Saturday, October 29, 2011

Picture This!

We all know this can't continue. I mean, come on. The Edmonton Oilers can't go from 30th times two and land in the penthouse 10 games later. It isn't possible. So, I've decided to frame this and will refer to it during those long winter nights when the money runs out and the engine is blown.

Opening night 10-11 gave us the goal of the year; 11-12 has been a joy ride through the early moments of a long, long race. It's been a fast track for a fast train. Glad I got to see it.

Do NOT be fooled, the Edmonton Oilers aren't going to be in the race for the conference title or the NW title in 2011-12.

The Oilers have a 90.7% PK, their goaltending is beyond fantasy. Their prize rookie leads all first year players in points, their heart and soul has returned a new man, their final July 1st signing has emerged as a top drawer defenseman who can play in any situation.

The coach is line matching like a madman (well he's line matching this season) and the plan has a veteran tough line squaring off against the tough opponent while the kids rip through the soft parade. It's working, and the key element is #94.

  • Jordan Eberle 2.48
  • Taylor Hall 2.13
  • RNH: 1.94
  • Ryan Smyth 2.83
  • Shawn Horcoff 1.71
  • Ryan Jones 1.38
The kids have an offensive zone start in the 60's and the Smyth line is hovering around 30. Bottom line: you remember the last few years when #10 would post ghastly numbers because he was climbing Everest alone every night? Well, so far this season Ryan Smyth has been this team's MVP, giving life to the tough minutes line and producing offense in the most difficult circumstances.

Ryan Smyth appears to have discovered the fountain of youth. MVP.

But let's remember that this team is being outshot 255-298 in the first 10 (including 38-76 in the last two wins) and luck (good already here, bad moon rising), the Hockey Gods and more injuries are just around the corner. Drink deep, but be real.

Nation Radio is back on the air today at noon. Among the guests scheduled to appear:
  • Kirk Luedeke from Redline report. Kirk and I are going to talk about the 2011 draft so far. Are there any surprises? Is RNH the best of the bunch out of the box? Do those of us who felt Sean Couturier was the 2nd or 3rd best player in the draft enjoy early bragging rights?
  • Cam Moon from the Red Deer Rebels. With Nugent-Hopkins in Edmonton to stay, I'll ask Cam about the impact on the Rebels this season. Moon was vehement in the spring (BEFORE the draft) that size, bulk, speed--whatever--wouldn't be enough to keep RNH from having an impact at the NHL level. He was right.
  • Ryan Batty from Copper and Blue. Ryan always has a strong opinion and doesn't waiver when it's unpopular but worth defending. Such is the case this week, as Batty wrote a fine article entitled "Why Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Should Go Back to Red Deer." I'll ask him about that and a few other Oiler related items this afternoon.
  • Danny Gray from Leafs Nation. I'll ask him about Kessel's fast start, why Ron Wilson hates people and we'll discuss Phaneuf's lack of Phaneufiness this season.


  1. I've been impressed with what I've seen of Petrell so far - good to see him getting his first point last night.

  2. It's really tempting to freak out about this team and how well they're doing...

    Especially after spending the last five years lost in the jungle. For what it's worth, I think that pointing out who effective the line matching and defensive accumen that that these players are showing is exactly what MacT was doing here for years, trying to win hockey games with plumbers and also-rans. It really makes you think about what the man could have done with a soft minute line like the one we have now. I know he signed his own ticket out of Edmonton, but some part of me pities him for not being here for this.

    Also, simply because it was being pounded on a lot last year: SCORE EFFECTS!! The Oil are getting outshot so much because they are up and playing to maintain the lead, and not blow the other team out of the water.

    I wonder if this is what it felt like for Dallas and Colorado teams a decade ago... It's pretty freakin awesome!

  3. Bring that pic out again when things look dark LT. Then we'll all be able to look at it, sigh, and say, "remember when...".

    Not to be a Mr. Party Pooper but shouldn't the Oilers be in second place? They have the same number of points as Dallas but one fewer win. Aren't wins the first tiebreaker?

  4. It is a bit of mirage with the way the team was badly outshot this week, but I'll enjoy it while it lasts after the last few dismal seasons.

