2018-19 NHL Season Recap – Part 3 – Worst of the Year
Our team has zero balance
The Oilers were an extremely top heavy team this season. And they really have no one to blame but themselves, having traded their two best wingers for almost nothing in return (more on that below). Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl scored a lot and that was about it. The two of them accounted for almost 40% of the Oilers goals. And that’s just going off goals. We aren’t even going to get into their assists. In fact, it was so bad Connor McDavid broke his first NHL record by contributing to, either by scoring or assisting, on all of the first nine goals scored by the Oilers in the regular season. If you factor in their only other good player, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Alex Chiasson, who basically just took passes from McDavid, you have 60% of the Oilers goal production between only four players. It’s hard to be successful in the NHL when that happens. McDavid should have been the final piece, instead he’s surrounded by a team that’s regressing. Their number one need this off-season is a winger. But it doesn’t look like any top free agents have any desire to go there. Never a good sign, especially when you have a generational talent. However, they did make a trade for a much needed upgrade on the wing in James Neal. Neal only had one bad year in Calgary where he was injured and didn’t fit in. He should fit in well here. You could certainly do worst than Neal and they usually have. Lost in all of this was Draisaitl notching his first 50 goal season. He’ll need to do that again next season.
Last year we had four epically bad trades. This year not so much. I picked this one because it just sums up how bad of a general manager Peter Chiarelli was with the Oilers.
Jordan Eberle for nothing years later – Edmonton Oilers
A few seasons ago Peter Chiarelli traded Eberle straight up to the Islanders for Ryan Strome. Unhappy with Strome’s production, he decided to trade him this season straight up for Ryan Spooner. Only a mere three months later, he traded Spooner straight up for Sam Gagner. This is almost the equivalent of trading a house for a paperclip. Just one of the many reasons he was fired. And this wasn’t the first time he’d done this either. The Tyler Seguin and Taylor Hall trades were the most notable examples. Or basically almost every trade he’s ever made. It’s worth noting Eberle had nine points in eight playoff games for the Islanders this season.
Boston Bruins vs Carolina Hurricanes
This was a series nobody really wanted to see and it was almost as bad as I feared it would be. The Hurricanes were clearly not good enough to be here. And let’s face it, if you had to pick two teams to face off in the Eastern Conference finals these wouldn’t have been it. The Bruins would have gotten some votes but not the Hurricanes. Only one game was close and the Bruins beat the Hurricanes by an aggregate score of 17-5. And it could have easily been much worse. Not exactly thrilling stuff. The only positive you could say was the first periods were mostly close in score. Unfortunately for the Bruins, they seemed to have peaked here and then they had to sit on their butts and gather rust because of the sweep. That’s also something you never want to see in a conference finals, a sweep.
Worst Game 7
San Jose Sharks vs Vega Golden Knights
This game was really three games in one. And depending on your point of view that could have been a good or a bad thing. The first part was dominated by the Golden Knights. And then with a few minutes left in the third period you assumed it was over. And it was a very anticlimactic Game 7 where the Sharks didn’t bother to show up. But not so fast. The Sharks got a gift when they received a major penalty call on a minor penalty. Then they stormed back and stunningly took the lead with the-r sting of power play goals. The Vegas Knights pulled their own miracle by stopping the bleeding and tying the game in the final minute. Then it got real interesting when it headed to overtime. Overall the game ended up being highly entertaining. But if that bad call had never been made, it would have been a clunker. And since the wrong call was made, it made the game even worse from an ethical standpoint.
