Saturday, October 21, 2017

11:00 AM start time to Oilers, Flyers game, what was the NHL thinking.

Games that start in the AM are all mental as athlete's bodies are creatures of habits.  Playing at 1:00 am eastern time is likely around the time guys are use to relaxing, not firing on all cylinders.  When do you eat your pregame meal.  I have always felt older teams with more experience do better at the early games just because age teaches players how to mentally will themselves to compete when the body wants to sleep.

5 observations in Oilers 2-1 loss to the Flyers.

1.  I bet the analytics of giving up the first goal and winning are not very good.  The Oilers have to do a better job at start of the game.  They cannot continue to give up the first goal and hope to have success.  Based on the fact they suck at the PK that means not taking penalties.  

2.  By not developing a shot McDavid is like a pass first point guard in the NBA.  You just play off the guy, keep him in front of you, take away passing lanes and dare him to shoot.   McDavid is no different.  His wrist shot is so slow.  He puts his weight on stick, twists body, goalie has a smoke and then he shoots. No slap or snap shot to speak of.  Any competent NHL goalie if he sees McDavid shoot is going to stop his shot.  For all of McDavid's greatness you just have to stop the breakaways and clog up passing lanes to really limit his ability.  I say limit because you can't stop great players, you can just limit them.  What also limits McDavid is he loses so many of his faceoffs.  

3.  Lucic, an older player was a force in this game.  Strong game on the puck.  Make that man an ice man because when you hit him it is like running into a wall of ice.  I love watching Flyers bounce off him.  So strong on the boards.  Didn't show up on score sheet but nobody on his line did.  Strome was missing in action and RNH played way too much on the outside.  Never was able to get the puck into good scoring areas.  

4.  Some like to point out how Oilers keep winning shot metrics which I believe is a fancy way of saying Oilers out shoot the opposing team.  This may be the case but it sure doesn't seem like there are a lot of hard saves being made by the opposing goalies.  What Oiler has a good shot?  Other than injured Draisaitl I can't think of one Oiler with a shot that keeps goalies awake at night.  I also don't see enough passes leading to shots when opposing goalie is moving and not set.  It seem like the team is doing the whole Jordan Eberle, dust the puck off and shoot the puck giving goalies chance to get square to the shooter.  With the size of goalies these days I just don't see how you are going to score unless the goalie is moving, not set.  

5.  Adam Larsson brought the ice tonight.  He seems to have found his game.  You can see him getting in better position, making some real solid hits.  I think at the start of the season he had to adjust to the new ways they were calling the rules but now has seemed to settle in back the really strong physical player we have come to love in Edmonton.  

Disappointing loss.  Team definitely has to figure itself out without Draisailt in lineup.  Looks very slow on ice.  Thoughts?  Leave a comment.

Master Iceman

Friday, October 20, 2017

McDavid is not Gretzky and that is perfectly OK.

I don't even remember Gretzky all that well anymore.  You'd think I would watch youtube videos or the bio videos of 99 I bought but it hurts too much to watch knowing I will never see Gretzky play hockey like he did through the eyes of a child when I say him last play.  What is the same is wanting more than anything to be able to turn on the TV and being able to watch both play.   The McDavid spin doopsey doodle to Maroon a fire hydrant on skates, smart enough to put his stick on the ice and score, is why McDavid is must see, don't call for ice or you will be blackballed for not watching Oilers hockey, TV!

5 observations in Oilers 2-1 win against the Chicago Blackhawks.

1.  Maroon scores so as I like to say to summer student workers you are not completely useless and if you want to get paid be the fire hydrant.  Being strong on your stick, in the right places is all you need to really do with McDavid.  Get out of his way, when he doesn't have the puck, get him the puck and make yourself open in a good scoring spot ready to receive the puck.  It is as easy and hard as that.  I still won't like Maroon's game until he reaches out and punches someone. 

2.  Oilers were a 100 point and then some team last year because of Talbot just as much as McDavid. Talbot has to be better than the other goalie for the Oilers to win.  A good goalie will steal wins when the rest of the team is out of sync.  If Talbot isn't playing well you can't sit him at the start of the year.  You ride him until he works his way out of the flaws in his game because if Talbot isn't one of the top goalies in the league the Oilers are not winning any cups. 