    As you've accurately summarized LT, never - ever underestimate the value of a veteran presence. He's brought balance to a team that was badly lacking it.

    One must also give credit to Khabibulin. Never would I have thought he'd play this well to start a season...but he's also been the beneficiary of a kind goal post/cross bar on a number of occasions. It's still a game of inches.

  5. This run is really making me wonder if they actually could make the playoffs this season. It still seems unlikely but 14 points is a good chunk to have from the get go. 8th place last season topped out at 97 points in the West. The entire league seems to be in a rebuilding stage and appears to be pretty unpredictable at this point.

    Yea, it's early... But we're not going to be able to say that for much longer. It will be very interesting to see how things are looking ten games from now (Nov.21).

    Here's hoping things continue to break the way of the Oil for a while longer!

  6. I wish we could just say score effects explain the shots but they sure don't. We were badly outshot at the end of a 0-0 first last night, badly outshot in a tied first period against wash. as well. Further, good teams such as Van, Det, SJ who routinely have the lead, also routinely dominate the shot clock.

  7. If teams are tied in points, the tie breaker is regulation wins. Your OT/SO wins aren't worth the same.

  8. I haven't seen Huberdeau or Larsson play but I've seen quite a bit of Couturier (while watching my man, Jagr) and I'd say there are certainly some bragging rights there. He's going to be very good.

  9. Ah, see, I didn't even realise that Huberdeau was sent back to the Q. Interesting.

  10. Did someone mention bragging?

  11. Oilers and Stars both have the same number of regulation wins. So I think fewer outright losses puts the Oilers legitimately in first for now.

  12. I see Smyths Even 5x5 P/60 number ties him with Jeff Skinner right now. Nice pick, Carolina. It is kind of tough seeing Glencross next on the list at 2.82, though.

  13. Two things, or actually three. The main one is that the team has a system, the team is going to get better as they're still in the introductory stage, the coaching has been remarkably good. Then there is the pro scouting as in bringing in quality at need positions. This isn't some fluke, by Christmas they will be dominating games. If Whitney can remain healthy they should challenge for the playoffs. They even have trade pieces.

  14. ...And if I look up the list i see some fun names too..

    M.A. Bergeron, Jason Chimera, Ray Whitney, Jason Arnott, Joffrey Lupul

  15. Cassie Campbell tweets...

    Tyler Seguin story that states he has hip issues is not true #hnic

    Crack reporting or doesn't have a clue. You decide.

  16. Hmm. The original article is from ESPN Boston (Joe MacDonald). That would be a huge error in his part.

  17. Both the Seguin report and the denial can be true. The essence of the ESPN report is that Seguin has a congenital hip defect, not that it is currently causing any problems. Just that he may be more susceptible to problems without proper training or monitoring.

  18. This comment has been removed by the author.

  19. Seeing as you're going to ask about surprises from the draft, I'd like to hear who Luedeke thinks has been the biggest disappointment so far, as well.

    - Ryan

  20. I'm happy about the first 10GP -- and I'd say the last two wins we're good luck. You'd also have to say 1 of the points lost (MIN) were bad luck.

    We also lost Hemsky after 2 GP and Whitney after 4 GP -- so it's not like the Hockey Gods aren't keeping things balanced.

    Goaltending is going to come back to earth, and so is that PK efficiency. However, like last night -- the other lines are going to get a few GF too.

    Even if they come back to the middle over the next 10 -- that's a better spot than we've seen in awhile. The coach and the game plans are working.

    If they can get their chance and shot ratios going the right way again, I'd be convinced the illusion is real. It's a little bit of mirrors, but not all smoke and mirrors.


  21. The Oilers were badly outshot and outplayed against Washington... but then, even the biggest Oiler fan can't rationally argue that they're in Washington's league. Then, they're outshot and outplayed in the 2nd game of a back-to-back after an overnight travel against another team off to a good start. Great teams don't get outplayed two games in a row, but the Oilers aren't a great team this year... after two 30th place finishes, we should be ecstatic if they're a GOOD team. I would argue, through 10 games, they are very much a GOOD team. Good team defense, timely goals, a killer Home-Ice record, great goaltending, strong penalty-killing, good powerplay possession... there's a lot of positives.

