BTI’s Brenden Escott and Tony Brar discuss Brad Marchand’s brilliance, the Metropolitan Division & whether the NHL needs to reconsider its playoff format.
The Edmonton Oilers have dropped three in a row in the last week, losing to the Islanders and Canadiens in regulation and to Pittsburgh in a shootout. Furthermore, the Oilers’ record in their last 10 games (4-5-1) is not helping their cause in securing a playoff spot. Is it time to hit the panic button?
The NHL’s Pacific Division has had an extreme makeover since February 15th. The Flames have won 10 straight and currently find themselves in 2nd place in the Pacific. Furthermore, Calgary is riding a red-hot point streak, collecting points in each of their last 12 games (11-0-1).
- Brian Elliott has ramped up his play, going 10-0-0 with a sparkling GAA (1.70) and Sv% (.943) over that span. This is the goaltender Calgary traded for this past summer.
- Johnny Gaudreau seems to have found his scoring touch once again, scoring 14 PTS (4G, 10A) in his last 12 games. Number 13 scored a magnificent goal last night against the Penguins as well.
Anaheim has been able to play above .500 hockey, going 6-4-0 in their last 10. However, John Gibson is currently out of the lineup with a Day-to-Day lower body injury. Backup Jonathan Bernier is expected to carry the load for the short-term.
- Bernier has filled in nicely in his 7 games since February 22nd. Anaheim’s back-up has gone 5-2-0 with a .933 Sv% and 2.14 GAA. Anaheim should not have a problem in net while Gibson takes the time to recover. Note: Jonas Enroth was called up after Gibson’s injury.
- Ryan Getzlaf (11 Points) and Rickard Rakell (8 Points) have led the way for the Ducks in scoring during their last 8 games. However, Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf have only scored 14 and 13 goals, respectively, this season. If Anaheim wants to secure their position in the standings, Getzlaf and Perry have to be more consistent.
Oil Country currently holds the first Wild Card spot, just ahead of St. Louis by a margin of two points. The Blues are riding a 5-game winning streak and look to catch up to the Oilers by the weekend. STL has three games (ANA on Wed, SJS on Thurs & ARI on Sat) remaining this week.
- Jake Allen has been tremendous since February 1st. The Canadian goaltender has gone 9-5-0 with a fantastic .941 Sv% and 1.80 GAA.
- Vladimir Taransenko, in the same time frame, has recorded 10 goals in the 18 games played, putting his goal total to 32 on the season. Brad Marchand and Sidney Crosby lead the league in goals with 35, putting “Tara” just 3 back of Rocket Richard contention.
The Los Angeles Kings find themselves on the outside, looking in. Currently, they are five points back of St. Louis for the final playoff spot in the West (seven points behind the Oilers). The Kings suffered a crushing blow yesterday night, losing 3-1 to the aforementioned Blues at the Staples Center.
- LA is slated to play in Edmonton three more times before the regular season’s conclusion. Two of them will be played in Rogers Place, which doesn’t bode well for the Kings. They are currently 14-16-5 on the road this season; a number that needs to improve should they want to earn a post-season berth.
- These games are considered “must-wins” for both clubs. “4-point games” have become ever-so-crucial in the final stages of the season; they can really “make-or-break” a hockey team’s playoff hopes.
Is it time to push the panic button in Edmonton? Not quite!
The Oilers are just learning how to become a winning hockey team. One word: patience.
I know, I know. We Oiler fans have been more-than-patient with our struggling hockey team for over a decade. We’ve continued to fill our arena with passionate and loyal fans, game-after-game and year-after-year. So, why a little bit more patience?
It’s simple: we’re still seven points ahead of the team trying to chase us down, so we’ve created a little breathing room for ourselves. Let’s look at that breathing room as a reward for our hard efforts so far this season. A losing hockey team doesn’t turn into a contender overnight; there will be a few hiccups along the way. And that’s what we’re going through right now: a hiccup!
Beginning with the amazing luck we had, landing some guy named Connor McDavid in April 2015, we’ve seen significant changes.
