Monday, 10 December 2018

Predictions for Oilers Games 31 to 40

The Oilers tightened things up over the last ten games and took 7 wins and 3 losses from the stretch.  The next ten games has some interesting challenges with games against Tampa Bay and San Jose as well as two games against the Jets.

I have been a fan so far of the attention to detail shown by the Oilers under new coach Ken Hitchcock.  We seem to have stopped making the simple mistakes that we were making before the coaching change.  Checks get finished, sticks are in the right places and every player looks like he knows his role and is in the main looking effective.

Of course a coaching change usually brings with it a bump in performance so the next ten games will be a great barometer of where the Oilers are at.

Another 7 wins (which I am predicting!) would set the Oilers up nicely but that is easy to write!

Here are my predictions:

Exciting times!

My predictions for the Oilers games 21 to 30 reviewed

So the Oilers put together a nice ten game stretch and matched my prediction of 7 wins and 3 losses - I didn't call every game correctly but I did pretty well and predicted 8 of the 10 games correctly.

My original predictions are posted here.

The next ten games could define the season, a similar run or even 6 wins and 4 losses would keep the Oilers well in contention.

I will have a look at the next ten games in a later post.

Sunday, 9 December 2018

My Hockey Reading List for the Christmas Holidays 2018

With about ten days off work over Christmas I have a bit of time to read various hockey books I have picked up over the last month or two.

I will post some reviews as I finish them!

Everyday Hockey Heroes: Inspiring Stories On and Off the Ice by Bob McKenzie and Jim Lang

Behind the Bench: Inside the Minds of Hockey's Greatest Coaches  by Craig Custance

Cujo: The Untold Story of My Life On and Off the Ice by Curtis Joseph

Leave No Doubt: A Credo for Chasing Your Dreams by Mike Babcock

Grit and Glory: Celebrating 40 Years of the Edmonton Oilers by Lorna Schultz Nicholson

Hopefully I have made some good purchases, time will tell.

McDavid now on pace for 116 points

After Friday night's dominant performance against the Wild Connor now sits with 40 points in 28 games (the Oilers have played 29 but 97 missed the recent game against Dallas).

After a quiet ten days his 4 point outing puts him on pace for 116 points, his best ever but a little off his pace of earlier in the season.

His recent cooling off I think can be attributed to three main factors:

  1. Adjusting to live with new coach Ken Hitchcock
  2. High amounts of ice time leading to tiredness
  3. A recent bout of illness that led to him missing the Dallas game

McDavid sits 4th in NHL scoring, 8 points behind leader Mikko Rantanen.

McDavid continues to score in most games, of the 28 games he has played in he has just 4 games with zero points, he then has:

14 one point games

6 two point games

2 three point games

2 four point games

Lets see what tonight brings in the Battle of Alberta!

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Oiler host Dallas Pre Game Stats

I am working to add some extra rows to this so it compares more data, also working on the colour coding.  Oilers don't look good on paper but oddly I expect a win.

Team Dallas Stars Edmonton Oilers
Games Played 24 23 1
Wins 12 10 2
Losses 10 11 -1
OT 2 2 0
Points26 22 -4
Points Per Game1.08 0.96 -4
Win % 54.2 47.8 7
Goals Scored Per Game 2.833 2.783 0.05
Goals Against Per Game 2.75 3.304 -0.55
E/S GF/GA Ratio 0.9574 0.8222 0.14
Powerplay % 0
Powerplay Goals For 25th 16th 9
Powerplay Goals Against 7th 27th -20
Powerplay Opportunities 29th 20th 9
Penalty Kill Percentage % 8th 28th -20
Shots Per Game 22nd 19th 3
Shots Allowed Per Game 10th 7th 3
Win % if scores first 10th 28th -18
Win % if away team scores first 21st 12th 9
Win % if leading after first period 23rd 22nd 1
Win % if leading after second period 6th 19th -13
Win % when outshoot opposition 4th 23rd -19
Win % when outshot by opposition 4th 23rd -19
Number of face offs taken 24th 27th -3
Face offs won 11th 29th -18
Face offs lost 5th 14th -9
Face off win % 5th 26th -21
Shooting % 9.3 9.0 0
Save % 0.911 0.889 0

Sunday, 25 November 2018

My predictions for the Oilers, games 21-30

The Oilers decided to go into a funk for the second ten games of the season blowing a hole in my predictions for those games - you can find them here and the postmortem here.

