• Edmonton-Vancouver: Game Notes

    by  • January 21, 2013 • Uncategorized • 15 Comments

    In no particular order:

    *Dennis had the ES scoring chances at 16-11 at ES. Yes, yes, Vancouver’s on the second half of a B2B and doesn’t look all that imposing up front but that’s quite something for an Oilers’ team that’s had trouble with ES play since approximately when Chris Pronger left town.

    *One of the great things about a new coach is learning about how he runs the bench. The Oilers’ PK usage was quite something: Smyth/Horcoff followed by Belanger/Petrell, followed by Smyth/Horcoff. Five times. Krueger’s dedication to this scheme was apparent in the third period. Horcoff and Smyth played a 42 second shift that ended at 6:13. Ales Hemsky took a dumb penalty at 6:47. Out came Horcoff/Smyth. They did their little dance with Belanger/Petrell and play 1:15 of that penalty kill. Krueger puts out the RNH/Eberle/Hall line and Hall takes a dumb penalty at 9:12. Out comes Horcoff/Smyth, who do their thing with Belanger/Petrell and play 1:16 of that penalty kill. All told, Horcoff/Smyth played 3.42 minutes out of a 5.8 minute sequence. Not bad for two old guys.

    Krueger seems pretty committed to doing things this way. On the Hall PK in that sequence described above, it might have made sense to send Belanger/Petrell out to start. They’d been off the ice since the 8:12 mark, during the Hemsky PK, when they were replaced with Horcoff/Smyth. A second PK that close to a first would also have been a time when you might have seen a third F pairing appear, to prevent Horcoff/Smyth from playing so much in a short span. Nothing doing.

    Not a lot of guys hit 50% of their team’s 5v4 TOI on a per game basis over the course of a year. Last year, just six guys did it: Boyd Gordon (PHX), Maxime Talbot (PHI), Philippe Dupuis (TOR), Lauri Korpikoski (PHX), Jay McClement (COL) and someone named Maxime Macenauer in Anaheim. I tend to think Dave Tippett’s a pretty good coach, so I’m glad to see that this is something he clearly thinks is sensible. Given the specific setup of the Oilers, and my general distaste for offensive guys killing penalties, I’d be pretty happy to see some more of this as the season progresses.

    *Probably worth paying attention to the Oilers PP zone entries this year. The Hemsky goal was created in the neutral zone and was kind of textbook in terms of a lane being created for Hemsky. The Canucks sent one forward deep and Whitney easily beat him with a pass to Gagner. Here’s Gagner carrying the puck, with Hemsky having looped deep behind and starting to crank it up.

    Gagner begins to cut to the middle. Note that the Canucks kind of have a 1-2-1 going on – that’s Burrows in front of Gagner. As Gagner cuts to this left, Burrows shifts his body that way…

    And it’s over. At this point, Hemsky’s getting a scoring chance. It’s not really Burrows’ fault; there aren’t many guys in the NHL who could recover at that point. I watched a lot of Shark PPs during the extended break and the Sharks are just exceptional at this sort of thing, creating lanes for a scoring chance. It was exciting to see the Oilers do it.

    *Kruger’s awfully comfortable with his fourth line in the defensive zone. There were 20 defensive zone faceoffs at ES last night. Horcoff took one, as did Petrell and Hemsky. RNH took two. Gagner took six. Belanger took nine. Of those, seven were with Petrell and Eager. Petrell’s draw was with Belanger and Eager. Intriguingly, this didn’t result in a ton of faceoffs against the Sedins, who were on for 12/20 – of the 8 defensive zone faceoffs taken by the fourth line proper, just three of them were against the Sedins, which presumably wasn’t a coincidence. I’d guess Krueger was throwing them out for defensive zone faceoffs at times when he figured the Sedins were unlikely to be put on the ice.

    In that regard, the timing of the Sedin line against the Belanger line is probably noteworthy. At 4:49 of the first, the Sedins came out to face the Belanger line on an Edmonton defensive zone faceoff. This didn’t happen again until the third period, when it happened at 3:33 and 6:13. The one at 3:33 sure looks like a bit of a coaching screw up to me. The Belanger line had been on the ice for 33 seconds against the Malhotra line. The Canucks took a shot and Dubnyk froze the puck. Out came the Sedins, who hadn’t been on the ice in over two minutes. Tough to know what Krueger expected would happen there.

    The 6:13 faceoff seems to have been asking for that Sedin/Belanger matchup even more. It took place right after a TV timeout. Faceoff in the Oilers’ zone, Krueger threw out the Belanger line and out came the Sedins. Again, it’s hard to figure what he thought was going to happen when the Canucks were being presented with a chance to kill the game like that. He was probably lucky not to see the Sedin line come out at 11:29, which was the exact same scenario. This will be something to watch as the season goes on, whether Krueger gets better at protecting his fourth line on the road or whether it seems he’s comfortable running his fourth line against the other team’s best players in the defensive zone.

