© 2013 Michael Parkatti road-kill

Game Notes: Oilers/Wild Mar 3

In a game that I should have found any excuse not to watch, the Oilers fell to the Minnesota Wild 4-2 on Sunday night.  I’m not sure the Oilers would have won this game if the Wild had dressed a mannequin in net.  There is no doubt the team missed Taylor Hall a great deal, but the stories tonight were up and down all over the roster.  With the team down by only 3-2 late in the third, Jeff Petry took a goaltender interference penalty that I will politely describe as back-breaking, foolish, and totally unnecessary that lead to the 4-2 goal that tucked this one into bed.


Hey, the Oilers finally won a period for the first time in this 4 game road trip, winning 19-14 in the third.  Too bad for them, I guess, that the Wild had built up such an advantage over the first two periods to end this game up 50-42 in Corsi events at even strength, including an 18-6 margin in the 2nd.  The Oilers only got 50% of their shots on net, while the Wild got 74% of their shots on net, a continuing trend that seems to becoming a thing.


The game story here is the 4th line, who comprised a sinkhole of return of the jedi-like proportions tonight.  Eager, VandeVelde, and Petrell were by far the worst skaters in Corsi per minute, finishing last, 2nd last, and 3rd last.  Ben Eager was on the ice for 1 shot attempt for and 13 against.  He was a -12 on the night in only 7:29 of ice time, for a rate of -1.60 per minute.  When Ben Eager was off the ice, the Oilers actually won the Corsi battle tonight 41-37.  This 4th line has been a train wreck for weeks and nothing has been done to rectify it, either in terms of personnel (couldn’t the Oilers have signed a veteran C when Horcoff went down?), or in terms of coach selection (Paajarvi would have helped a bit in that role the last two games instead of sitting in the press box).

Speaking of Paajarvi, his quick audition on the first line filling in for Taylor Hall went about as well as could be expected.  He finished the night 5th in Corsi per minute at +0.35.  His linemate Jordan Eberle had a fantastic night in terms of possession, leading the team with a +10, and 0.66 Corsi/minute — he was relied upon heavily in Hall’s absence and answered the bell as best he could.  Sam Gagner also looked pretty good on this line and ended the night +6, just barely nipping Paajarvi for 4th place in Corsi / minute.

Hey check it out everyone, there’s the Ryan Whitney we know and love!  He was outshot 8-17 at evens, good for 14th on the team and just behind his partner Theo Peckham in the race for worst Corsi rate by a defenceman.  The tentative decision making was back, along with the stilted execution.  Sometimes when he skates it looks like someone has placed banana peels on his skate blades, as he see-saws back and forth.  I hope the Red Wings didn’t have scouts in the stands…


When you look at the player-vs-player chart, have a look at the distinct alternating bands of green and red.  From top to bottom, it goes Petry through Whitney (red), Eberle through Justin Schultz (green), Belanger through Eager (RED), and then Yakupov through Smyth (green).

Eberle was only negative against ONE Wild player (TOM GILBERT), a feat equaled by Justin Schultz (SOME GUY NAMED COYLE).  I’d say the top 6 had a broadly effective game, with only Yak, RNH, and Hemsky ending worse than -5 against a few Wild players.  Otherwise, it was a lot of green for the top Oilers — have a look at how they did against the top Wild d-pairing of Suter and Brodin, each hanging scores of between -1 and +9 against them.  Complementing them well was the pairing of Nick and Justin Schultz, who themselves put up a very consistent evening in the green vs the entire Wild lineup.

The middle band of Hades belongs to many members of the bottom 6 forwards.  It’s pretty incredible that in less than 7 and a half minutes Eager could end up in the negatives vs 17 out of 18 Wild skaters… and he battled the last straggler to even.  His linemates VandeVelde and Petrell didn’t end up much better.  The third line had a bit of an up-and-down game — they got killed by the Matt Cullen line, but turned around and absolutely slaughtered Dany Heatley’s line with Granlund and PM Bouchard.  Krueger obviously like that matchup and they proved him right.

In other news, Ryan Whitney ended up green against only two Wild players, ditto for his partner Peckham (Coyle and PARISE?@?@?!!).  Otherwise it was a long and blood red night for these two.


This intra-team chart is pretty simple. Schultz + good players = freaking excellent.  Schultz + 4th line = bad.  Seriously, look at those dark green patches of chest hair around the Schultz’ and the top two lines.  Just wonderful.

  • Petry/Smid seemed to play best with the veteran third line, but worst with the 4th line.  Do you see a trend here?
  • the Whitney/Peckham pairing for some reason really played poorly with the Belanger/Smytty line.  I’d guess it would have to do with too much immobility being on the ice all at once, with no one able to push the pace.  For some reason, Whitney didn’t play all that badly with the 4th line… but this could be because they didn’t see a lot of ice time together.
  • RNH ended the night -5 with his primary left winger Nail Yakupov. Curiously, he was +3 with Smytty and +3 with Paajarvi.  To me this performance suggests that some of the Gagner/Hemsky Corsi problems this year may indeed to due to Yakupov being a bit fresh in his rookie year.  He doesn’t seem to be complementing good players with much regularity.  I think he’ll grow into it, but the coach must be having fits trying to figure out where to start the kid.


  1. BlacqueJacque
    Posted March 3, 2013 at 10:04 pm | #

    I did not see Eberle as good as this showed him to be, but clearly 91-89-14 were the best line tonight.