I am a little late writing my predictions for games 21 to 30 as two games have already been played.

I am predicted a 7-3-0 run for the Oilers over the next ten games - I am expecting new coach Ken Hitchcock to have quite an impact and all the teams are beatable.  The only thing that could hamper the team is the busy schedule of games.

Oilers at Kings - stats preview and prediction

This will be a win for the Oilers!


Coaching - just the type of game where Hitchcock can squeeze a win out of the Oilers.

Record - despite a mixed season for the Oilers so far they compare favourably to the struggling Kings who look ready for a rebuild.

Rest - the Kings played last night whilst the Oilers were resting.

Rebound - the tough loss in the last few minutes against the Ducks will make the Oilers hungry for a better outcome.

The stats - lots of Orange always a good sign!

Home Team Away Team Difference
Team Los Angeles Kings Edmonton Oilers
Games Played 22 22 0
Wins 7 10 -3
Losses 14 10 4
OT 1 2 -1
Points15 22 7
Points Per Game0.68 1.00 7
Win % 34.1 50.0 -16
Goals Scored Per Game 2.045 2.818 -0.77
Goals Against Per Game 3.273 3.227 0.05
E/S GF/GA Ratio 0.7317 0.8571 -0.13
Powerplay % 13.4 21.1 -8
Powerplay Goals For 9.0 15.0 -6
Powerplay Goals Against 17.0 17.0 0
Powerplay Opportunities 67.0 71.0 -4
Penalty Kill Percentage % 74.2 76.1 -2
Shots Per Game 27.9545 30.9545 -3
Shots Allowed Per Game 31.0455 29.7727 2
Win % if scores first 0.75 0.5 0
Win % if away team scores first 0.071 0.417 0
Win % if leading after first period 1.0 0.6 1
Win % if leading after second period 0.857 0.833 0
Win % when outshoot opposition 0.25 0.455 0
Win % when outshot by opposition 0.357 0.444 0
Number of face offs taken 1342.0 1306.0 36
Face offs won 702.0 630.0 72
Face offs lost 640.0 676.0 -36
Face off win % 52.3 48.2 4
Shooting % 7.3 9.1 -2
Save % 0.895 0.892 0

Friday, 23 November 2018

Oilers Duck stats preview

Well we compare pretty well on paper!

Away Team Home Team Difference
Team Anaheim Ducks Edmonton Oilers
Games Played 23 21 2
Wins 9 10 -1
Losses 9 10 -1
OT 5 1 4
Points23 21 -2
Points Per Game1.00 1.00 -2
Win % 50.0 50.0 0
Goals Scored Per Game 2.174 2.905 -0.73
Goals Against Per Game 2.87 3.286 -0.42
E/S GF/GA Ratio 0.9444 0.8571 0.09
Powerplay % 15.6 20.3 -5
Powerplay Goals For 10.0 14.0 -4
Powerplay Goals Against 16.0 17.0 -1
Powerplay Opportunities 64.0 69.0 -5
Penalty Kill Percentage % 80.0 75.4 5
Shots Per Game 27.087 31.0952 -4
Shots Allowed Per Game 36.0435 30.0 6
Win % if scores first 0.636 0.556 0
Win % if away team scores first 0.167 0.417 0
Win % if leading after first period 0.571 0.6 0
Win % if leading after second period 0.857 0.833 0
Win % when outshoot opposition 0.429 0.5 0
Win % when outshot by opposition 0.333 0.444 0
Number of face offs taken 1384.0 1259.0 125
Face offs won 695.0 612.0 83
Face offs lost 689.0 647.0 42
Face off win % 50.2 48.6 2
Shooting % 8.0 9.3 -1
Save % 0.92 0.89 0

Monday, 19 November 2018

My predictions for Oilers games 11-20 reviewed!

