Hybrid Blog: It’s a game day/morning after ting
So… we have a lot more than usual to discuss.
Let’s quickly go over what’s happening tonight:
The Oilers are right back at it against TB (TMPBY, per Elliotte Friedman). My friend Aubrey is playing at the Rog Mahal tonight so I’ll be at his show and therefore not be watching the game. I do, however, have my McNotifications on, so I’ll be watching #ThroneWatch even when I’m not watching #ThroneWatch.
Mikko starts in goal. As you will see in my simulated Morning After Blog, I do not fault Cam for what happened last night. And I’m team Iceman from now until forever… however, a good game from Koskinen tonight and the inevitable chatter will happen. FWIW, no, I do not think there’s any controversy this early. Anders Nilsson won six of seven in 15-16 and we all know how that inevitably worked itself out. Just pointing out a recent fact, not saying this is the same situation.
I would appreciate a big save from Cam though. It’s what his game’s been sort of lacking the last few weeks.
We’ll have a few other lineup changes tonight:
Koskinen starts at Tampa. Gravel, Rattie, Yamamoto all likely to play as well.
— Jack Michaels (@EdmontonJack) November 6, 2018
Rattie isn't losing spot with McDavid. He was inj.Strome no pts stays in but badly need some off juice from No 3 C. Lucic no goals 13 gms
— Jim Matheson (@NHLbyMatty) November 6, 2018
Based on all the evidence I could find, it looks like JP will sit out for Yama, and Khaira will sit for Rattie. My guess is that Garrison comes out for Gravel.
Other than scratching JP, which I emphatically disagree with after last night, I do like the idea of incorporating as many fresh legs as possible on the second half of a back-to-back. You see this a lot in the NBA, not so much in the NHL, and NBA teams often elect to sit their stars for fresh legs on one night of a back-to-back. That’s not as necessary in hockey (stars typically play ~ 20 mins in a game, whereas basketball stars generally hover ~35 mins) but rotating legs in other roles can be extremely beneficial for a tired hockey club. You have those extra players for a reason.
I would have scratched Kassian and Khaira after last night, kept the third line the same, put Yama back on line one and played Rattie and the Drake with Brodziak, but whatever. Or even dropped JP down and try one of him or Yama on LW, giving them some sheltered minutes against TB on the fourth line with KB and stuck Lucic and Strome with Caggiula. To be honest, I thought the third line looked pretty good last night. Apart from a couple of blatantly missed chances in the o-zone, they really did beat the tar off of Eller’s line all night. Eye test and numbers showed that. Yes, I’m encouraged. No, their actually semi-developing/potentially not bad recent level of play will not deter me from bringing up 27 and 18’s completely absent success from a productional standpoint.
I’m intrigued by the chance of watching (PVR watching) Rattie on the Connor McNugent-Hopkins Express tonight. On one hand, their preseason numbers were out of this world. On the other hand, they’ve been iffy from a regular season standpoint. I’m a optimistically blind romantic, so I think they come out and pepper Vasilevskiy tonight. And my wish has nothing to do with the fact that Mikko Rantanen is still illegally occupying Connor’s Throne.
Okay, it kind of does.
Oilers win 4-3. Connor with a generous three but really I need 3+ McPoints tonight like the Ottawa Senators need a break.
You see what I did there oh ya that’s a segue baby LMAO LET’S TALK ABOUT THIS:
— Ottawa Citizen (@OttawaCitizen) November 6, 2018
This is… this is something else, man. Not because these seven Sens (Duchene, Chabot, Wideman, DeMelo, White, FormenotasfastasMcDavid, Tierney) were privately shit-talking their bosses, because this happens ALL the time and this is tame compared to how other players probably talk about their coaches, but because of course it happened to the Ottawa Senators. I can’t stress this enough: THIS HAPPENS ALL THE TIME, man. Everywhere, too. Location? Irrelevant. Job? Irrelevant. Humans are inherently designed shit-talk their bosses, coworkers, supervisors, or subordinates. If you stuck a hidden camera inside the smoke pit of my former employer you’d hear a fucking parade of union workers throwing a tantrum so profoundly vulgar it’d make a DMX song sound pretty PG. God knows Teeps hated working for me, but it’s never been proven by way of a hidden camera exposing his displeased thoughts. These private conversations are a good stress-relief despite the fact that they never see the light of day. But these are the Ottawa Senators, so of course this shit is recorded.
Legit, they go to PHOENIX (with an OE, you idiot Copley) where they think they’ve escaped the ever-piling bullshit they deal with on a daily basis including A) being on a truly horrific NHL team, in B) the City of Ottawa, for C) arguably the worst non-NFL owner in North American sports, only to D) end up in the company of one of the biggest scum bag Uber drivers in North America. The Senators public relations staff issued a statement on behalf of the head coach and the players involved:
Statement from the Ottawa Senators – Ottawa Senators Coaches and Players United pic.twitter.com/bI8A3mpLdq
— Sens communications (@Media_Sens) November 6, 2018
What an org, man. Thank God for Ottawa. I wish we played them tonight. Bet of the year has to be NJ tonight.