    Thanks for posting these. People are reading :)

  2. Michael Parkatti
    Posted March 3, 2013 at 10:15 pm | #

    Thanks, I’m glad people find value in these posts!

    Eberle did have a few shifts with RNH there, which gave him a bit of a boost vs his usual linemates. But that entire first line battled for the puck well and had some sustained pressure, even in the train-wreck of a 2nd period. I don’t think he’s pushing the pace on this team, but you’ve got to smile that Gagner finally has a good possession game when played with Eberle. Those first line guys are pretty good methinks :).

  3. gcw_rocks
    Posted March 3, 2013 at 10:42 pm | #

    This is the best game summary I have found. No underlying bias. Just the facts. Nice work.

    • Michael Parkatti
      Posted March 3, 2013 at 11:00 pm | #

      Cheers, thanks for reading! I find Corsi takes the air out of the saw him good balloon and gets down to the base elements.

  4. gcw_rocks
    Posted March 3, 2013 at 10:44 pm | #

    * game summary format

  5. oilersfan
    Posted March 3, 2013 at 10:45 pm | #

    Hi Michael

    I really enjoy your blog. Thanks for all the work you put into it. One thing I don’t understand is how to have Corsi offset by the game situation. For example , if Mark Fistric or Belanger were to start in his own zone each shift against the Sedins or Toews wouldn’t we expect his corsi to be negative every game? Is there no way to offset his bad corst numbers with zone starts and quality of competition?

    Similarly, if RNH, Hall and Eberle were given the start in the other team’s zone against their 3rd or 4th line and worst defenders, shouldn’t we expect them to have strong positive corsi all the time?

    Again, how does this system account for the zone starts and quality of competition?

    thanks. If it doesn’t now, what could be done so it would account for it in the future?

    One thing I have been wondering about is “time of possession”. I think this would be difficult to do in terms of who actually has the puck, but I wonder if when the puck is in the other teams’ zone, past the blue line, if that wouldnt be a useful possession number. Maybe something to offset the shots? OF course, a player like Hemsky may be in the other teams’ zone for a full shift but not get a shot off, but somehow his “possession number” is negative. I just was wondering if this could be one method to counter the “shots only” model.

    I look forward to your reply.

    • Michael Parkatti
      Posted March 3, 2013 at 11:06 pm | #

      This is a really interesting question — there are concepts out there line zone adjusted Corsi, which adjusts for where you start, and obviously Relative Corsi, which accounts for how good your team is. In terms of quality of linemates or competition, I’m not aware that anyone is publishing anything like this yet. I’ve tried a few times privately to come up with a modifier, and I may publish something on it soon.

      In any case, doing that kind of thing on a game by game basis may be too small a sample size to mean much — it starts telling a tale over weeks & months though.

      I would like to do corsi per minute of ice-time in the player-vs-player matrix, and am working on that. It’s actually quite a complex little thing to figure out, but will be well worth it.

      For possession, that’s actually the reason why people use Corsi — it’s a proxy for possession itself. The more you possess the puck, the more you’re able to attempt shots, and vice versa.

      And yes, I do plan on posting game segments to show how players are trending! Stay tuned :)

  6. oilersfan
    Posted March 3, 2013 at 10:47 pm | #

    one other question, Michael. Do you have somewhere the cumulative or average corsi numbers for the players over 5 or 10 games spans or over an entire season? thanks

  7. Ryan
    Posted March 3, 2013 at 10:59 pm | #

    Great stuff. Came here by way of Lowetide.

    It absolutely boggles the mind that Tambo didn’t find an upgrade for VV. It’s also curious that Petrell still plays especially in lieu of PRV.

    A this point, the Oilers are a day late and a dollar short, again.

    Based on his play last season, they should have been looking for a Belanger replacement too, not to mention Whitney.

    Professional procurement nor ‘evaluation’ of talent has not been Tambo’s strong suit.

    4-93-83 and 91-89-14 might be an option going forward, but with the d corps and bottom six, it’s time to focus on the draft, lol.

    • Michael Parkatti
      Posted March 3, 2013 at 11:11 pm | #

      I’ll have to agree with you on this one — they knew Horcoff was going to be out for a month almost immediately. That’s worth, what, 17 games? Now we know it’s longer, so a quick signing would have had more of an impact.

      To me, 20 is a decent player to have as 4th line depth. Him playing as a checking line forward vs top competition is just not a smart long term bet.

      And that’s what troubles me — they just aren’t making the right bets in terms of player procurement.

  8. Eastern Oil
    Posted March 4, 2013 at 7:01 am | #


    Fantastic work, thank you for all the time you are putting into these numbers as it is a great way to look at both a good and bad game in a different light.

    As per twitter, I know that you and many other Edm bloggers (along with myself) have appreciated Pajaarvi’s play this year. Your numbers are very telling in what he brings to the table. They seem to help my non-educated Edm fan opinion of “I saw him good”. Hopefully the powers that be can see his game as these numbers are show.

    • Michael Parkatti
      Posted March 4, 2013 at 4:25 pm | #

      Thanks, appreciate the comments! I hope I haven’t been too overt in my MPS preference this year, but I really think his game has matured and it’s taking awhile for people to pay attention. The more we talk about it, the more noise I hope we create to keep fans informed…

  9. Volodya
    Posted March 4, 2013 at 2:36 pm | #

    Krueger should keep Paajarvi in the second line, he is really effective

    • Michael Parkatti
      Posted March 4, 2013 at 4:26 pm | #

      Couldn’t have said it better myself! 😉

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