Whispering Pines

I can only imagine the journey of Josh Currie, a man who crawled through a lifetime of minor league games and came out in the NHL on the other side. Lonely nights, self doubts inside a lonely room, struggles for years and then redemption. How many people told him to quit? How many people stood by him? Josh Currie scored a goal last night in the NHL, that moment will last a lifetime.

THE ATHLETIC!

The Athletic Edmonton features a fabulous cluster of stories (some linked below, some on the site). Great perspective from a ridiculous group of writers and analysts. Proud to be part of the group. Outstanding offer is here.

  • New Lowetide: The Edmonton Oilers and the OHL.
  • New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Mike Sillinger, the NHL’s most-traded player, on strong-arm tactics and a stare down with Iron Mike.
  • Lowetide: Are the 2018-19 Bakersfield Condors the best Edmonton Oilers affiliate ever?
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: ‘One of the best hockey games ever’: An oral history of the 2014 women’s Olympic gold-medal game.
  • Lowetide: How can the Oilers successfully sell the new regime to a fan base that is openly angry?
  • Jonathan Willis: Oilers trade deadline primer: Focus should be on moves that make life easier for the next GM
  • Lowetide: Cam Talbot’s Oilers career a disappointment save one beautiful spring.
  • Jonathan Willis: Edmonton’s trade for Sam Gagner is a gamble well worth making.
  • Jonathan Willis: Inside the success of the Bakersfield Condors, and what it means for Edmonton
  • Lowetide: The Oilers sure have a lot of problems, but there is a simple solution.
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Q&A: Keith Gretzky on the Oilers trade deadline plan, Andrej Sekera’s return and Jesse Puljujarvi’s season
  • Lowetide: Oilers’ potential roster upheaval might set a record for summer activity
  • Jonathan Willis: Teams should beware of these players at the 2019 NHL trade deadline.
  • Lowetide: It’s time for Oilers owner Daryl Katz to stand and deliver a winning organization.
  • Lowetide: Entry deal AHL forwards give the Oilers an excellent trade pool.
  • Jonathan Willis: An Oilers blueprint for the 2019 NHL free agency period
  • Corey Pronman: 2019 NHL Draft midseason rankings
  • Jonathan Willis: An Oilers blueprint for the 2019 NHL trade deadline.
  • Lowetide: Edmonton’s 2019 entry draft plans may change with new GM but needs are clear
  • Lowetide: Complete Oilers top 20 prospects, Winter 2018

OILERS AFTER 61

  • Oilers in 2015: 22-33-6, 50 points; goal differential -33
  • Oilers in 2016: 33-20-8, 74 points; goal differential +13
  • Oilers in 2017: 26-31-4, 56 points; goal differential -33
  • Oilers in 2018: 26-29-6, 58 points; goal differential -23

The Oilers are seven points back with a game in hand and a half dozen teams to jump over, but remain on the outskirts of the playoffs. I think the organization has handled this deadline well so far, tweaking and selling off but not overplaying the hand given.

OILERS IN FEBRUARY

  • Oilers in February 2016: 2-9-0, four points; goal differential -21
  • Oilers in February 2017: 5-6-0, 10 points; goal differential -2
  • Oilers in February 2018: 3-7-1, seven points; goal differential -4
  • Oilers in February 2019: 3-5-3, nine points; goal differential -10

WHAT TO EXPECT IN FEBRUARY

  • On the road to: Philadelphia, Montreal (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 0-0-2)
  • At home to: Chicago (Expected 1-0-0) (Actual 0-1-0)
  • On the road to: Minnesota (Expected 0-0-1) (Actual 1-0-0)
  • At home to: San Jose (Expected 0-1-0) (Actual 0-1-0)
  • On the road to: Pittsburgh, Carolina, NY Islanders (Expected 2-1-0) (Actual 0-3-0)
  • At home to: Arizona, NY Islanders, Anaheim (Expected 2-1-0) (Actual 1-0-1)
  • On the road to: Nashville, Toronto, Ottawa (Expected 1-2-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • Overall expected result: 7-6-1, 15 points in 14 games
  • Current results: 3-5-3, nine points in 11 games

DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT

  • Sekera-Benning were 10-13 in 10:51, 6-9 shots, 1-1 goals and 4-4 HDSC. The goal against came on their watch, but it was a tough play for Benning and Sekera was in a tough spot. Shiza happens. Were 6-4 in 4:31 against Ritchie-Kesler-Rowney.
  • Klefbom-Larsson were 10-20 in 20:34, 5-9 shots, no goals and 4-2 HDSC. Klefbom was strong defensively, I thought he was better without the puck than Larsson (that’s a switch). Larsson had some issues but recovered well. Went 6-13 in 10:52 against Rakell-various centers-Perry.
  • Nurse-Russell went 6-15 in 13:48, 1-8 shots, no goals and 0-1 HDSC. One of the things the new management and staff will want to do is look at this pairing and how little time it spends in the offensive zone. Went 3-6 in 6:34 against Shore-Grant-Silfverberg.
  • Mikko Koskinen stopped 33 of 34, .971.
  • NaturalStatTrick and NHL.com.

FORWARDS, LAST NIGHT

  • Rieder-Draisaitl-Chiasson were 12-16 in 14:33, 7-4 shots, no goals and 3-1 HDSC. Rieder appeared to be at more plays, took a straight line approach and found himself doing useful things. I thought Leon had a big game, badly needed and he delivered. Chiasson showed a veteran’s savvy, can’t wait for that scoring touch to return.
  • Gagner-Nuge-Kassian were 4-15 in 14:04, 3-10 shots, 0-1 goals and 3-3 HDSC. This little couldn’t rhyme.
  • Lucic-Cave-Currie went 12-14 in 10:04, 6-8 shots, 1-0 goals and 3-2 HDSC. I thought all three men played well, there was instant reaction from Lucic on plays, he was engaged and had some of the old anticipation that made him such a load. Cave keeps making himself useful, while Currie was the subject of the postgame and the coaching saying he had earned the trust of the coaching staff. Music!
  • Malone-Brodziak-Rattie were 2-2 in 5:00, 0-1 shots, no goals and 0-1 HDSC. That’s a Hitch fourth line, opportunity suppression during five minutes of icetime. I think the No. 4 line will be filled with PK men one year from now if Hitchcock returns.

MIKKO KOSKINEN

In his most recent three games, Koskinen is 2-0-1 and has stopped 86 of 92 (.935). One of the things we agreed the Oilers should be doing in these last 25 games is getting a long look at Koskinen. He’s .908 for the season, hockey-reference tells us NHL average is .904 this year. If he can get it to 10 points above average, the Oilers can breathe a little easier. Edmonton needs a substantial backup for next year, though.

KEITH GRETZKY

I have suggested to you in the past couple of weeks that Keith Gretzky could in fact win the general manager’s job full stop. The team is 3-5-3 in 11 games since Gretzky took over, and have lost a little ground.

If the Gagner deal continues to shine and the team goes on a winning streak, Gretzky is going to get credit for all kinds of things (Sekera’s return, etc) that could be categorized as luck of the draw.

It’s human nature. I’m going to bet Gretzky gets the job if the Oilers finish 10-7-4 (overall record would be 36-36-10, 82 points) and within spitting distance of the postseason. We wait.

ANDREJ SEKERA

Hitchcock is bringing him along slowly, but I would like to see the third pairing slide up the depth chart by stealing time from the second pair. Either that or move Sekera up to play with Nurse.

TRADE DEADLINE

Well I thought the team would trade Alex Chiasson and Alex Petrovic, now I’m not so sure.

What should they do? Tank. Get a top-five overall pick and then trade it for a scoring winger who is under control for several years.

What will they do? Hell if I know.

Source: lowetide.ca

Whispering Pines