2017: The Year of the Oilers

Happy Oilers New Year to everyone back home in the West! I hope you all had a good one last night and that you were all responsible (at least with your transportation, who you went home with at the end of the evening is on you. lol).

The Oilers did not win last night and that was disappointing. The Canucks are right horrible and Edmonton shouldn’t have too much of a problem taking them to the toolshed on a consistent basis from here on out BUT they ran into a ridiculously hot Jacob Markstrom and 42 saves later the Canucks had the two points whilst Edmonton rang in the new year with a Bettman point firmly in hand.

They really need to do something about their OT and shootout performances, right? I mean what coach doesn’t have their shootout top 5 looking like this for EVERY shootout:

  1. McDavid
  2. Eberle
  3. Draisaitl
  4. Letestu
  5. Nugent-Hopkins

Surely they want to win every game possible…

That being said, there were some nice performances put on by Cam Talbot, Drake Caggiula, Jesse Puljujarvi (did you see that shot that took Markstrom by surprise?), Nuge, McDavid, Eberle, Draisaitl, and Russell. Then there were some not so good performances by the Gryba/Davidson pairing (-2 on the evening), Kassian wasn’t at his best, and I was left wanting from Maroon a bit.

These things happen, though. Edmonton, IIRC, is 4-0-2 in their last 6 games and that is de-cent. I’m not a huge fan of dropping points to inferior teams, especially when those points are as precious as they are in a division as tight (and horrible) as the Pacific is.

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A New Year and Some Possible Changes

So, something has been bothering me this year and I need to get it off of my chest.

I find it harder and harder to participate on Twitter each time there’s an Oilers game on. Mostly, I find I’m having a hard time taking the characters that are extreme eye-test or extreme analytics seriously.

If you get on Twitter during an Oilers game, you can usually find the usual suspects commenting every time. But here’s the thing. With the fancies, I want to be open-minded but I don’t think I can with the current group (apart from G Money of course but that’s because he’s a level-headed fella that can speak to my level and he’s a cool dude to boot.) because they’re just turning into dicks to be frank. If the calculations are not done their way with the numbers they have, then anything else MUST be, and these are the new oilogosphere buzzwords for 2017, “Snake Oil” or “Black Box Analytics”.

Are any of the “numbers guys” who populate the Oilogosphere willing to get in contact or have had contact with Stathletes or Truperformance (for example) to get a grip on how they’re accumulating their stats or will they continue to take to the Twitter machine to discredit them.

I thought that getting as much info as possible was more beneficial to the statistics community than getting less. David Staples has a great article up now (click above) on Truperformance that details how they determine their numbers and I’m absolutely for their method because you cannot, in my opinion, judge the game of hockey solely by the numbers you scrape from NHL.com. The game has to be watched and it should be watched by former NHL players, coaches, or scouts because they’d know what to look for. So, despite what Andrew Berkshire says about Former Oiler Brad Werenka’s company, I dig their methods.

Personally, I wondered how cool it would be to go to work for Truperformance and learn how to watch a game properly and learn the values of certain plays and situations. Just to gain that sort of education on the game of hockey would be so valuable.

The numbers, for me at least, I have a simple grasp upon. Enough to get what I want out of them at this point. I’ve got all of Rob Vollman’s Hockey Abstracts and his new book, Stat Shot. So any questions I may have, the answers aren’t far behind. Just now, I won’t be heading to Twitter for my queries and curiosities. It’s become too toxic for me.

As for the eye-test extremists, they’re just as hard to talk to because they won’t see it any other way. A bit maddening it be. I love hockey and I love the Oilers more but I just want to enjoy the game in a way where I’m not coming away being frustrated at anything more than a poor performance from the Oilers.

I think the healthy thing would be to enjoy the game the way I see fit and ignore those that don’t allow me to do so. I don’t like being snarky online, nor in real life, as it doesn’t get you anywhere. Sarcastic, yes! Dickish, no.

Jesse and the Rippers

Jesse Puljujarvi and Drake Caggiula are coming on, I feel it. And who would’ve known? Give the kids some consistent TOI and they tend to show up. It’s a battle that has been going on all season, do you send those two down to the AHL and bring up Anton Lander and Anton Slepyshev? I don’t know anymore. Pulju and Drake have a combined 15 points I think and that’s not enough production for a third line (or fourth line depending on who you ask) for me. But would Lander and Slepyshev do better and with Pouliot? I have a difficult time saying no but you know when you see Caggiula and Puljujarvi playing good, you want to see more of that! IT’S TEARING ME APART!!

The decent thing about this predicament is that when the Oilers make the playoffs, the depth is going to be ridiculous ESPECIALLY when the Oilers deal for Duchene and Halak 😉

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Beer League Hero Written by:

I'm the Beer League Hero! I am from Camrose, Alberta but I make my home in Taipei City, Taiwan. I've been through the ups and downs and the highs and the Lowes, the Bonsignores and the McDavids, the Sathers and the Eakins but I'll never leave my Oilers, no matter what! They're with me until the end and then some. GO OILERS GO!