October 2017 – TheOilKnight.ca
 

Month: October 2017

 

The Edmonton Oilers have had a dreadful start to the season. It wasn’t totally unexpected if you read my “What You Should Do to Get Ready for the Season” piece it’s not a shock they have gotten off to a slow start. Fancystat fans should be happy though as the Oilers are #1 in the league in Corsi! Unfortunately, they have also had lousy goaltending, porous defence, taken dumb penalties and not enough scoring. It’s been a tumultuous start for most of the team however there has been one positive that may be overlooked: The emergence of Darnell Nurse.

 

 

5 games into the season Nurse’s stats don’t necessarily jump at you at first glance – He has 1 assist and is an even +/-. However, he is 2nd amongst Oiler’s Defencemen in SOG and tied for 4th on the team with 14. He’s also 2nd in hits (1 behind Gryba) with 17 and tied for 2nd in blocks (3 behind Russell). What’s more impressive is of the 19 goals against this season the Oilers have given up he’s been on the ice for THREE of them total. In the last 2 games, the Oilers have given up 11 goals and he’s been on the ice for only two of them – neither he was directly responsible for. In fact he did not make a single mistake that lead to a high danger scoring chance in either game.

With Andrej Sekera out for who knows how long and no obvious help on the way, it is imperative that either Matt Benning or Darnell Nurse step up and fill the void. While Benning has struggled to start the season, Nurse has taken advantage. In fact, it’s not hard to argue he has been the Oilers best defenceman by a mile with fellow d-men Oscar Klefbom & Adam Larsson also really struggling.

Breaking down the tape, his one on one defence has improved tremendously. He appears to much more confident than we have ever seen and is quick to jump up and join the attack. His end to end rushes are a thing of beauty. Defensively, what I really like is he’s moving his feet much better in my opinion and is not chasing all the time. His stick is usually in an excellent position when he’s defending and he’s doing a great job of taking the body and taking his man out of the play. He’s calm and cool with the puck no longer just icing it unnecessarily but taking that extra second or two to make a good outlet pass or quite often will just carry it out of the zone with his speed. He’s playing with such great poise right now and is making great decisions. Here are some highlights from the last 2 games to illustrate my point:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6WTe8VsXxME&feature=youtu.be

 

Nurse has been a player of much debate over the last couple years. Is he a future Top 4 defenceman, a Top pair guy or an overrated player who’s development has stalled? It’s a small sample size just 5 games into this season but based on his performance up to this point he is playing like a Top 4 Dman AT LEAST. For a team desperate to have someone step up and fill the void with Sekera out that’s great news for the Oilers. Now if the rest of the D-core can just get their act together the Oilers will be in great shape. The team’s overall performance this year so far has been abysmal but there is no doubt though that Darnell Nurse is emerging right in front of us…..

 

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So last night a bit of a social experiment was attempted on Twitter. A thread was created for fans of the Oilers to join in and comment or like all in one spot. The plan was instead of a 100 random people watching the game and tweeting separately they could do it all within one thread to make it more interactive. Sounded like a great idea except if you had your notifications on and were using anything other than a laptop well…things got interesting.

What also happened though is fans all over the place came together and interacted within a single thread and had a blast – most at least from what I could tell.

 

Of course not everyone was as thrilled once they were tagged in. Some were begging to get out. LOL. Others were experiencing severe lag issues:

 

I personally loved it not only did I gain 10 new Oiler followers I was pretty much laughing my butt off all night. Sure, my app crashed 45 times but it was easy to reload. Here are some of the best tweets from that thread last night:

How did Hulk Hogan get dragged into an Edmonton Oilers MEGATHREAD? LOL. Does he even watch hockey?

 

Anyways, the best part was others tagging people in and watching the thread grow as people had no idea what was going on but were having fun with it. New friendships were formed, @beerleagueheroe was trending like crazy in Edmonton, a house party may have evolved outta all this and basically fans just had fun interacting with each other. I’d call it a success. Someone probably should have suggested turning off notifications BEFORE tagging others but hey like I said, it was an experiment! The Oilers dominated the Phlegms from start to finish and many of us got to enjoy the fun together through Twitter. It was great night all round. Now the question is….

 

Ahh, until next time my friend. Until next time…..

 

 

To comment please do so via Twitter @TheOilKnight

 

 

1. Temper Expectations

The truth is, this year’s Edmonton Oilers are a Stanley Cup contender but they’re not going to play like a Stanley Cup contender the whole year. Surely, there will be bumps along the way. Nashville took a step back last year in Regular season only to take a big leap forward in Playoffs. Look at what Ottawa went thru in the Regular Season last year. The point is, ignore expectations from all these so called ‘experts’ the goal of this team should be to make the playoffs which means Top 3 in their division. Get in, then the goal changes to winning the Stanley Cup. You don’t win the Cup in the Regular season. Many people have set the bar so high for this team intentionally knowing full well the team will struggle at times at which point it will be the perfect opportunity to capitalize on negativity from frustrated fans. Set realistic expectations – the team might struggle early with so many young guys and Sekera out for awhile but still should get into playoffs. Then look out. Playoffs are all that matter.

 

2. Don’t Feed the Trolls

As soon as there are any signs of adversity you know the usual suspects on Twitter like Barwick, JSBMshorts and Henderson are going to come out and starting pointing fingers at the GM, coach and players like Kris Russell. Don’t fall into their trap. They’ve cornered the market on negativity and feed off frustrated fans in an attempt to increase their viewership. They get off on providing controversial criticism about their “favourite team” to get attention. You know they’ll double their highlights of NON-Oilers Hall & Eberle just to stir things up even more. DON’T FALL FOR IT. I’d advise to block the haters out altogether but that’s up to you. You should ignore these egomaniacs at least don’t let them affect how much you enjoy the season. This team is still very young in spots and missing arguably their best overall defenceman from last year. There could also be more significant injuries. So what if they struggle for a bit. Adversity makes teams stronger.

 

3. Surround Yourself with Positive Vibes

There are a bunch of new people on twitter, bloggers and podcasts that have popped up over the last year or so that provide positive and refreshing takes on the Oilers. Here are a list of some of the best in my opinion you should give a follow or listen to if you don’t already:

@BeerLeagueHeroe

@PotratzHockey

@nooorzy

@oilersyyc

@EdProspectWatch

That being said, there’s nothing wrong with having healthy debates over under-performing players from positive fans. Not every player is going to perform up to expectations but this negative aura that some of these more established bloggers have created should be avoided. Give some of the newer faces a chance you might be pleasantly surprised.

 

4. Just Enjoy the Season

It’s a long year it’s going to fun to watch this team progress closer to a Championship team. Screw the haters. They’ve been anti-Chiarelli from the start let them be miserable in their own little circle. They’ve invested in it. For the rest of us, let’s enjoy the ride together!

 

 

 

To comment please do so via Twitter @TheOilKnight

 

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