Oilers Entertainment Group saw a new boss in town in Bob Nicholson. Significant additions to the organization came shortly after in Peter Chiarelli and Todd McLellan. Over time, we saw the small moves return big dividends (see Patrick Maroon). We’ve seen the make-up of this team change completely with additions of Milan Lucic and Adam Larsson. Things are coming together and the organization has seen light for the first time in 11 years.
The players are just learning how to win at the NHL-level. Players like Connor McDavid and Jordan Eberle are understanding the importance of the “little things” during gameplay. Even for the players and management that have found success elsewhere, they are learning to win as the Edmonton Oilers.
Having suffered through the last 10 years, I understand why our threshold for panic is so low. It’s easy to doubt the team that hasn’t seen postseason action since I was in Grade 8.
But I urge you, don’t press that button just yet! We’ve worked for that seven-point separation. We should be happy with such a gap!
Believe in what is happening and understand there will be a few hiccups. We’re going to be okay!
With the stretch drive of the NHL season upon us, Tony Brar and Brenden Escott discuss where the Oilers stack up against the rest of the Pacific Division.
Move over Seattle Seahawks! The Edmonton Oilers have taken your spot as the team with the most idiotic banner in their building!
Friday night the fine fools who run Rogers Place decided to honour billionaire hillbilly Garth Brooks by raising a banner to the rafters. Commemorating his nine straight sold out shows at the Oilers barn.
It’s the equivalent of framing your high school diploma and proudly displaying it on the wall.
That’s right, one of the biggest country musicians in history completed the impossible task of attracting every bumpkin, bush pig, slack jaw, good ol’ boy, yokel, hick, and hayseed from the country western wasteland that is Alberta.
I know, I’m being a dick. This was definitely no small feat. But he get’s a banner!? Next to names like Gretzky, Messier, Anderson, Fuhr, and even Phillips. It’s insane.
Garth is a visitor to this city, he didn’t put years of his life into this frozen hellscape we all love. A plaque somewhere would be much more appropriate, why not a section in Rogers Place for some arena history?
In Rexall place, there were photos of past performances along with historic Oilers and Oil Kings moments. I think a section in Rogers devoted to musical guests, WWE, the rodeo etc. would be pretty cool.
On the other hand, this is a great business move by the Oilers Entertainment Group, CEO Bob Nicholson presented him with the banner and some flowers for his wife, Trisha Yearwood. For Garth fans, I’m sure it was cool to see.
I’m guessing the OEG want to show other mega stars that Edmonton truly is a world class city. I heard just to keep up London is hosting two straight weeks of Kid Rock concerts!
Toronto is the six, can Edmonton be the nine now?
photo courtesy of globalnews.ca
There’s an interesting race brewing for the NHL’s most coveted individual award. Penguins superstar, Sidney Crosby, and Edmonton’s saviour, Connor McDavid, both find themselves on top of league scoring and are considered early favorites for the league’s Most Valuable Player. Who will come out on top?
History of the Hart
Before digging into their 2016-2017 performances, let’s look at some patterns in the awarding of the Hart:
- Since 1990, 21 of 26 recipients of the award have been forwards (with 13 of those 21 being centres). Barring any big surprises, it can be reasonably assumed that one of the two centres will win be crowned MVP.
Note: Wayne Gretzky won an incredible nine Hart Trophies between 1980 and 1989; these numbers would have skewed the data, hence the 1990 starting point.
- Of the last 26 recipients, 22 of them were skaters (one defenceman, Chris Pronger, was awarded the Hart in 2000). 12 of the 22 skaters led the league in scoring the same year they won. However, there seems to be a recent trend when voting for the Hart: nine of the last 14 Hart Trophy winners also won the Art Ross Trophy.
- Staying within 1990 to 2016, all 26 winners were players on a playoff team. In regards to making the playoffs, Pittsburgh and Edmonton, while still probable, will need to continue their high level of play to secure playoff positions.
- Important note: Sidney Crosby is the winner of two Hart Trophies (2007 & 2014).