Just 18 days ago I predicted a 6-4-0 run for the oilers between games 11 and 20, how things can change!

The Oilers started badly when they couldn't beat a tired Wild team in game 11, winnable games against Florida, Colorado, Calgary and Vegas all slipped through without even a loser point.

The strong first ten game performance means all is not lost for the Oilers but a good run needs to start immediately particularly with many divisional games coming up.

Sunday, 18 November 2018

On paper Oilers compare well against the Wild.

My table below shows a lot more Orange which means statistically the Oilers compare well to the Golden Knights.

However I struggle to be positive about an Oiler win for a number of reasons:

  1. The physicality of last nights game will take a toll.
  2. The emotional pain of letting last nights lead slip.
  3. Short turnaround after last night whilst Vegas were sitting in their Edmonton hotel watching the Flames and Oilers smash each other around.
Both teams are 4-6-0 in their last ten games, a glimmer of hope is the poor road form of Vegas but time will tell.

Lets go Oilers!

Away Team Home Team Difference
Team Vegas Golden Knights Edmonton Oilers
Games Played 20 19 1
Wins 8 9 -1
Losses 11 9 2
OT 1 1 0
Points17 19 2
Points Per Game0.85 1.00 2
Win % 42.5 50.0 -8
Goals Scored Per Game 2.45 2.842 -0.39
Goals Against Per Game 2.85 3.158 -0.31
E/S GF/GA Ratio 0.6889 0.8857 -0.20
Powerplay % 15.9 19.7 -4
Powerplay Goals For 11.0 13.0 -2
Powerplay Goals Against 8.0 16.0 -8
Powerplay Opportunities 69.0 66.0 3
Penalty Kill Percentage % 86.4 75.0 11
Shots Per Game 34.1 31.4737 3
Shots Allowed Per Game 26.6 30.2105 -4
Win % if scores first 0.5 0.625 0
Win % if away team scores first 0.25 0.364 0
Win % if leading after first period 0.714 0.75 0
Win % if leading after second period 1.0 0.833 1
Win % when outshoot opposition 0.357 0.556 0
Win % when outshot by opposition 0.6 0.375 0
Number of face offs taken 1231.0 1127.0 104
Face offs won 589.0 550.0 39
Face offs lost 642.0 577.0 65
Face off win % 47.9 48.8 -1
Shooting % 7.2 9.0 -2
Save % 0.893 0.895 0

Saturday, 17 November 2018

Basic stats comparison between the Oilers and Flames

Cells are highlighted in Orange where the Oilers have the edge on some basic stats.  With a game in hand over the Flames the picture could look better on Monday morning.

Monday, 12 November 2018

Best Hockey Podcasts that I listen to

Podcasts are a great way to consume hockey when travelling to work, at the gym or walking the dog!

I plan to review some of my favourites in detail over the coming months but here is my list of hockey related podcasts that I regular listen to.

Cult of Hockey

David Staples and Bruce McCurdy review each game plus bonus episodes to cover specific events in Oilerland.  Good balanced coverage and well worth listening to for Oilers fans.

TSN Overdrive

Popular drive time show in Toronto hosted by Bryan Hayes with ex NHLers Jeff O'Neill and Jamie McLennan alongside him.  Toronto centric and some coverage of other sports but VERY funny.  The podcast feed is split into 1 hour chunks (it's a 3 hour show) plus you can just listen to sections when the various TSN Insiders phone in - Dreger, McKenzie and Ferraro among others.  For Oiler fans any episode when a Jason Strudwick (a "friend of the show") dials in will be a great a listen.

