The Edmonton Oilers are struggling. Their record is 3-8-2 since the start of December, losing to the likes of the Islanders, Devils, and the Kraken (twice!) in that span. Four of the bottom 10 teams in the league.
Last night they lost 4-1 to the Rangers, who are actually a good team this year. But it was a 4-1 in a rough span of losses, including blowing leads and losing in overtime. After the struggles they’ve had for a few years when everyone constantly expects them to be contenders, people are out for blood. They’re not having a fun time right now.
here is dave tippett's full presser, which lasted a full ... *checks notes* ... 1:54. pic.twitter.com/VyITxLamzm— zach laing (@zjlaing) January 4, 2022
And you know what that means!
One segment of Oilers fans and media are blaming the coach for not getting more out of a team that has tons of talent. Others are blaming the GM for never building around their stars that well, or not well enough. And then there are the ones that blame the players. Not just any players, their best players.
Mark Spector just said not to fire Dave Tippett and said Mcdavid and Draisaitl need to step up. I hate this guy with a passion— Ahmed (@AhmedMayta) January 4, 2022
It just so happens that the next game that Edmonton plays is on Wednesday against the Maple Leafs. And the Maple Leafs may be without their best player for a while...
Sheldon Keefe said Auston Matthews and Dean Chynoweth both tested positive on their rapid antigen tests but they are awaiting results of their PCR tests.— Joshua Kloke (@joshuakloke) January 3, 2022
So imagine if the struggling Oilers come into Toronto without Auston Matthews and lose again to extend their misery? Especially with how much they hate the Leafs and Toronto media out west. Imagine?
Back to Excited Episode 162: The Leafs play a game! | by AT Fulemin and Arvind
Sheldon Keefe on Auston Matthews’ positive COVID-19 test | transcript by MLHS
Elite Prospects wrote this great article breaking down Matthew Knies, one of the Leafs’ top prospects now.
Matthew Knies has smashed early expectations with his combination of power and finesse. @MitchLBrown hits the film room to show you why. #LeafsForever#PrideOnIce#Gophers— EP Rinkside (@EPRinkside) January 3, 2022
It has a detailed analysis of his strengths and mechanics, including video examples. If you want the TL;DR, there’s this money quote.
Considering all of this, it’s fair to say that Knies has been Minnesota’s best player in his first year. This team has 15 NHL draft picks, with another player (Ben Meyers) likely to sign with an NHL team when the season’s over. He’s two points back of the team lead. In a five-game sample, he leads the team in Game Score, which combines stats like expected goals, zone entries, and defensive breakups.
The Marlies won against Belleville last night 4-2, which includes this highlight reel goal to open the scoring.
The Marlies will have have an adjusted schedule:
News: The Toronto Marlies announce today the following time changes to three upcoming home games:— Toronto Marlies (@TorontoMarlies) January 3, 2022
Jan. 5th vs. Utica: 7:00pm -> 1:00pm
Feb. 16th vs. Utica: 11:00am -> 7:00pm
Apr. 6th vs. Syracuse: 11:00am -> 7:00pm pic.twitter.com/pWZ3sXzhHA
MISCELLANEOUS HOCKEY LINKS
Some good nerd stuff for those into analytics.
Speaking of nerds, the Sabres are continuing to stockpile them. We’ll see if they actually listen to their advice.