The Oilers end the year with…..another dud.
Well, another awful effort by the Oilers to end the year has left even the fans who had a glimmer of hope…..hopeless. If you follow me you know I am one of the most positive people on Oilers Twitter but even I have had enough now. It’s bad enough they couldn’t beat 32 yr old rookie Jeff Glass last game but after watching their absolute dismal effort and determination early in this game I am now 100% on board for some drastic changes.
All year I have been preaching the player’s are the main reason for their lack of effort and poor results. While I still maintain that is partly true, I think you have no choice at this point but to entertain the thought that this coach is not doing nearly enough to get the team ready. This team fought back hard to get to .500 before the Christmas break only to give it right back again with 3 straight lousy results.
Let me be clear, this team has issues but these are not some of them:
- THIS TEAM IS NOT SLOW. They just play slow sometimes when they don’t give 100% effort. When they were clicking right before Christmas no one was calling them a slow team. They’re lazy but not slow.
- THIS TEAM DOES NOT LACK TALENT OR SCORING DEPTH. The talent isn’t scoring enough nor is the depth right now. There’s a difference. Going into last night, the Oilers were tied for 14th in goals for after being 31st for like the first month or so of the season.
- MILAN LUCIC or KRIS RUSSELL. Lucic has been one of the best Oilers from an effort standpoint for about 8 weeks & his own pace for his career average. Kris Russell has been solid all year. The issues the Oilers have are not because of those two.
This team is underachieving plain and simple. They don’t show up early for games, they don’t bring the forechecking intensity against weaker teams, they don’t do the little things needed to beat backup goalies. They make too many dumb plays, don’t show enough of a defensive commitment and don’t go hard enough to the net on a consistent basis. They’re lazy, they do not show enough sense of urgency on the ice (despite talking about it off the ice) and aren’t willing to work hard enough consistently to get out of it. Plus, opposing teams have figured them out. They know how to play McDavid especially on the PP, they take away Letestu’s one-timer, they attack the Oilers on the PK, they know how to break up their cycle (like Chicago did).
How much of all that should be blamed on coaching? Some of it at least. I’m sure other coaches looking on the outside would be drooling over the opportunity to coach a team with this much talent. I was all for giving this team an opportunity to prove naysayers wrong and respond to a terrible start to the season – and they did. But now, they’ve given back the points they worked so hard to get before. They are not prepared mentally or technically on the ice and you have to point the finger at the coach by now. Enough time has passed now where “a funk” has now turned into “a trend”. The PK at home is absolutely atrocious and the PP is so predictable even my 12 yr old predicts what’s coming with precision. This team is just flat out not ready to play too many nights and are too predictable even when they are.
SO WHAT NOW?…..
I don’t have all the answers and there is no easy fix to all of this. However, this team clearly has more talent than teams like Vegas, Calgary even a banged up Anaheim had yet could not even pass those teams in the standings. I see many people blaming the GM for this mess but it’s hardly on him. It’s a total underachieving team effort including poor adjustments and game mismanagement (Looch in OT?) by the coach. I like TMac a lot I think he did a great job last year rallying the guys, taking the pressure off of them and getting his team to respond after poor efforts. He has a monumental task here of rallying them again as despite the clear sense of urgency required on a nightly basis, too many players refuse to give the coach and team the effort required to succeed. If this team gave the kind of effort Vegas does every night they would be 1st in the Pacific at least. Instead, continuous lackadaisical effort after lackadaisical effort trying to rely on their talent alone to win hockey games which is no way to win in this league….
Happy New Year everyone! I still have a glimmer of hope for this team but it’s fading real fast. Let’s hope 2018 doesn’t start the way 2017 ended or it will be the final nail in the coffin on this season for the Oilers. Still plenty of hockey left still anything can happen!
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