    The Oilers' current rate is unsustainable, but even if they play .500 hockey (ignoring OT losses) and get 82 points this year, they'd still be 13th or so in the conference, but that's a 20 point increase on last year! We've got to remember, the Oilers have to climb Everest to get back into competitiveness. To get into the playoffs, they'd have to increase last year's points total by MORE THAN 50%! Progress is being made, though not QUITE as fast as the first 10 games would imply.

  22. Hey LT,

    I had meant to post this after the 9 game mark, but got sidetracked...

    Just a reminder I had asked your pre-season prediction for RNH and you came up with 9gp, 1-3-4. (I went with 1-4-5 just for an extra drop of optimism). Anyone predicting 5-4-9 after 9 would have been scoffed at no?

    And then there's Potter...

  23. It's true. Even if you add in a major scoop of luck RNH has given it a kick this fall.

  24. I wonder if RNH would be cool with the nickname rickibear ?

    LT, i managed to get in contact with a google tech by finding an email address on the forums and he got back to me, asking me to direct him to the forum request, as they arent allowed to do email support.

    So, he may return contact to you instead of me as youre the contact address, just a heads up.

  25. WheatNOil said...

    The Oilers' current rate is unsustainable, but even if they play .500 hockey (ignoring OT losses) and get 82 points this year, they'd still be 13th or so in the conference, but that's a 20 point increase on last year! We've got to remember, the Oilers have to climb Everest to get back into competitiveness. To get into the playoffs, they'd have to increase last year's points total by MORE THAN 50%! Progress is being made, though not QUITE as fast as the first 10 games would imply.

    I wish people would stop comparing this years team to last
    This is NOT the same team that endured last year, and earned us THE NUGE.
    I am not implying that they are cup-contenders just yet or anything.
    Just the differences from last years squad are staggering.
    EX. DEF- Sut Bar Pot > Fos Van Pet
    Gilb,Smyd hugely improved. Peckman,while as close as we had to a rock last year, can't even play with this group
    Ebs, and Hall. Bonafide NHL snipers now,as opposed to wide-eyed rooks at start of last year
    Smitty,and Horc playing great
    4th line light years better than last years.
    Omark can't crack team, we don't even seem to need Hemsky.
    All of this resulting in much better numbers for goaltending
    ON and on

    How about we put last year to rest,and let it go
    Be happy we got Nuge from it
    And just enjoy this years team, and the possibilitys for the future

  26. I think many of you guys are so locked into the "our team is bad, we don't deserve wins" mentality that it becomes inexplicable when we actually play well and win games as other squads do. We dominated VAN for a time and only struggled when were stuck with 5 d. We drew WSH into a whack of penalties and beat them in the same way other teams do. Too many people are looking for something bad in exceptional doesn't make sense.

    LT - you're going back to the "luck" well way too much lately. Luck isn't some mystic hockey force. It is a term some use when they can't figure out the underlying factors of what's going on. This ain't luck. Hell, we've lost Whitney and Hemsky and our goalies should have had SO's the last 2 games...there are shots coming but they're not what they have been. We're playing better and we're not that same old sad anymore.

  27. They go from the second worst goals against last year, to the best this year. Crazy.

    I have not heard a lot of love for Freddy Chabot. But he coaxed a very good season out of DD last year and seems to have both tenders playing nicely this year.

  28. I love how the "skeptics" carp endlessly re unsustainability, like Oilers can win the Western Conference.

    This is a 6th place team, at the end of the season. The other teams will be doing cartwheels to not meet the Oilers in round 1.

    Meanwhile, the Canucks, Capitals, and Avalanche shake their heads.

  29. Not on the goalies LT. Khabibulin was bumped and Theo screwed up royal to cause the Colorado goal.

    I'm not saying they are unquestioned gods...but I am saying that acting as if they will certainly fall back to earth and through the floor...and that those who are underperforming won't improve is unrealistic as well .

  30. It's compelling hockey, because the way I see it, there's just as many reasons the Oilers could still get better rather than fall off.