TSN anything Ray Ferraro

My favourite hockey analyst - harsh, fair, insightful, detailed. Ray dials into Overdrive every day for a 20 minutes or so catch up.  The link here takes you to his TSN page where his spots on the various TSN city radio shows can be found.

Pulp Hockey

Ray's own Podcast with his friend Steve Matthes.  You get an extra dose of Ray's views on current happenings around the league, normally in more detail as he has more time than he has when he does his TSN spots.  Each show also has an interview with a personality from around the league - Ray's extensive network of contacts mean these are normally A list NHL guests.

The Pipeline Show

Guy Flaming's show covers everything that is happening in the world of hockey prospects.  Now in season 12 in a podcast format but originally broadcast on TSN Edmonton 1260 the show normally manages to interview most high profile prospects during their draft year.  Oiler fans will find an interview with many of the team's draft picks over the last decade.

Hockey Central

Sportsnet's lunchtime show runs for an hour.  A few years ago it had a steady cast of Jeff Marek, Nick Kypreos and Doug Maclean and it was a really enjoyable show.  Over the last 2 years it has moved to more of a rotation of studio guests so the show's quality can vary according to who is on the show that day.  Still worth a listen and it's lunchtime slot means it often picks up breading news first.

Spittin Chiclets

A rapid rise to fame for this show over the last couple of years, a production of Boston based Barstool Sports.  Featuring ex-NHLers Ryan Whitney and Paul Bissonnette.  May not be to everyone's taste but great guest list of current and retired NHLers who tend to speak more openly on this show than when they are on the traditional media outlets.

That is my regular listening list, if I am missing a decent show please let me know.

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Connor McDavid on course for his best ever season point total

7 points in his last 7 games has reduced the great 97's points per game for the season so far to 1.44.  2 points in 3 tough aways losses this week haven't helped.

Overall Connor is off to a stellar start to the season, his current pace projects to a 118 point season which would be the best of his NHL career so far.

The recent slowing of point accumulation could be down to any or a combination of the following:

  1. Reports of some illness a couple of weeks ago.
  2. Tiredness due to heavy ice time he has been logging this season.
  3. A tough schedule of 7 games in 11 days.

The graph above shows the recent slowing well, of course even McDavid is unlikely to sustain 150+ point season pace in the NHL of today.  I back him to come back from the recent dip and finish the season north of 130 points.

Saturday, 3 November 2018

Oilers look to continue hot streak Vs the Redwings in Hockeytown

After Wednesday’s netminder led (40 save shutout from backup goalie Mikko Koskinen) win against the Blackhawks the Oilers head to Detroit to face the Redwings.

I am predicting a win for the Oilers against a rebuilding Redwings team who have record of 4-7-2, they have however won their last 3 games so care will be needed.  It is a nice change from last year to be expecting a win.  It will be a good test for the Oilers to see if they can get results from these types of games.

The Redwings started the season 1-7-2 but have started to rebound recently capped with Thursday’s 4-3 win against the Devils.

The dangerman for the Redwings is Center Dylan Larkin, 22 and in his fourth season, he has been Detroit's best player this season with six goals and eight assists for 14 points in 13 games and been even better in the past three with two goals and five assists.  The Oilers will need to pay close attention to the speedy Larkin.

With Ty Rattie now fit and ready to play coach McLellan has some choices at right wing with Puljujarvi, Kassian, Caggiula and Chiasson all playing well against the Hawks.  With Puljujarvi already having missed games recently and Caggiula and Chiasson both in good form at the moment Kassian could be the odd man out, or perhaps Rattie doesn't go straight back into the line up.

McDavid has had a couple of quiet games (by his standards), at first I worried if this was his playing time wearing him down but apparently he suffered from some illness last weekend that has taken a little bit of polish off his game.

Expect a 4-2 Oilers win., enjoy the game.

