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The McDavid, Bouchard and Hogberg 8 game review!

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NHL: Ottawa Senators at Edmonton Oilers
More please!
Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back to the 8 game review. Here is last time’s for reference.

It’s been a weird time because we are winning and everything is good but I find myself not agreeing with anyone.lol I’m quite worried about Jesse and finishing. I think we need to trade Barrie and bolster other parts of the lineup. I’m really not sure what more Nurse can do to not get booed by his own fanbase.

First 8 games, 3 wins and 5 losses for 6 points.

Games 9 to 16, 6 wins and 2 losses for 12 points! We actually hit a neat pattern as we lose 1 and win 3 then we lose 1 and win 3 again. So expect us to lose to the Jet’s on Monday and win the next 3!

Our PP for that time frame was 4th in the NHL. Our PK was 22nd (that one needs work). By points we are 3rd in the divsion. By points percentage we are 5th.

I ended that one with this:

Moving forward. What we need for success.

  1. Drai, RNH, McD and Kailer need to keep being awesome. JP and Kahun need to chip in 3 or 4 points in the next 8 games.
  2. Kassian needs to keep tilting the ice in the bottom 6. He’s had great chances and has looked great. He has as many points in his 2 games in the bottom 6 as his 6 games in the Top 6. Really, ANYONE in the bottom 6 making a positive difference would be welcome.
  3. Turris needs to find a pulse. He’s better than this.
  4. Smith needs to recover AND not suck
  5. Bear is improving and getting there. The rest of the D needs some stability.
  6. Fix the PP (putting Nurse there did work, I’d still prefer Bouchard)
  7. Barrie needs to improve a LOT. He plays 20 minutes a night and is not doing well. Needs 4 points in next 8 games to earn his keep.
  8. PK needs to improve
  9. Time to trot out some young guns and risk a little - McLeod in bottom 6, Benson in bottom 6, Jones not in pressbox, Bouchard as number 7

Almost none of this happened and we were wildly successful. Some of our Top 6 is struggling. Kassian is not tilting anything as he is on IR. Turris is still without a pulse (and another year on his contract). Bear is out! The PP is doing really well! Smith recovered and came back as the second coming of Dominik Hasek. Barrie is on a HEATER and looks great. PK is still ‘meh’. Definitely no McLeod or Benson. Jones is still eating Nachos. Bouchard has entered and looked great.

Tippet is being criticized for not playing youth and veterans instead. Yet JP is getting nothing but opportunity and so is Bouchard. So there is definitely opportunity for the youth, just not all of them. I’m really hoping there is more going on with Jones than just being benched.

It is fair to point out that we had 4 games against the Senators and they are currently the worst team in the NHL. That is definitely fair but we don’t always win the games we should. We also beat the 1 and 2 teams in the divison in this 8 games. Only team in the North we haven’t beaten is Calgary but we get 2 chances real soon! We did have some time off and I feel like Tippet is really focused on finding balance in the lineup. I think he’s been doing a good job. No one would’ve thought our D would be doing this well without Jones and Bear in the lineup yet they are doing quite well. JP was given a golden run of opportunity as well.

Scoring

Let’s break it down a little more... forwards:

Some good and some bad here. Connor and Drai continue to be amazing! Khaira is third in scoring in the last 8 games. I’m really happy for him but a little concerned about Yamamoto and RNH. The good news is that we have a new third line that is doing awesome in Khaira, Ennis and Archibald. Last time we had no bottom 6 scoring and now we have 3 bottom 6 guys doing very well for themselves! We also have Neal tossing in 2 goals from the bottom 6. This is a total reversal of the first 8 games and they kind of thing you want to see out of your bottom 6! I would like to see RNH back to a point per game pace and I actually didn’t realize Yam had run this dry until I pulled this up. Did I mention DRY? I think it’s time to switch it up and put Kahun with McD. I thought that last time and I’ll think it next time too.

Your Kassian update.. he has 9 points since being signed in January. Since signing he has more suspended games and injured games than actual points. His absence actually made the bottom 6 better as Tippet unearthed a great line of Archi/Khaira/Ennis. I’m actually not sure where he slots back in? I hope people remember this when wanting a Barrie extension because that contract will feel like the Kassian and Koskinen extensions.

JP is everyone’s favorite Oiler right now. I’m skeptical on his scoring ability. His physical gifts and natural talent are through the roof. His ice tilting is exceptional but he doesn’t really finish much. He did have 3 goals in 2 games during this stretch. It also means he went pointless in 5 of the 7 games he played. The big thing used to be that he was never given any real opportunity and was buried in the bottom 6. Well, he’s on McD’s line and getting Powerplay time. You know who isn’t getting a lot of minutes? Zero time with McDavid and no Powerplay time? Khaira/Ennis/Archibald and they all outscored Jesse this time around. Khaira gets about 11 minutes a night and was benched 4 of the 8 games. Ennis also sat half the time. Archibald, in fairness, does get an occasional look with McDavid. Still, are we sure it’s lack of opportunity with JP? Is it just puck luck now?

RNH and Yam have run DRY!

The D

Barrie was on fire this segment. 10 points in 8 games is unheard of in Oil country by a D. You might notice Evan Bouchard at number 3 with a nice .4 ppg. I never want to see Evan in the pressbox again but fear that is what happens when Bear returns. Larsson had a nice 8 game segment and has found some nice chemistry with Lagesson (who’s playing great). All of this is at the expense of Caleb Jones who is a routine healthy scratch. Still, if you told me before the season that we would be successful without Klef, Bear and Jones I would’ve laughed you out of the room. Tippet deserves some credit for all of this. He’s got Barrie going, he’s got Nurse on a career year, Larsson is turned around and Rookie Bouchard is getting good minutes. Russel/Koekkoek over Jones is a tough one to watch but it’s working. I do hope to see more of Jones and Bear! Just not at the expense of Bouchard who needs regular NHL minutes now! He has nothing to prove anywhere else. It’s time.

The Goalies

We got 3 wins from 3 different goalies in the last 8 games! Mike Smith has not allowed our opponents one goal! He did allow one goal but that was a bardown shot from Larsson! Smith keeping up this pace is as sustainable as assuming Nurse scores 20 goals or Khaira keeps up his 1.0ppg pace but that was amazing to watch! Congrats to Skinner for an NHL win and Wells for getting into an NHL game as a backup! I assume we split Koski/Smith going forward and I’m all over it. I still think we need a better goalie if we’re serious about this Stanley Cup thing. Raanta for Barrie straight up! Barrie for Rakell straight up!

So everything was really good. There is the asterisk that we played the Sens 4 times. First segment we didn’t play the Sens and it was ugly. Second one we did and it was good. Curious what the third segment brings. I still think we are a playoff team but not a cup contender.

For next time:

  1. RNH, Yam and JP need to get at least 4 to 5 points each
  2. Connor/Drai need to keep demolishing everyting in their paths
  3. Barrie needs to keep putting up points
  4. Nurse needs to continue to be steady... I don’t expect 5 goals though
  5. The new third line needs to keep scoring
  6. Need Bear back! But not at the expense of Bouchard who should never sit again.
  7. The Counting Crows want Mr. Jones back!
  8. I think we need to make a trade and address some weaknesses
  9. Take your time in recovery Zack! No rush.
  10. Both goalies healthy and play 4 games each

The first 8 games and the next 8 games look like 2 different teams. Really curious what the next segment brings!