    How many players are off to what could be called "bad" starts?

    Scoring-wise, MPS is in the tank, Omark is in the PB, and things haven't slowed down for Lander yet.

    Belanger hasn't scored less than 35 points since the lockout.

    Gagner's been hurt, but it also looks like he's fighting the puck a bit so far, and I expect he'll pick it up too.

    We all know that the team isn't going to go the whole season at less than 1.5 goals against per game, but even if they we're allowing 1 more GPG, they'd still rank a respectable 13th in the league in that category.

    I don't think that, especially if Hemsky and Whitney can get healthy, it's unreasonable to think that the team can score at least one more GPG on average.

    One thing that isn't a fluke has been the PK. Yes, the goaltending has helped, but they've killed many penalties where the team never gets a shot. If the PK stays near the top of the league, that in itself will mean they're playing meaningful games in February and March.

  31. Thanks, LT! Agreed that it's tough to pinpoint any dissapoinment this early. I did wonder if he'd look at Zibanejad with that question, though.

  32. LT, here is an oldtimey story about the Blackhawks going worst to first. Thought you might enjoy it.

    I wonder if the Nuge has gone snipe hunting yet.

  33. With the recent crackdown on clutching/grabbing and now headshots, the regular season is mostly about special teams; the postseason less-so. The good start is a credit to a combination of fine special team coaching and player development. For example, if the goal is to have a combined percentage of pk and pp to be above the century mark--108.9% this year vs. 90.3% last year, there will be a marked difference in the total points produced, as is the case. Though their combined percentage may not maintain its current course, it is not far-fetched to think it will stay above par. Regarding their 5x5 play, it clearly needs some improvement, and this is where Hemsky's value cannot be overstated. Ryan Jones has played well enough, but he is not 2nd-line material. A healthy Hemsky is the missing link for a more well-rounded team.

  34. I'm giving the team a mulligan, since they're obviously playing great team hockey and winning.

    Cam Barker's goal was a beauty.

  35. Well poop :(

  36. LT, one more update.

    The tech elevated the issue, and s ticket has been sent to the google engineers. They said its normally a 6-7 day wait. So we wait.

  37. It's nice to get the win but I need to see results that are bought and paid for before I get excited.

    I think this team can compete with anyone if they happen to get both 6 and 83 in the lineup at the same time but these last two wins weren't real; except for in the standings of course:)

    Of course last night wasn't nearly as bad as Thurs and they were only outchanced 12-19 and most of that gap came in the third period. But even though I know about score effects the Oilers are still gonna have to be much better in the third period.

  38. That's disappointing-but not entirely unexpected- to hear about Sutton.So Petry will draw in tomorrow and Shanny hasn't handed out any 1 game suspensions(to my knowledge anyway)so he'll probably miss Thursday in LA as well.

  39. Petry will probably draw in for Peckham I think. Suttons hearing is Monday so he can play tomorrow as far as I know...

  40. Dennis: that's exactly my thoughts as well. Though, with both goalies playing well, there is at least an opportunity to win games in which the Oilers are outchanced. This is a marked difference than the last two years where goaltending (mainly from Khabby) was so poor that there was no chance to win these kinds of games. Even 5-6 such wins make a difference at the end of the year.

  41. I'm loving this. But I'll take the under on 90 points as the end-season total (they're currently on pace for 115).

    The joys of extrapolation:

  42. WBC: Sutton's suspended until the hearing. Presumably denied bail on secondary and tertiary grounds.

  43. WG : Futher to the post in the previous thread I did the counting myself finally...

    The Oilers outshot the opposition in the first period in 7 of the 10 games. The last 3 they were outshot but by no means a significant margin.

    They're +13 in the 1st. I believe they scored or had the lead 4 times in the 1st period.

    The 2nd period is a mixed bag. They scored/took the lead in 5 games in the middle frame. 50% of the time they led in shots in the 2nd period. Colorado last night and the Canucks in the second game were the only two teams to outshoot the Oilers by 5 or more in the 2nd. The rest of the games were pretty even. The overall differential is -9 which is exactly the shot difference of last night's game vs. the Avs.