Of course, we need to look at the 2016-2017 season. Crosby and McDavid find themselves tied for the NHL’s scoring lead with 60 points a piece. However, Sid the Kid has only played in 46 games as opposed to McDavid’s 55. Their stat lines are as follows:
- Crosby: 46 GP, 30 G, 30 A, 60 PTS, +16, 19:26 TOI
- McDavid: 55 GP, 18 G, 42 A, 60 PTS, +15, 21:16 TOI
While leading the league in goals, Crosby owns a 1.30 PTS/Game average, which is tops in the league. In 2006-2007 and 2013-2014 (Crosby’s two Hart Trophy winning seasons), the Penguins star held 1.52 and 1.3 PTS/Game averages. You can say Sid is scoring at a nominal ‘Hart Rate’ this season.
McDavid’s vision and playmaking ability puts him on top of the NHL’s assist leader-board. He owns a 1.09 PTS/Game and logs more ice time than Sidney Crosby. He is 5th among forwards in TOI, trailing Patrick Kane (1st) by 17 Seconds/Game.
While a good reference point, the above stats don’t tell the whole story. Let’s dig deeper into situational stats:
Home & Away:
Home: 24 GP, 13 G, 16 A, 29 PTS, +8 Record: 19-3-2
Away: 22 GP, 17 G, 14 A, 31 PTS, +8 Record: 11-8-3
Home: 25 GP, 6 G, 17 A, 23 PTS, +6 Record: 13-9-3
Away: 30 GP, 12 G, 25 A, 37 PTS, +9 Record: 16-9-5
Wins & Losses*
Wins: 30 GP, 25 G, 23 A, 48 PTS, +29
Losses: 16 GP, 5 G, 7 A, 12 PTS, -13
Wins: 29 GP, 12 G, 27 A, 39 PTS, +24
Losses: 26 GP, 6 G, 15 A, 21 PTS, -9
*Includes OT Losses
- Both Crosby and McDavid enjoy productive nights playing in opposing teams’ arenas, which is contrary to the norm. Going up against the other teams’ top lines seems to bring the best out of both candidates.
- Unlike McDavid, Crosby’s production doesn’t share a direct correlation with the Penguins’ success on the road. Furthermore, the Pens have a sparkling home record; one that doesn’t seem to heavily rely on 87’s production as much.
- McDavid has a PTS/Game average below 1.00 at Rogers Place this season, which is odd in theory. One would believe McLellan, with the last-change, would deploy 97 in favorable matchups. McDavid’s direct correlation in both home/away production with team success indicates the Oilers’ reliance on their franchise centre.
- The Oilers pivot also seems to be more productive than Crosby in losses, which means McDavid truly gives his team a chance to win every night. It is worth noting that McDavid and Crosby score at a 0.81 and 0.75 PTS/Game marks, which are very good numbers in these circumstances.
Quoting NHL.com, the Hart Memorial Trophy is “given to the player judged to be the most valuable to his team.” It is the highest honor an NHL player can receive during regular season play.
My early-bird pick for the 2017 National Hockey League MVP: Connor McDavid.
While Crosby is scoring at an incredible rate, I believe his 19.9 Shooting% is unsustainable; his career average is 14.8%. This would ultimately lead to a decrease in goals and point production over the second-half of the season. Additionally, Crosby’s Penguins have shown that they can win with less production from 87.
Meanwhile, Connor McDavid’s production seems to be correlated with team success; this emphasizes the importance of the Ontarian’s point totals. Furthermore, he has shown the ability to put up points in bunches and should see a slight increase in production during the second half (mainly due to maturity and experience). Thus, the end-of-season statistics should be closer than what they are sitting at right now and a little easier to choose a winner.
- In my opinion, Sidney Crosby is still the best player in the world. However, considering the definition of the Hart, I just see Connor McDavid fitting the description better.
- I believe Sidney Crosby will win the Ted Lindsay Award as the best player voted by the players at season’s end.
- Sidney Crosby leads all active players in PTS/Game. He is 5th all-time in this category behind Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Mike Bossy and Bobby Orr. Incredible!
Tyler, Taylor and Muhammad talk about the NLL, March Madness, debate goalie equipment and introduce a new segment!