3.  I didn't mind when Kassian hit the Chicago player from behind.  It isn't my favorite type of hit but for Kassian he has to toe the line between being a bring the ice type player and a dirty one.  Intimidation is one of the most underrated skill sets in sports as it can't really be quantified with analytics.  In my experience fear of an opposing player changes how you play the game.  Kassian is one of those guys with crazy eyes who you just don't know if he will lose his mind on the ice.  There is value to that type of player.  The rub is upon occasion Kassian pulls a Kassian and plants an opposing player face first into boards.  It is the type of hit you don't want to see, but you live with as in the larger picture it puts fear into the opposing team. 

4.  I really liked the fourth line of Pakarinen, Malone and Kassian.  I felt like they brought a level of grit that teams are going to have trouble handling.  Malone is good in front of the net, Pakarinen has speed to burn and Kassian is well Kassian, a beast with a mean streak bringing the ice to most games.  They are the type of line that will hurt to play against.  Perfect for a fourth line needed to  change the energy of a game with a big hit or a strong cycle game in the opposing zone. 

5.  Ryan Strome is a really solid player 5 feat from the net.  He doesn't skate real well.  Isn't going to out physical anyone but has really nice hands close to the net.  When you combine him with Lucic and RNH there is something there.  I hope McLellan gives them a few games to continue to gel.

What did you see? Don't be shy.  Leave a comment. Will Yamamoto last more than 9 games?   

Until tomorrow... Stay COOL :)

Master Iceman

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Oilers losing ways and inept coaching are leading me to drink.

I cringe every time the Oilers play Carolina Hurricanes.  I don't know much about systems or style of play except to say the hockey isn't pleasing to watch when Hurricanes are in town.  End to end rushes rarely happen, pretty hockey becomes a distant memory and games are painful to watch.  Generally speaking Oilers aren't always the best at winning ugly, gritty, you know it is going to hurt hockey.  Tonight was no different. 

5 observations In Oilers too little too late 5-3 loss to Hurricanes.

1.  Bad pinch leads to goal.  Too many men penalty.  Undisciplined play by Maroon leads to penalty.  Bottom line team not ready to play.  That is on McLellan.  Coach needs to do more to get his team ready to play.  Much easier to get a new coach than make a trade of consequence in a salary cap world.  

2.  Why Brossoit starting when Oilers season depends on Talbot finding his game?  You have lost 3 in row and instead of giving your starting goalie who was awesome last year the opportunity to find his game you play the backup.  If I am Talbot I am pissed and want to the net.  Playing bad, getting yanked is keeping me up at night.  I need to the net to get the stink of losing and sucking out of my head.  What the Oilers were missing tonight was the big save as exemplified by the 4th and 5th Carolina goals when team was making a comeback.  Grant Fuhr makes those saves.  Talbot makes those saves last year.  Brossoit barely an NHL goalie does not make those saves.  

3.  If the Oilers insist on having defensive dman on the second unit power play why not have Nurse instead of Russell.  We all know what Russell is as a defenseman.  He isn't going to suddenly develop offensive flair this late in his career whereas Nurse is relatively unknown as an offensive talent.  Neither has a shot but Nurse still has time to develop one.  With Sekara and Benning out give Nurse a chance to see if he can develop a little.  

4.  Maroon should be barred from shaving until he gets into a fight.  I just do not like his game.  He got played on the first penalty.  I remember having the same thing happen to me when I played college ball.  Some yahoo gave me a shot, ref missed so I returned favor and ref called foul of me.  Last year he was fighting anyone he could.  In your face, gritty hockey.  Setting tone with soft hands and raging fists.  This year he is an invisible man.  No power forward should ever be clean shaven.  

5.  I like simplifying Ryan Strome's game.  Let him focus on a few small things, go to the net, tip a puck like he did and bam you have a goal.   Same with Lucic, hit, work hard and shoot the puck. So important for secondary scoring to take pressure off Oilers top line.  

I am depressed.  Drank half a bottle of my bosses whisky that he left in my vehicle.  Cheer me up, what positives did you observe in this game?

Stay Cool,

Master Iceman