Playoff Team with Problems
The best way to describe the Flames in the first round was an epic disaster. They started out strong with a Game 1 blowout and an overtime loss in Game 2 against the Avalanche. But it quickly unraveled after that with two blowouts in the next three games. And now they are at a major crossroads. All their biggest weakness were majorly exposed in their first round loss to the Colorado Avalanche. Too immature and inexperienced, poor goaltending and an offense mostly based around Johnny Gaudreau. Their other major weakness is their inability to stick up for Gaudreau after he takes a beating. The problem is none of these are easy fixes. Except for sticking up for Gaudreau. That should be an easy one. But they have no one to blame for their goaltending issue but themselves. I would have started David Rittich in the playoffs because they needed to see what they had in him. They opted for Mike Smith. But their decision to not resign Smith made this even worse. If they had an inkling they weren’t going to resign Mike Smith, there was no point in him playing at all. And once they went down 3-1 in the series, you really needed to change goalies to change momentum and to, again, see what you have in Rittich. Now they have no idea what they have. But they at least made steps to improve their grit by trading for Milan Lucic. He’s no longer a scoring threat but what he does bring is muscle. Something they desperately need. He’ll take out anybody. I would either skate him with Gaudreau or put him on the very next line out if Gaudreau got hit.
This was the year the Sabres were finally going to make a playoff push. They had their centerpiece in Jack Eichel, they had a couple of stud defensemen named Rasmus and they had a big free agent signing in Jeff Skinner. Despite Skinner netting 40 goals and the team going on a ten game winning streak, they ultimately did nothing, again. Kyle Okposo has been a major dud since coming over from the Islanders. He’s also been battling concussions which isn’t helping. They could also use a goalie. Carter Hutton isn’t that guy. It’s hard for a team that hasn’t had a winning culture in some time to just turn it around. It’s very unlikely they will be able to do it this season in a very competitive Eastern Conference.
Worst ideas that are still happening
Divisional Playoff Seeding
I wrote about this the past two years so all I’m going to say is it’s still still happening. And you’re screwing over so many teams NH and robbing fans of better match-ups. Just make it stop. MAKE IT STOP!
The same teams in the Winter Classic every year
When you’ve only had the Winter Classic 11 times and one team has played in it four times and another team has played in it three times, that’s a problem. The Winter Classic has basically been dominated by eight teams who have played twice or more in it. Luckily, that all finally ends this season when the Nashville Predators face the Dallas Stars. There probably won’t be any snow but at least it’ll be something different.
Not Enough Replays
Let’s talk about that god awful playoff officiating. I mean let’s really talk about it. Hockey is a very quick sport so there’s always bound to be missed calls. And that’s okay. What’s not okay is that we have so much freaking technology available to aid the refs and we use absolutely none of it. In football, all turnovers and touchdowns are reviewed. In the NHL, all aspects of every goal should be reviewed. And I mean all aspects. Offsides, penalties, goalie interference, hand passes. You name it, it gets reviewed. If they missed anything, they disallow the goal and make any penalties that are necessary. The replays can all be initiated by Toronto. Coaches should also be allowed two challenges a game in which they can challenge anything. They should also stick a sensor in the puck that will go off if it completely crosses the goal line. This way they don’t need to guess if it crossed the goal line or not. The NHL did update the rules to allow for major penalties to be reviewed. Hooray. But that only fixes what happened with the Sharks vs Golden Knights game. But that doesn’t fix the blown no penalty call in the Bruins vs Blues game that led to a goal or the hand pass they missed that led to the game winning goal in the Sharks vs Blues game. But enabling all aspects of a goal to be reviewed would have correctly overturned both of those goals. Soccer also reviews all goals, at least in tournaments. There’s no reason for the NHL not to do it. Even if it’s only in the playoffs.http://hockeyrecaps.us/2019/09/01/2018-19-nhl-season-recap-part-3-worst-of-the-year/2018-19 NHL Season Recap – Part 3 – Worst of the Yearhttp://hockeyrecaps.us/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/leon-draisaitl-1024x576.jpghttp://hockeyrecaps.us/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/leon-draisaitl-300x300.jpgSeason RecapsBoston Bruins,Buffalo Sabres,Calgary Flames,Carolina Hurricanes,Colorado Avalanche,Connor McDavid,Dallas Stars,Edmonton Oilers,Jack Eichel,Jeff Skinner,Johnny Gaudreau,Jordan Eberle,Kyle Okposo,Leon Draisaitl,Mike Smith,Milan Lucic,Nashville Predators,Ryan Nugent-Hopkins,Sam Gagner,San Jose Sharks,Stanley Cup,Taylor Hall,Tyler Seguin,Winter Classic