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Oilers lose 4-3 to the Wild - 5 observations

It all went wrong when I predicted a win!

Early dominance by the Oilers wasn’t enough to secure a win as a persistent Wild team took the 2 points.

1. Adam Larsson continues to be a beast eating up minutes and tough assignments.  Showed great toughness coming back from a nasty facial injury in the previous game and played again tonight with a full face mask.

2. Special teams need to improve for this team to stay on pace for the play offs.  A 14th ranked powerplay in the league is not too bad but a 28th ranked penalty kill is not good enough.  In terms of the powerplay I would be trying Evan Bouchard on the first unit, some natural pure skill would really help the high end forward talent on that group.

3. I am ready to see Puljujarvi back in this lineup, too much potential to be sitting and a few games out should give him some new hunger and ambition.

4. I was critical of Leon Draisaitl earlier in the season but he is now playing much better which balances our offence and takes the pressure off McDavid.

5. Alex Chiasson is turning his PTO opportunity into some great early season results.  4 goals in 6 games and involved in all areas of the game.

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

One of the my favourite books about the Edmonton Oilers - Looking out for number one by Dave Semenko

A close friend gave me this book in 1989, I read it a few hours and it was compelling reading.  In the days before the internet insider stories about the NHL were very rare.  The late Dave Semenko's book gives a fascinating insight into live as an enforce in the league during the early 80s.

The book is full of uncensored accounts of his times on and off the ice as a professional and junior hockey player.

Lots of information on his relationship with Wayne Gretzky and his battle to be a player as well as a tough guy.

You also gain a real insight into the hatred at times between their NHL rivals at the time, particularly the Flames and the Islanders.

You won't find the book in stores now but it can be found in the Amazon Marketplace, definitely worth picking up a copy if you can find one at a sensible price.

My Oiler predictions for games 11 to 20 in season 2018-19

With a better performance over the first ten games than most of us expected the Oilers now head into a more mixed bag of opposition over the next ten.

I predict below 6 wins and 4 losses equivalent to 1.2 points per game and enough to keep the team on pace for a play off spot.

Monday, 29 October 2018

After ten games the Edmonton Oilers are on pace for 106 points

Last night's overtime win in Chicago took the Oilers to 13 points in their first ten games.

6 points better than the horrible start to last season but 2 points behind their hot start to the 2016/17 season.

Maintaining the current pace of 1.3 points per game would give the Oilers 106 points at the end of the season.

Sunday, 28 October 2018

After 9 games the Oilers are on pace for a play off spot

Last nights exciting win over the Predators in Nashville leaves the Oilers with 11 points from their first 9 games.  This gives them 1.22 points per game which over a full season equates to a shade over 100 points.

Tonight the Oilers head into Chicago to play a beatable Blackhawks side with a rested Cam Talbot but a likely weary McDavid and Klefbom who are being leaned on for major minutes during the current streak.

Saturday, 27 October 2018

How many points do the 2018-19 Edmonton Oilers need to make the play offs?

With the first month of the 2018-19 Edmonton Oilers season nearly complete I decided to look into how many points will be needed to make the playoffs, either in a divisional automatic place or as a wild card.

Last 5 years last divisional automatic place

2017-18 San Jose 100 points

2016-17 San Jose 99 points

2015-16 San Jose 98 points

2014-15 Calgary 97 points

2013-14 Los Angeles 100 points

Last 5 years last wild card place

2017-18 Colarado 95 points

2016-17 Nashville 94 points

2015-16 Minnesota 88 points

2014-15 Winnipeg 99 points

2013-14 Dallas 91 points

A simple average gives us 98.9 points for an automatic divisional place and 93.4 points for a wild card place.

Adding a safety buffer would probably give a target points total of 100 and 96 respectively.

Assuming a minimum goal for the season is to make the playoffs via the wild card place then to reach the buffer number of 96 points the Oilers need to earn 1.17 points per game.