    So the Oilers have come out strong and for the most part have maintained momentum into the 2nd period.

    The 3rd period is a completely different animal. The Oilers have either had the lead or been tied in every game going into the 3rd save the first game vs. Pittsburgh and vs. Nashville.

    The Oilers have had 4 games where they were severely outshot in the 3rd period. The first Minnesota loss, and the last 3 games.

    We all know the Oilers are awful in Minnesota, and 2 of the last 3 games have been against Cup favourites. And last night's game was on a back-to-back with crappy travel in Colorado at elevation....

    The Oilers are -46 in shots in the 3rd with 44 of those coming in those 4 games.

    This team has carried the play through the first 40 mins pretty much every game. Score effects have played a huge part in that disparity in the 3rd especially against teams that can bring a ton of scoring (Washington, Vancouver)

    I don't think this team can sustain the pace they've set. The goaltending has been all-world. .964 and .938 save percentages won't last. However, it's not unreasonable to think they can hit at a .920 clip with the improvements in defensive play and PKing.

    I think the big question is how is this team going to play when they have to come from behind?

  44. However, it's not unreasonable to think they can hit at a .920 clip with the improvements in defensive play and PKing.

    Yes it is.

  45. The 3rd period for the past few games has been Monster Chiller Horror Theatre. Some of that is score effects, some of that is giving up too many PPs in the final frame, and some of that is being out-matched by better teams.

    I won't be convinced that this team is a playoff team till I see some out-chancing on the road... The 3-D House of Stewardesses.

    The Count Floyd line (aka The Verrrrry, Scarrrrry Kids) can slaughter the soft parade at home, while the immortal Smyth & Co are sacrficed on the altar of Zone Starts. but there's no game of Hide and Seek in the other team's barn. And we need a more vicious killer instinct in our own barn, where our D is running around like a bunch of headless horsemen.

    The juicy stories so far have been the goalie exorcising his demons, resurrecting his career from the dead, and the newfound sorcery of a formerly powerless powerplay. Both have been delicious to watch, but we shall see what happens over the moons to come.

    This team's Final Destination is likely just outside the playoffs, looking in. I'm okay with that as long as they claw and scratch every step of the way rather than the zombie efforts we have witnessed these past few years.

  46. I suppose I'm a bit more negative than Clay -- but not by much. The Oilers are only a few defensive injuries away from total bedlam and lopsided losses. But the team is hugely improved off previous years. I think right now the Oilers are in an early-season feast that can't last long. "True Contender" teams will start to pull things together in the next two weeks and they'll be less readily beat. Also, a lot of teams just aren't used to the new-look Oilers. Their scouting departments will figure out more of the Oilers weaknesses and start picking them apart sooner rather than later. Oilers can make the playoffs but I think it's just as likely they don't.

  47. Yeah, another surprising start with all arrows pointing against it being sustainable.

    I have to admit that I severely underestimated the impact of one Ryan Smyth.

    @LT and Danny - I can fix the problem. I had touched base with Danny but didn't hear back from him.

    I've been a longtime poster on this site for about 3 years under a different handle.

    As for the Oilers, sure having a healthy 6 and 83 in the lineup would look pretty damn good though it's probably a pipe dream.

  48. Well I mean the optomistic among us were projecting this team to be somewhere between the 23rd and 20th best team in the NHL at the begining of the season. With the expectation that if Dubnyk was spectacular and Taylor Hall went all Stamkos on us we'd be knocking on the door for the final playoff spot.

    At the moment Gilbert and Smid are playing like an elite shutdown pairing. I don't think anyone was expecting that. Nor do I think that Khabbibulin and Dubynk would be the early favourites for the Jennings Trophy was in the cards. RNH rather than being in Red Deer is the at the head of the leader board for the Calder race. While our special teams have been fantastic and our GA is dazzling.

    You know in other words "Who are these players in Oilers jerseys and what have they done with my hockey team?" (and how can I make sure they never switch back?)

    The Oilers are vastly exceeding our expectations. Can this all hold up? Maybe, maybe not. But 14 points in October alone means the final tally ought to be a huge improvement over last year. I'm just going to enjoy the ride.