If they had a hidden camera on me in the back of an Uber like on a Sunday morning at 2 am heading home from the Pint, oh man. Lot of untranslatable gibberish.
Late Afternoon After Blog, baby!
That was a glaringly hilarious error by the fourth line, beginning what was eventually a very tough night for this line. Here’s what I mean:
Oh that’s a lot of bad. Washington dumps it in and we do not immediately get possession (of course), but we luckily receive a turnover (Klefbom) who feeds the winger (Khaira) along the boards, who can’t handle the pass (of course^2), and the puck bounces into the slot where our center is supposed to be but isn’t (because he runs into the ref, because of course) and thus the Capitals are able to score on a wide-open shot from the slot. Artistic shit.
Anyways Pheonix (this dickhead) had decided to play pretty decent until he decided he didn’t want to anymore:
That’s Connor’s 10th of the year and 22nd McPoint. Nuge with another point. Lucic successfully screened the Pepsi sign.
This is the type of goalie that Pheonix Copley really is. We lost to him.
That’s also Connor’s ninth power play point of the year (game 14). He had 20 all last year.
TJ Oshie got the Capitals back in front.
This is the one I wanted Cam to have. Keeps it a one goal game and this is exactly the kind of big save I need him to make. Still, that’s a deadly shot. But he was beat the same way against Minnesota. When he goes down to protect the five-hole, his shoulders are dipping enough to allow the shooter a look in the top corner. That can be fixed. I’m not worried at the moment.
We made it a one goal game again:
This was an unbelievable play by Larsson. Good for him. No McPoint but Nuge picked up his second helper of the game.
Then Ovie went full Ovie:
Absolutely no hope for anyone there. I think the original shot bounced off Russell, then Kris almost absorbed the wrath of 8’s one-timer for approximately the 20th time in 21.5 minutes of ice, but alas. This bounce plus the shooter equals an unavoidable outcome for the team.
And that’s it. The rest of the game kind of stunk.
4-2 (L) final
Milan Lucic shot this puck into the neighbouring Maryland.
The third line played pretty well. They’ve all been as inept as possible within the enclosing perimeters of the cage, but they’ve been increasingly doing a better job at generating chances while not taking it from their opposing match ups. I’ll say it again, I’m encouraged.
Tough game. Thought we outplayed Washington and maybe deserved a better outcome. Outshot the Caps 33-22, so of course Copley’s best SV% ever came right after I labelled him as maybe the worst goalie of all time.
Lucic was finally taken off the first unit. Even Dave Staples has had enough:
Talking to media, McLellan suggested he's going to go tonight with a bunch of players who had been sitting, and that a few guys were banged up and won't play.
No mention on who is coming out.
— David Staples (@dstaples) November 6, 2018
I think this is something that needs to be explored in a month or so, but for now I’d just settle for him maybe continuing to not being on the first unit. Putting a $6 million vet with four years left on his contract literally one month into a year is not exactly a good look and not exactly something I’m ready to accept right now.
McDavid had a Capital player glued to him the entire night. Literally. Wore a red jersey around like a goddamn backpack and I think he drew one penalty? I can’t remember.
Ryan Strome might not get a point this year. It’s time we acknowledge that.
Worst Take of the Night
Here’s your worst take of the night. Lot of Talbot takes to choose from. I could probably go into the Matthews Twitter cesspit and dig up some shit. But none of that holds a candle to this fucking take right here:
via The Athletic:
As the Oilers GM, Chiarelli finds himself in the catbird’s seat of stewarding along one of the greatest young talents ever in Connor McDavid. It’s a position his contemporaries around the NHL would undoubtedly sign up for in a heartbeat.
The one drawback, however, is the salary McDavid commands for his superstardom which has, at least for now, put Chiarelli in a bind in terms of the rest of his roster compilation.
Dressed in a grey suit, his face featuring specks of stubble, Chiarelli’s not meaning to complain – nor is he intending to sound surprised.
So, he brings up McDavid’s contract (which, FWIW, is a bargain when you consider his overall effect on the team’s performance here, here, and here) as part of a dilemma in terms of constructing a roster? Oh buddy.
That will no doubt be considered for hottest take of the year during April’s Oilers Awards. This is a dangerous water to tread, Gen. Disappointment, especially when you consider you WILLINGLY gifted an immovable contract to a notoriously declining boat anchor thus putting the team into a contractual black hole by way of seven years and $42 million dollars. He kept going:
“But when you have a player like that, and then you have Leon (Draisaitl), it’s almost like what is the other decision? What’s the alternative?”
