November 2017 – TheOilKnight.ca
 

Month: November 2017

 

What a surprise. The Oilers were lulled to sleep for 2 periods against an inferior Coyotes only to claw back in the 3rd and pull it out in OT. It was Coyote Ugly. When have we heard that before?

The game was going how most games against the Coyotes usually go after two periods…..slowly. I don’t know what it is about that franchise but they always seem to give the Oilers fits. Even last year Edmonton lost the first two matchups against Arizona before finally beating them right before Christmas then finally handling them to start 2017. I don’t know why they take them lightly but they always seem to and almost paid the price last night with their lackadaisical 4o minute effort.

Regardless, they pulled it out (barely) and now have a nice 2 game winning streak going on. Talbot was solid after getting essentially called out by his General Manager. Be nice if he were able to go on a bit of a hot streak here but wait…..

 

Another potential cut to add to the thousands already. This team can’t seem to catch a break but they don’t have any time to dwell on it. Nick Ellis will likely get the call-up if Talbs can’t go which means Slepy or Puljujarvi will have to be sent down for a game or two to make room. Speaking of Puljujarvi, after being scratched the last 2 games after a couple of subpar games following a nice start it sounds like he might get a shot on the Top line if he doesn’t get sent to Cali….

I’m sure many of you yelled “it’s about time” when Stauffer tweeted that. Hopefully, Talbs is healthy enough to be the backup otherwise it’s going to mess up the newly formed Top 6.

 

Anyways, here are my likes and dislikes from last night’s game:

I liked Anton Slepyshev’s game.

I thought he was physical, skated hard, just missed the net on a laser shot and was usually in the right position most of the night. Did you know the Oilers are 4-0 in the last 4 games Slepyshev played in? While he might not score like a Top 6 forward I think he skates, checks and is defensively responsible enough to help tilt the ice in the right direction more often than not and keep the play moving for his linemates.

Looch is on a roll right now.

Crushed bodies again last night fought hard for possession made some smart reads and helped set up the game tying goal. He’s still going to make the odd dumb play and get caught not moving his feet but his intensity the last few games has definitely gone up a notch he seems to be skating more with a purpose now than before.

Nurse continues to impress.

I know he could have been stronger on his man on the first goal and there were a few gaffes in his own zone but there were also some fantastic reads & plays including the one where he took it from behind his net, skated it out of the zone went coast to coast behind their net to set up Caggiula almost for the game winner. He is oozing with confidence right now and looks like a Top pair defenceman.

 

I didn’t like Maroon’s game.

Brutal giveaway early almost put the Oilers behind the 8 ball to start thankfully Talbot saved his bacon. The whole game I thought he didn’t get in on the forecheck fast enough and really struggled making the right read with Nuge and Sleppy. He’s flirting with bottom 6 demotion here which in a contract year is bad for him.

Letestu needs to stay off the PP.

He was never fast to begin with but he has gotten REAL slow real fast. Opponents close the gap on him so quickly on the PP he has no time to do anything. Time to get someone else on that unit like Puljujarvi. Notes from practice today suggest that may happen as soon as next game.

Refs were brutal.

When aren’t they?

 

So…

after a 2 game winning streak the Oilers will now host Toronto on Thursday while still 5 points back of a playoff spot as we speak. It’s a big test as the Leafs have owned the Oilers as of late and are coming off a win on the road against Calgary. If Talbot can’t go it’s going to be really tough but even if he does it all depends on which Oilers team will show up in front of him. Hopefully, they use last year’s sweep as motivation but as we have seen it’s hard to tell which games this team will get up for and which ones they decide to just lay an egg. Regardless of the outcome I’m sure it’ll be nothing but Auston Matthews talk around here….

 

Well, the day has come that I didn’t think would happen. The Oilers are near the bottom of the standings and I have quit Twitter. I didn’t really anticipate either initially but as time wore on it became apparent it was the right move for my own sanity.

 

See, the real issue for me is the constant pitchforking and need to point fingers after every single loss that has become all too common in Oilers Nation. String enough of those together then it becomes a mob and the fans starting looking for guys to sacrifice. It’s bad enough there is a large circle of Anti-Chiarelli detractors who with their loud voices, social media platform and calculators in hand scrutinize everything he does because it doesn’t jive with their flawed system of how they would hypothetically run an NHL organization. This despite their ZERO experience in ever having done so. This is the same Stanley Cup winning GM who in 9 years in Boston won 4 division titles, 2 conference titles and made the playoffs 7 straight years not to mention has rebuilt the depth in the Oilers organization from top to bottom in just over 2 years. Or how about the Armchair coaches who have never coached a day in their lives in ANY sport calling for the Coach’s dismissal 20 games in because he isn’t putting out the line combinations they know for sure would magically cure everything. Apparently they could do a better job than TMac has done in his 9 full seasons where his team’s finished over 100 points 5 times and has 37 playoff wins under his belt. Oh yeah, and also led his team to within a game of the WC final last year after missing the playoffs for 10 years. Does anyone still remember that? Oh they made it IN SPITE of the coach? LOL. C’mon.