  49. I supose i should add Shawn Horcoff hasn't played hockey this well since his injury shorted All-Star campaign. He's been money.

  50. Cactus: Jesus, you're smart:)

    LT and Danny: this site you're putting together, will you be able to talk about veteran players on it?;)

    To all: if 83 comes back and Renney resists the temptation to put him with 94-10, a 91-89-83 line would give us that balance we need for road games.

  51. Dennis: Sure, all the vets. Hall, Eberle, the whole damn bunch. :-)

  52. Dennis: that's an interesting line and it would certainly add the potential for additional secondary scoring. Whether it will happen or not depends primarily upon whether Renney is comfortable putting Gagner back at centre. It's only been a few games, but Renney seems to be content playing Gagner at RW, keeping Omark in the pressbox and leaving Lander in the lineup as the 4th C. Similarly, there seems to be an aversion to bumping Belanger down to 4th C, probably because of the limited minutes that line tends to get under Renney's system.

    When 83 is ready to go, I'd love to see the following lines (based upon Dennis' suggestion):


    You still play Horcoff's line against the toughs, but now the 4th line can be sent out to counter the 2nd best of the opposition and not bleed too badly. This would give some very soft minutes to two potential scoring lines.

    Obviously, this assumes an Eager injury as he or Hordichuk will almost certainly draw in otherwise (unfortunately Renney loves him some truculence). Regardless, it will be interesting to see what the coach will do when/if he ever gets a full compliment of players.

  53. You could always line Belanger up with Smyth and Horcoff as their right winning and drop Jones down to the fourth line.

    That would leave you with


    Truthfully I haven't liked Gagner and Hemsky together in the past. However, that line combination does provide the possibility of one extremely strong defensive line and two scoring lines and a very capable fourth line.

  54. Danny, LT - I can solve all your internets problems, but I need a live goat, some crocodile blood and LT will need to carry a toad testical under his tongue for a week (it is dried so it's smaller than a pea). Just let me know.

    Also, is there a volunteer out there who will let me use their backyard for this. We need to dig a pit and keep hot coals burning for 3 days. We have to do the messy stuff 3.33 hours before dawn so we should be ok re neighbors.

  55. OKC up 3-0 after the first. Cornet with another goal. Would be interested to see him up at some point this year, and I suspect we will get that opportunity.

  56. However, it's not unreasonable to think they can hit at a .920 clip with the improvements in defensive play and PKing.

    Yes it is.

    Currently the Oilers are giving up shots at 29.8/gm

    If we assume that doesn't change, then the Oiler goaltending would need to post a .915 for the last 72 games to post a .920 for the year.

    That is definitely on the right thinner end of the bell curve edging into unreasonable territory, given the history of the two goalies.

    To post a .915 as a team, they would need to post a .911 for the last 72 games (using the same assumption on shots/gm)

    That is closer to reasonable given DD's .916 last year and the improvement on the PK and performance of the D. (so far)

    The wild card is Khabby of course. He has a history of not being a good in the last few years and a wonky back.

    Perhaps he was hung up in his cell like Gene Wilder in Stir Crazy and it fixed his back? Worked for Gene.

  57. Epic Fail
    The dude singing the National Anthem at the nucks game
    He held the mike out to the crowd to sing the second part and when he stopped nobody was singing momentary crickets before the crowd half heartedly picked up the slack.

  58. Not getting too carried away with the Oilers great start just enjoying the ride no matter where it goes.
    I was thinking about an earlier post about points required versus anticipated/hoped for points increase
    But if the Oilers do well in their conference we do not need as many points as it will be points lost by our rivals affecting things

  59. Not only was that 2006 club not that great but that 1990 club couldn't hold a candle to these guys either ;) Cup or not!

    Hey its been a nice start and its only been the last two games where our friends Smoke and Mirrors have appeared. And so what? One of the best teams in the league and then fly to Denver to play a pretty decent Avs team the next night. A bit of a tall order.

