In a long 82-game season coaches will look for different ways to motivate, and also for coachable moments that will help their team in the future.
Dave Tippett used both in the Oilers win over Pittsburgh.
Through 40 minutes the Oilers, outside of Connor McDavid and Zach Hyman, didn’t generate anything against the Penguins. During the second intermission, Tippett altered all four lines and it paid off.
He moved Kailer Yamamoto with McDavid and Hyman.
Put Jesse Puljujarvi with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Leon Draisaitl.
Tossed Tyler Benson, Ryan McLeod, and Zack Kassian together.
And united Warren Foegele, Derek Ryan, and Colton Sceviour.
The combinations got the player’s attention and they controlled the third period, outscoring the Penguins 3-0. And Hyman’s hat-trick was called back due to an offside. Every game is different, and coaches have different plans on when to switch lines and when to keep this status quo. Some games the changes work and in others they don’t. There is no magic formula, but this season when Tippett has moved players around more often than not it has led to positive results. Part of that is the Oilers have more skilled players than before, but also Tippett has a feel of this group and he told them from opening day of camp that when guys play well they will get rewarded.
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The best thing coaches can do for their players is prepare them prior to games. Have a plan, outline and explain it, and the players will feel more confident. But the really good coaches learn a feel of the game. When to challenge players. When to prod them. When to support them and when to change lines or pairings. When you see more and more positive results from in-game changes, I feel it is more than just a lucky hunch. It is more about an educated feel.
And then there are coachable moments.
Jake Guentzel’s goal was a set faceoff play by the Penguins, but it wasn’t one the Oilers hadn’t seen before.
I asked Tippett about the goal.
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“We looked at that exact play in the video before.” said Tippett. “Of the 12 forwards on the ice Nuge would be the last guy to make a mistake, yet he’s the guy that made the mistake. He went running out there, and he knew it as soon as he did it. He goes, “What am I doing? I’m never supposed to run out here”. I think we lost it (face off) so clean he took off out there thinking he was gonna get the jump. Right where that pass came, is where he is supposed to be standing. He knew it, I knew it, I didn’t say a word to him about it. Chalk it up to a bad moment, but we looked at that exact same play on video at 6:30 p.m. before the game. Just one of those things, a bit of a brain cramp.”
These are the types of responses coaches and players should give. Outline what happened honestly and it allows people to understand what occurred. Even the most cerebral players will make mistakes now and again. It just reinforces they are human. The NHL is so fast, and players want to make plays, so I understand why RNH reacted how he did, even though within seconds he knew it was wrong. It is a great learning tool in early December, and I’d be willing to bet you won’t see him make the same mistake off a draw in the future.
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That goal illustrates how one small incorrect decision can lead to a goal. And that is what makes hockey great. Chastising players for a wrong split-second decision is easy, and frankly lazy. The game is about mistakes, and you don’t see those decisions from RNH often. We likely won’t see one for a long time as he usually makes way more right decisions than wrong ones.

LINEUPS…

Oilers

Hyman – McDavid – Yamamoto
RNH – Draisaitl – Puljujarvi
Foegele – McLeod – Kassian
Perlini – Ryan – Sceviour
Russell – Barrie
Lagesson – Bouchard
Niemelainen – Broberg
Skinner
Yamamoto will start with McDavid and Puljujarvi with Draisaitl. Meanwhile, @Brendan Perlini draws in for @Tyler Benson.
Stuart Skinner gets the start. He was stellar in Seattle in the preseason stopping 39 of 41 shots in a 2-1 OT loss and he hasn’t played since November 23rd in Dallas. Good to get him back in the rotation.
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Kraken

Johansson – Wennberg – Appleton
Tanev – Gourde – Donskoi
Donato – Geekie – McCann
Blackwell – Sheahan – Lind
Dunn – Larsson
Oleksiak – Soucy
Lauzon – Fleury
Grubauer
The Kraken are also without some top players. Mark Giordano, Jordan Eberle and Jaden Schwartz are all out. Schwartz and Eberle lead them in points with 17 and 16, while Eberle leads them with 11 goals. They will be without their top-two scorers while Edmonton is without three of their top-four defenders. The Kraken’s work ethic is their calling card. The Oilers will need to move their feet and be better than they were in the first 40 minutes against Pittsburgh.

TONIGHT…

Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk
GAME DAY PREDICTION: Edmonton continues to roll with a 4-2 victory.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: McDavid and Hyman connect for two goals.
NOT-SO-OVBIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Larsson and Draisaitl have a lengthy battle along the boards and it culminates with both exchanging slashes across the knee pads and ankles.
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MONTH OF GIVING…

A big thanks to the Ranch Golf and Country Club and to Mr. Derk. Originally they donated one package each, but when the bidding got high they actually gave out two and we doubled our money to $8800. Thank you Corey, Wes, Tim and Dave for your bids.
Day Three: Pyramid of Giving
We will build a pyramid of giving to help the Holiday Hamper. It is a simple donation.
We will have 15 people donate $100.
Eight people will donate $200.
Four people will donate $500
And two people, or companies, will donate $1000.
And we will raise $7,100 for the Holiday Hamper. (Tax receipt included).

It goes from 2-6 p.m on TSN 1260. You can text the show between 2-6 p.m. at 101260 and include your name and donation
. Thanks in advance.
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