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The UGLY

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NHL: Edmonton Oilers at Winnipeg Jets
Look at me again and you’re going back to the LIIGA!
James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports

I guess it wasn’t going 7 after all? You spend your evening watching a game till 2 in the morning. You see your season end on a bizarre play that is a combination of watching Connor give the puck away and Bear on the ice for 20 seconds (after sitting almost a full 60 minutes). You spend your morning reading the thoughts. Reading Jeff’s good article. Looking at the Twitter banter. Reading the comments section from the awesome posters on here. You see so many opinions and so much disappointment. You think back to 2 posters quitting at the start of the season and you picture them laughing somewhere.

Here is a visual walk of the things that stood out to me this morning:

Starting with Chapman’s article:

Briefly

  • Game 1 was a 2-1 game with a couple of extra empty net goals at the end
  • Game 2 was a 1-0 game lost in OT
  • Game 3 was a 5-4 game lost in OT
  • Game 4 was a 4-3 game lost in triple OT.

I think right away, the rational part of me notices this. We were swept but we weren’t blownout. We are talking a few bad bounces, a few iffy moments, a few stupid plays. We were close and competitive. We also made the playoffs. This is the closest sweep in history.

Ah yes, Pierre McGuire was trending and I had to click on it. We needed more Defence from McDavid. That was the key. Our team needed him to block a few more shots and PK a little. I picture poor Connor trying to figure out how to play D and Goalie in the offseason. The guy is the best player on the planet and people are questioning him?

Regarding Hall of Famer Yzerman. When his teams started winning it was in a non cap world and he was surrounded by Hall of Famers from the coaches to the players. Shanahan, Robitaile, Hasek, Lidstrom, Fedorov, Chelios, Larionov and Hull. The coach was Bowman who is also a Hall of Famer. So was the GM who is our very own Ken Holland (now operating in a much different cap era). I’m also guessing that Datsyuk might make Hall of Fame as well.

Now let’s look at Connor and his surroundings. How many guys you got going to the Hall of Fame when their careers are over? Drai and .... ?????

Connor was a jetski in this series. It was truly something amazing to watch.

How is this allowed? I actually enjoyed the Jet’s team and their players but this was just a blatant penalty.

Generational players usually start being on winning teams about 5 years in. We’re here!

I’ve read so much about trading Connor and it is brutal. Blaming your best player on a loss is a very Oiler’s fanbase thing to do. What more can Connor do? Or Drai?

Craig Button tossed McDavid under the bus by pointing out 2 awful giveaways that caused 2 goals that felt like daggers to the heart:

I agree they were bad giveaways but when you play 30 minutes a night and have the puck on your stick it will happen. Blaming Connor is stupid. Trading Connor is stupider.

This is why! Look how little support we had after our 2 supernovas? 6 years later and if McDrai aren’t scoring, we’re not winning.

This is just a nice summary thread.

Points! Let’s look at those. We had ONE player get more than ONE goal. 2 goals from Drai lead the team in Goals. Here is the expansive list of all the guys that got more than 1 point:

6 guys with 2 points or more. Nice to see Kassian up there. I don’t see Nurse, Barrie or Yam though? Where is ‘Top 5 Barrie’ in all of this?

How about minutes, here is the 30 minutes or more club:

We had 5 guys that averaged over 30 minutes a game. 2 of them were Kris Russel and Tyson Barrie. This is not a solid playoff strategy.

I feel bad for Smith. He was excellent and gave it his all. We wasted a very good goaltending performance. Even worse, might be his last one as I don’t think we should resign a 40 year old.

Darnell with 62 minutes last night. That is more than a full NHL game in one night on a back to back. Meanwhile guys like Jones, Bouchard and Bear watch.

Tipp decided to play 4 D for 3 straight full periods of hockey in an elimination game. He sat Bear after Bear made an awful and costly giveaway. Is the playoffs the time to send messages like this? I thought the Bear play was awful but you don’t play 4 guys for the rest of the night at this point. You tell him to shake it off and move on from it. There has been such a consistent leash for vets to screwup and young players to be benched immediately.

Devin Shore to the rescue! Shore got more minutes than almost all our forwards. Don’t get me wrong, I thought he played excellent but when did Shore become a Top 6 elimination game player for us? What message are we sending when we do that?

I do think focusing on Shore playing a lot, Connor yelling at clouds on the bench, the Bear 20 second shift, the Connor give away is all a bit misguided. We had no injuries to deal with. This was our team. Leafs lost Tavares and could still win the North. Jet’s were missing PLD and Ehlers and still won the first 2. We had all hands on deck and McLeod/RNH/Kassian was our second line. Shore got more minutes than JP. Nurse played 62 mintues. We benched Bear for a full NHL game in the middle of a full NHL game. How did we get to game 4 with no real gameplan or identity? I still can’t tell you if we are a one line team with McDrai or a 2 line team with them split up? It changes by the second.

I see players like Bear screw up and get benched. I can’t help but think that Tipp coaches to NOT LOSE. He doesn’t coach to WIN. So if you make a game costing mistake he will replace you with a vet who, instead, would’ve dumped it in deeper or shot it off the glass. At this point, we may as well bring back David Musil as he’d have gotten 50 minutes last night. ‘Just shoot it up the wall David!’.

Who do we resign? Here are the guys that are not signed for next year. It’s a mix of RFA and UFA players. I highlighted who I’d bring back on similar contracts to now (except Yam who is due for a raise):

RNH, Barrie, Larsson, Kahun, Chiasson, Khaira, Ennis, Haas, Yam, Nygard (already gone), Shore, P. Russel, Kulikov, Koekoek and Smith. Next year you get JP and Nurse both in a contract year. I don’t buy this ‘lots of cap space coming up’ stuff. I’m also not sure Holland is the guy I want to have extra cap space.

The Pipeline looks good. Holloway, Bouchard and Broberg are all looking to be excellent NHLers. We did stop rushing guys which is FANTASTIC. However, now we are over riping Bouchard. All his contemporaries played. I actually think McLeod has got close to him in NHL games played now. McLeod was the second round pick in that same draft.

Goodbye Archi! I was a big fan but something tells me you are being traded.lol

The over 30 club for next year:

Koskinen (Chia)

Kassian (Holland) 3.2

Stalock (Holland) .8

Turris (Holland) 1.6

Neal (Holland) 6.5

Russel (Holland) 1.25

Sure you can blame Chia. I spent years writing about how awful he is. When you look at this pile of 30 year olds, who do you value? The Holland signings above equal roughly 13 million dollars.

Well, it sucks. It all sucks. I feel the worst for Connor and the fans. I don’t know what more Connor can do and feel like Yzerman type comparisons or pointing out that MacKinnon is doing well are all unfair. Let Barrie and Smith walk. Fire Tippett for his playoff failures. NEVER sit Bouch again. Keep JP and Yam locked up. Get another winger though. Keep Larsson or find a RD for similar dollars but give the blue line to Bouch and Bear.

As always, we have been gifted 2 of the best players in the game. That is the hard part. Filling in the rest of the roster shouldn’t be this hard. 15 years of this!

Fire them all to be safe!