    We'll enjoy this and enjoy the fact that unless Tambo blows it the future looks pretty bright. The next few weeks are going to be a tough slog so lets hope the goaltending continues to be very good and that some guys can began to produce offensively to offset the likely regression defensively.

  60. It's all unsustainable goaltending.

    Enjoy it for now though.

  61. It's all unsustainable goaltending.

    Enjoy it for now though.

    Said the Canucks fan.

  62. BDHS - My comments regarding this squad and the 2006 squad (prior to deadline acquisitions) is that I didn't really think the 2006 squad were much more than a borderline playoff team that caught fire.

    The list of players provided in the last thread (Pisani, Toby Peterson, Winchester, etc.) did little to convince me otherwise. I don't think the trade value of the 2006 team would be much better than the 2011 team.

    I think this is a borderline playoff team. If they make the playoffs and get .987 goaltending, then plan the parade.

    That is not happening though.

  63. DSF - It is unsustainable goaltending, but it is not ALL unsustainable goaltending.

  64. book¡e said...
    DSF - It is unsustainable goaltending, but it is not ALL unsustainable goaltending.


    Yes it is.


  65. How much credit should Steve Smith be getting for what's gone on with the D so far this year?

    Might an MBS-type nickname eventually be in order?

  66. The Oilers' save percentage this year is .953. They have allowed 14 goals, and have a goal differential of +5.

    Here's what their goal differential would be at assorted lesser save percentages:

    .940: +1
    .930: -2
    .920: -5
    .910: -8
    .900: -11
    .890: -14

    I think DSF's on the right track.

    Tabling: A concept that has different, and almost opposite, meanings in Canadian and American parliamentary procedure.

  67. Sorry, those 14 goals exclude empty netters, which are of course irrelevant for save percentage.

  68. Put another way, the Oilers' team PDO is 1.03. That's not going to continue.

  69. Actually, that PDO would be lower if the Oilers scores any empty-netters - have they done so this year?

  70. @ SS

    If the Oilers were getting league average goaltending they would be in 14th place.

    They may be fortunate and do better than that but they are a long way from Valhalla.

    I would out my money on the averages.

  71. Um, that was kind of my point. Kindly refrain from assuming the moment you see my profile picture that I am disagreeing with you - on that minority of occasions that your points make sense, I am doing nothing of the sort.

  72. I see you're all assuming we won't score more goals in coming games, and that if this solid start does continue on into a playoff spot, you'll all rejoice in having no clue about why or how?

    Carry on then...weird is all.

  73. Kindly refrain from thinking anytime I am responding to your posts that I am disagreeing with you.

    Also, kindly refrain from thinking I don't make sense when you think I'm wrong.

    Often enough, it isn't me :)

  74. I see you're all assuming we won't score more goals in coming game...

    You might want to look up the meaning of "PDO".

    ...and that if this solid start does continue on into a playoff spot, you'll all rejoice in having no clue about why or how?

    That this start is "solid" is not admitted, but specifically denied. If the Oilers make the playoffs without improving their performance substantially - which is extraordinarily unlikely but technically possible - then yes, I will rejoice in having no clue why or how, beyond to suspect statistical aberrations.

  75. @ LMHF

    What are you basing your assumption that the Oilers will score more goals?

    The kids have been doing the majority of the scoring but have ZERO points on the road.

    There is a huge road trip right around the corner.

  76. The Oilers' scoring is almost certain to go up, because their shooting percentage, like their save percentage, is very likely to regress towards the mean. But both of those things regressing towards the mean adds up to finishing out of the playoffs.

  77. The massive improvement in PK is going to be a huge deal for the Oilers goalies.

    We're talking a 10 to 30 goal difference if they can keep the PK in the 80-85% range. They are currently running at 90% which is high. I'm not sure if the system has changed/better personnel or if they're just getting it this year but it's working.

    The whole defensive game has improved. They're not as chaotic in their own end.

    A .915 save percentage was about league average last year. Dubnyk did that in 35 games last year. I'm fairly confident that he can sustain that and maybe improve.

    Khabibulin is a career .908 save percentage. He has had only 3 sub .900 years in his career. Last year being his most recent. I don't think it's out of the question that he could play his career average the rest of the year. If he does and plays the same amount of games his save percentage would come out a tidy .915.

