do the same thing here.”
Manning played a solid game against the Flyers. On a night where the team got crushed in shots against and possession numbers, Manning was a positive across the board from CF% to FF% to SF-SA, and as a bonus he scored a goal.
He played his best game as an Oiler on Wednesday. It wasn’t flashy or spectacular, but he was very steady. He looked much better than he did last year. Did he feel he had more to prove heading into this camp than in previous seasons?
“I feel I’ve always had something to prove,” said Manning. “Whatever training camp I went into, whether you are playing as a 5-6 D-man, or trying to make the team as a young guy, you are always trying to get more ice time or establish yourself.
“I don’t think there are a whole lot of guys in the league who are established NHL players. There is so much change, and so much turnover you have to keep proving yourself, whether you are an offensive guy or a defensive defenceman.
“For me it was more about clearing my head and coming in fresh. Whether that was going to be here, with Bakersfield or another organization. There were a lot of unknowns. With the way things have gone, I’m obviously pretty happy to still be here and get an opportunity.
“I think last year I came in and tried to do a bit too much. Tried to be too physical. It was nice, they kept my minutes down last game and that makes it a bit easier to get in a groove,” said Manning.
With two injuries on the blueline already, the Oilers’ depth will be tested. If Manning can fill a hole, and be responsible defensively that will be a big bonus. It was only one game, but he started this season much better than last year.
The Real Steal-RNH-Chiasson
Dave Tippett was noticeably irritated after Wednesday’s 6-3 victory. He was much more jovial today, which was expected. Tippett doesn’t want this team to let bad habits creep in, and you can be a bit harder on players when the team is winning, especially when you play as poorly as they did against the Flyers.
I asked Tippett which areas he was most frustrated with.
“Attention to detail when defending,” he answered.
“When I say defending, it is not just checking. You defend well with the decisions you make with the puck. It was combination of leaving the slot open, turning away, poor details in turnovers and taking bad penalties. All three were no-nos. I think they had 25 attempts on their powerplays. That is putting yourself in a big deficit. I recognize what really happens in the game and look to keep the percentages in our favour, and when we do that we will be fine. That game was not a good percentage game for us.”
I expect the Oilers to be much better tonight and take advantage of a tired and struggling Detroit Red Wings team.
Helm- de la Rose-Abdelkader
The Red Wings top line has been very dangerous, mainly Anthony Mantha who has 6-4-10 in seven games. Dylan Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi each have seven points. This line has scored eleven of the Wings 18 goals.
Like the Oilers, the Wings have six forwards with goals and six without.
The Wings special teams have struggled mightily. Their PP is 26th in the league at 10% (2 of 20), while their PK is 24th at 69.6%. But on the road their PK has been awful allowing seven goals on 15 chances (53.3%).
The Oilers come in with the league’s best PP at 45.5%, and their PK, despite an off-night against Philly, is still 5th in the NHL at 88.5%. Edmonton needs to take advantage of what looks like a special teams mismatch.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…
Following last night’s 5-1 defeat against the Flames, the Red Wings are looking to record at least one win during the final game of their three-game road trip. Along with losing three straight games, the Red Wings have also allowed a combined 15 goals over that same span as well.
With the way the Oilers have been scoring goals at such a high rate this season, that number will probably rise even higher after tonight’s game. Although, preventing an opponent from scoring five goals for the fourth game in a row will likely be an accomplishment for the Red Wings, even if they don’t come away with the win.
GAME DAY PREDICTION: I’m off to my best start ever. I’m a perfect 4-0 in GDB predictions. I, like the Oilers, will remain hot as Edmonton skates away with a 5-1 victory.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: McDavid and Draisaitl continue their torrid start as each pick up at least two more points.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The trend of scoring against your former team works in the Oilers favour for once. Tomas Jurco scores his first NHL goal since March 29th, 2018.
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