    *Vigneault really liked that matchup with the Sedin line and the Gagner line. All of the defensive zone faceoffs taken by Gagner were against the Sedin line.

    *It looks like RNH is going to be sheltered in terms of his exposure to defensive zone faceoffs. Both Belanger and Gagner took defensive zone faceoffs at ES with Eberle/Hall.

    *Sam Gagner started his career going 4/7 on the shootout. He’s 7/10 for his last 10. If not for a small 5/30 slump that he endured in between, he’d be one of the all time greats at this. Randomness is random. Outchancing Vancouver by 5 at ES on the road?

    Email Tyler Dellow at tyler@mc79hockey.com

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    15 Responses to Edmonton-Vancouver: Game Notes

    1. January 21, 2013 at

      I wasn’t able to watch the game (stupid time zones!), so I’m curious for your take on how Whitney looked. Does he still skate like he’s got two broken ankles?

      • January 21, 2013 at

        (I don’t know if you’re looking for Tyler specifically to field this one, but: Yes. Yes he does.)

        • Tyler Dellow
          January 21, 2013 at

          Yep.

        • Tyler Dellow
          January 21, 2013 at

          Scoring chances will be up in the near future; just waiting for Vic to update the app for this year.

    2. Doogie2K
      January 21, 2013 at

      Re: the Hemsky goal, I wonder if Krueger did the same video work over the summer (and fall) that you did in terms of that SJ power play? Be interesting to see how the PK handles it on Tuesday. (I did also notice VAN doing the Detroit breakout a few times on the PP: the drop pass to the speeding trailer to gain zone entry.)

      • dawgbone
        January 21, 2013 at

        I think it’s just player creativity and intelligence to be honest. You want to have a bit of flexibility in terms of how you enter the zone.

        For instance, on that play Gagner cut to the middle to open up the wing for Hemsky to skate in, but if Burrows doesn’t go over, Hemsky has the option to give it right back to Gagner in the middle for another chance at a zone entry. * Side note, this is one of the reasons I don’t like sending a deep forechecker on the PK. If that F is back, you can stack 3 on the blueline and it makes it a lot harder to gain the zone.

        There’s a world of difference when you have 5 or 6 guys who can gain the zone with speed and skill, as opposed to trying to rely on guys like O’Sullivan, Cogliano, etc…

        • Tyler Dellow
          January 21, 2013 at

          DB – the other thing that caught my eye on that was Smyth cutting from right to left across the blue line. Everyone except Hemsky was heading towards the left side of the ice. We’ll see if it looks like a set play as the season rolls on.

          • Cristina
            May 31, 2013 at

            Sep24YKOil Going with Pat’s take on this one. What we can reasonably infer:1. Moreau ain’t all that as far as being a leaedr goes, he isn’t even in the same class as Buchy really2. Buchy wasn’t all that as a player, same as Moreau, but Buchy had Weight, Smyth and others coming in Moreau didn’t have that3. Moreau came through an all-for-one-one-for-all kind of team build the new CBA/economic realities kind of take that away*4. The Lowe/MacT paradigm probably did help AT ALL (MacT giving Moreau special treatment, Lowe giving his’ guys special treatment)** think about it, Nilsson gets the big payday (numbers which took years for Moreau to reach) while Lowe ignores Hejda (a guy MacT wanted to keep) those kind of forces are NOT good for a dressing room and Moreau wasn’t a good enough leaedr or player to make it work. Wrong guy or wrong team take your pick same result.

        • Derek
          January 21, 2013 at

          One thing I noticed in the NCAA games I watched this year – college coaches on the PK will forecheck the hell out of 4F PP sets.

      • January 21, 2013 at

        The PP drop pass is a noted aspect of the Canucks fans’ drinking game

    3. Theo
      January 21, 2013 at

      I was lucky enough to be at the game. I noticed the Belanger line taking faceoffs in the defensive zone against the Sedin line. Normally I wouldn’t think that strange with the home team having the last change, but the two times that really stood out for me were during TV timeouts.

      I thought it was a strange decision, my best guess right now is that he was taking a chance to try to set up better line match ups for the next few shifts after that.

    4. Adam Dyck
      January 21, 2013 at

      Just to make sure I’m not missing them elsewhere, will Dennis be posting his scoring chances data here again this season?

      Thanks for the great work, Tyler. This place is always a first stop.

    5. Captain Obvious
      January 21, 2013 at

      Is a full breakdown of scoring chances available somewhere like Dennis’ provided last season?

    6. tl;dr
      January 21, 2013 at

      Can you provide a link to Dennis’ full scoring chance breakdown?

    7. David Staples
      January 21, 2013 at

      Good observation on the own zone face-offs for fourth line. There’s some evidence that Petrell is an exceptional own-zone defender on the PK, so whatever shortcomings he may have ES, Krueger likely sees him as a guy who can defend in his own zone and get the puck out of his own end. Same with Belanger. So it makes sense they’d get these faceoffs, so long as you can trust Eager to also get job done.

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