    I would suggest to you that an additional 5% over 82 games is achievable. And in this case we're only looking for 5% over an additional 41 games if Khabibulin plays as much as he did last year.

    Oilers goalies faced almost 2600 shots last year. That total should come down a little this year. They're on pace for roughly 2450 so far. That's 108 more saves roughly 1.5 more per game.

    That my friends is doable.

  78. @ SS



    The Oilers are 27th in shots per game and are 26th in goals per game.

    They're actually slightly above average in scoring.

  79. Dsf - watching the games and observing the chances that are currently being missed as well as observing who on the roster isn't scoring yet.

  80. @ wolfie

    The improvement in PK% is directly related to an unsustainable SV%.

  81. Khabibulin is a career .908 save percentage.

    Since, the lockout (including this year), he's a little shy of .903.

    I would suggest to you that an additional 5% over 82 games is achievable. And in this case we're only looking for 5% over an additional 41 games if Khabibulin plays as much as he did last year.

    I have no idea what you're trying to say in this paragraph.

  82. They're actually slightly above average in scoring.

    If that empty-netter by Ryan Jones has been their only one (it's the only one I can remember offhand), then their shooting percentage this year has been 7.5%. That's going to go up.

    Your metric is dangerous, because it compares only to other teams' small sample sizes so far this year.

  83. @ LMHF

    Looking at the shooting % I don't see one player who is well below his long term average while RNH is shooting 22.7%. That won't last.

    Sample sizes are small with Gagner and Hemsky but I don't think you can count on them for much in any case.

    What else is there?

  84. @ SS

    If their shooting % was 10 percent, which would be incredibly high since it would include defensemen, they would have scored 26 goals.

    That's not good.

  85. Dsf - Hemsky, Gagner, Paajarvi, Omark, Belanger, and even Eberle should get more going forward.

  86. LMHF#1 said...

    Dsf - Hemsky, Gagner, Paajarvi, Omark, Belanger, and even Eberle should get more going forwrd

    Likely every team in the league can say that.

    Bottom line is, after ten games, the Oilers are the lowest scoring team in the league.

    Hemsky is not going to be a factor, Gagner is about replacement value, Paajarvi has hands of plywood, Belanger may be good for a few, Eberle is already at capacity and Omark appears to be done.

    When you combine that with the kids being easy to shut down on the road, I think what you see is what you get.

    If the Oilers continue to get HHOF goaltending they'll be in the mix but I wouldn't bet the mortgage on that.

  87. Gagner, Hemsky, Paajarvi, Omark, Belanger and Whitney had a total of 212 points last season. So far this season they have a total of 3 points and are on pace to total 24 points for the whole season. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that there will be some regression towards the mean.

  88. Just looked at the schedule:
    November will do alot of correcting

    7 b to b road games? Is that normal?

    The Leaves play 2 b to b road games. I guess the Canucks do this 8 times.

    I'd wager the winning percentage of the visiting team for the 2nd game of a road b to b would be less than 15%

    What's the point of this? NHL scheduling makes no sense.

  89. At the moment Gilbert and Smid are playing like an elite shutdown pairing. I don't think anyone was expecting that.

    I did. They were terrific last spring - and the Oilers didn't have Horcoff, Belanger, Gagner or Hopkins in front of them.

    The good start is a credit to a combination of fine special team coaching and player development.

    Luck, depth, balance, drafting in the Top-10 year after painful year.

  90. DSF: You could look at it that way.

    However, I would attribute the improvement in SV% directly to the improved play on the PK not the other way around. The Oilers are doing a better job of limiting shots while shorthanded. You're looking at it backwards.

    Steve : I think a healthy Khabibulin can post career average numbers the rest of the way. If he does his SV % at the end of the year would be .915 in 45ish games. The 5% is to get to .920. When you look throughout the goalies in the league SV% vary greatly from year to year. ie Luongo went from .920 to .913 to .928. It's not unreasonable to think Khabibulin can post a .908 or even a .913 the rest of the way. That's the 5%.

    Of course he could post .890.... but I think that is more unlikely.