An alternative would be to not shit-fuck your cap by your original method of strapping it to rapidly declining hockey players in their twilight seasons knowing you have a once-in-a-generation talented player looking at a massive contract? I didn’t go to Harvard though, so I don’t know.
“He (McDavid) could have gotten more money, without question. He could have gotten shorter term. So, then what happens? You’ve got to get ahead of it,” Chiarelli said. “That means, you know what, some other pieces may have to go. Some other pieces that may be expensive in a year or two may have to go.”
If we didn’t acquire Lucic’s price tag by virtue of us literally just giving it to him, some of those expensive pieces you talk about (he’s talking about Eberle and Hall, you know, the two who had the exact same cap hit as Milan Lucic) wouldn’t have had to go. I haven’t even mentioned the Russell contract yet because, to be honest, he’s hasn’t really deserved any amount of criticism this year, and it’s not his fault he’s a 5/6 who’s paid like a 3/4. Did he bring up Milan? Of course he did:
It didn’t help that Taylor Hall, the 2010 No. 1 pick who was traded for blueliner Adam Larsson, won the Hart Trophy with New Jersey and the player signed to serve as a replacement on the wing, Lucic, scored only once after Christmas.
“You know deep down they were the right things to do,” Chiarelli said. “And you stand by that.”
“Lucic had a down year last year,” he said. “He’s shown that he’s played significantly better this year. I knew that he would. But last year was tough. There was a lot of money for that player.
“I know he’s a character guy. I know he’s a proud guy. That was part of the equation when we signed him – for leadership. It didn’t work out last year. It worked out the year before. Now it looks like it’s working out. You look at someone like Dustin Brown in L.A. Players have down years. Free agent players aren’t cheap.”
THE RIGHT THING TO DO!
Lucic has three points in 14 games, he’s fourth amongst forwards on the team in TOI/game (16:02) so, pardon the expression but what the actual fuck? The right thing to do was trade an MVP and replace him with a good but not great defenseman plus then add the corpse of Milan Lucic for the exact same contract you just subtracted but with more term and less skill? I should have just stopped after he mentioned McDavid and “being put in a bind” in the same sentence, but I chose torture. This was what Lucic was contributing at 5v5 heading into last night (via Willis):
In no logical nor defendable way has his play been better than last year and his 39% shot percentage acts as proof but sure, let’s ignore the facts and numbers again, because if we haven’t already acknowledged that we’re (statistically speaking) in a bit of a contractual predicament based on the team’s contracts (not McDavid’s, like Peter lead off with) then we’re never going to acknowledge it. I’ll give him credit, he’s a proud man who refuses to discredit his approach to building. His approached is fucked, but at least he’s sinking with his ship. He will be fired at the end of the year.
The benefit to the contracts signed by Crosby, Malkin and Kris Letang at least five years ago is that they look like more of a bargain each season as the salary cap continues to rise.
That’s part of Chiarelli’s plan.
We found it!
That’s part of Chiarelli’s plan…
part of Chiarelli’s plan…
of Chiarelli’s plan…
(Part of) Chiarelli’s Plan™ is to have the cap keep going up! That’s what we’ve waited all summer for. That’s what the most hypothesized Plan in Oilers history was this entire time.
“If I’m still around,” he said, chuckling.
Get the hell away from my hockey team. All together, this is one of the hottest takes we’ll ever see.
And this could be a very nice beginning of the solution:
Today in: Organizations not named “Edmonton Oilers” making hilariously dumb moves:
The Chicago Blackhawks have relieved Joel Quenneville of his coaching duties and have named Jeremy Colliton the 38th head coach in franchise history.
— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) November 6, 2018
Here's a crazy thing. Quenneville has finished the season with a team 20 times. He's only ever missed the playoffs twice.
He was also fired midway thru 2003-04; STL had a 29-23-7-2 (four games over .500 – those are 7 ties!) record.
CHI has a 6-6-3 record as he leaves today.
— Jonathan Willis (@JonathanWillis) November 6, 2018
So Coach Q takes the fall for successfully coaching a team to a borderline dynasty and making players look so good that their GM decided 60-70 points warranted $10 million, then proceeded to add and subract just enough to cripple the roster and make it look like the coach’s fault. Q, as Willis says, will be out of work from what I’m thinking will be 10 days.
Me, being an optimist from the bottom of my heart and not thinking like a rationally intelligent adult: Todd’s three fucking million dollars per year contract runs until 2020 (one year left after this one). If we don’t do it, someone else will. Please for the love of all things ANYTHING give me Quenneville and McDavid.
Me, being an intellect: There’s no goddam way this shit box of a franchise will can the coach, being that they’re three games over .500 and many within the organization believe that’s sufficient and adequate enough even with Connor McDavid on the roster. Plus they just hired a ton of new assistant coaches and Q would probably want a bit of say in his staff. After the McLellan era so get ready for either an extension or the Gulutzan era to begin immediately following this season.