 

 

What really did it for me was as soon as I started reading articles about how McDavid was costing the team and tweets that Draisaitl sucks and needs to be traded from people I came to enjoy following, I knew it was time for me to bid adieu. Add that to the “We should have never let Pouliot go” or “We badly need Eberle right now” crowd of knuckleheads and clearly people were losing their damn minds or have the shortest memories ever. I literally blocked hundreds of negative accounts from the previous year just to have the most positive and enjoyable Twitter experience possible only to watch it self-destruct again once adversity hit. Maybe it was the bandwagoners who weren’t around for 10 years getting their first taste of futility. Or the rabid, loyal fans who were having flashbacks of a dark age of Oilers hockey where the highlight of the night was either the only goal in an 6-1 loss or a jersey being thrown on the ice. Either way, ex players were blaming the media, MSM attacking the bloggers, fans were blaming the MSM and fans were also turning on the players, coach and GM. All this after a 8-13-2 record to start the season. LOL. Really? Too much.

What amazes me the most is how quickly fans can turn on an organization that (if it hadn’t got screwed royally) should have been in the Western Conference finals after 10 years of missing the playoffs. I get the start hasn’t been ideal and something was ‘off’ with the team but to say all of the sudden the coach sucks he needs to be fired and the GM is now horrible – I mean, holy smokes talk about being impatient and impulsive. Sometimes I feel like many on Twitter (and don’t get me wrong I love a lot of people on there) live in this bubble where they literally know nothing about any other team in the league except for when the Oilers play them. Or they are completely oblivious to the fact this is a common occurrence in all sports when a team goes from ‘the Hunter’ one year to ‘the Hunted’ the next and have absolutely no idea how to cope with it. This happens often in Sports when expectations dramatically change for a team in a short period of time – those heightened expectations bring added pressure which in turn creates adversity. It’s why the team who goes crazy in NFL Free Agency always falls flat, the President’s Trophy winner bows out early, the most active team at the NHL Trade deadline falls short or a team that just made the playoffs for the first time in 11 years and is anointed the preseason Stanley Cup favourites struggle out of the gate. It was predictable.

 

 

I literally wrote back in October that this team would struggle early and fans should be patient but I guess I didn’t say it loud enough or beat my chest hard enough for enough people to notice or care. If you care to check it out you can here: https://theoilknight.ca/2017/10/04/what-should-you-do-to-get-ready-for-the-season/

I’ve seen people on Twitter call me a Mr. know-it-all who’s always thinks he’s right in hindsight. Well, that’s their opinion frankly I couldn’t care less what they think. If I post things then refer back to them when they happen it doesn’t make it a genius or a Mr. Know-it-all it makes me an astute observer who got lucky. I never tried to be the loud guy who always needed to be right I just expressed my opinions, tried to provide reasonable suggestions and logical solutions. Some agreed, many disagreed. Sometimes I was right, sometimes I was wrong. It’s all good. The world is full of opposing parties with opposite views I don’t take it personal.

Now, I am certainly guilty of some harsh criticism myself in the past towards certain players however in my case I was pointing the finger at some of the core pieces of some terrible teams. Constant losing can 100% create a negative culture and bad habits amongst even the best of players. You can blame whoever you want for all those years of futility but losing breeds losers. Since Nicholson, Chiarelli & McLellan got to Edmonton all those losing pieces have been slowly weeded out. Fans finally got to reap the benefits of that last year with an incredible run but have given up on this year already? This team is not full of losers anymore it is full of winners – guys who have won in the past and have the leadership abilities to turn the ship around. Forget what any stats guy tells you. This team does not need to be blown up and rebuilt. All the answers are already in that room. Most of the people calling for a complete deconstruction are the ones who were unhappy with how it was built in the first place while others have panicked and now turned to those people for advice. These egomaniacs want Edmonton to build it THEIR way kinda like the Arizona Coyotes are doing it – loading up on Corsi friendly players to further help push their agenda of proving how they are the smartest people in the room having a math background. Building a Fancystat friendly team based on Woodmoney or whatever the hell it’s called now is the only way to truly build a winner in their eyes as they look to replace conventional hockey wisdom with a series of made up stats and graphs. Well it ain’t gonna happen.

 

(maybe)

The fact is the Oilers still have 58 games left including 26 Divisional games. They need to get at least 3rd in their division or a wildcard to get into the playoffs which is still very much a possibility. Let’s say hypothetically they do scrape in after all this adversity. Would you want to bet against them after all they’ve been through? I’m certainly an optimistic guy I don’t think I’m delusional in saying this team has a big run in them. Everything I know about the make-up, character and leaders on this team tell me they are resilient and will fight to the end and get in. They are built to win in the Western Conference and dominate their division. I know it hasn’t been a pretty start to say the least and the odds are now stacked against them but a wise man once said….

 

(Pretty sure he stole that from the bible)

The season isn’t finished folks and neither am I as far as believing in this team. I will be posting here regularly when I’m not busy about the Oilers, the NHL in general and some of our top prospects. Feel free to give me a read if you’re bored. For all of you who followed me on Twitter I really enjoyed our interactions thank you for making it such an enjoyable one I hope to maybe talk with all of you again sometime soon.

 

#OTFFL & #OTFHL and #LetsGoOilers!

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