December 2017 – TheOilKnight.ca
 

Month: December 2017

 

 

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:

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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….

ANYWAYS…..

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!

 

To comment please do so via Twitter @TheOilKnight

 

 

After another frustrating loss to a backup goalie Oiler fans are left once again scratching their heads wondering how their team that had supposedly “turned the corner” could lose to a guy who used to play hockey somewhere near Siberia…….

 

Glass stops Draisaitl on a breakaway. Courtesy of NHL.com

 

I think the most frustrating thing for fans is THEY KNEW the Oilers were going to struggle against a backup goalie because THEY ALWAYS DO. I had predicted earlier in the day before Glass was announced the starter that the Oilers would impose their will against a vulnerable Hawks team who was reeling from 3 straight losses – but that never really happened. Instead, yet another backup goalie ends up looking like Patrick Roy against the punchless Oilers who weren’t able to execute effectively enough to pull out a very winnable game. So far this season these are some of the goalies they’ve lost to:

(CHI) Jeff Glass .933 SV%

(NSH) Jussi Saros .1000%

(TOR) Curtis McIlhenny .1000%

Robin Lehner has shut them down, Scott Wedgewood gave them fits till they pulled it out late in OT and Petr Mrazek has also shut them out. How does that happen?

 

 

Don’t get me wrong Edmonton did their best to try and run them out of the building early. I think at one point with still about 14 minutes to go in the 2nd period they already had 28 shots! The problem, was like too often this year that many of those shots were either “weak” attempts from long range with no one in front or the shots were right at him with no second chance opportunities. Glass was certainly playing well and stopped 2 breakaways along with a point blank chance from Lucic. However, once it got to about the mid point of the second frame you could see the Oilers were starting to get frustrated so decided to try getting cute aiming top corner on him which subsequently led to a lot of missed net opportunities.

The Oilers had an opportunity to climb the Wildcard standings and almost completely blew it if it weren’t for a miraculous comeback to at least salvage a point. We should be sitting here today saying they are only 1 point behind Chicago now but instead they are still 4 back. Chicago completely got them off their game as the Oilers couldn’t cycle the puck effectively or maintain a decent forecheck. They couldn’t beat a backup goalie so instead of staying with it going hard to the net for 2nd and 3rd chances (like Puljujarvi did on the only goal in first 58 mins) they settled for weak, long range shots or tried to ONCE AGAIN overpass the puck into the net.

It was an extremely frustrating game but a predictable one considering the Oilers history of clunkers versus backups. All of that is absolutely unacceptable for a team supposedly desperate for wins right now. Something needs to change and in a hurry I’m just not sure if there is enough time to fix it all (which is mostly internal IMO). The PP still sucks, the home PK is atrocious and this team can’t figure out how to show up against wounded teams. Winnipeg up next on Sunday missing their #1C and best player. Piece of cake right?

 

To comment please do so via Twitter @TheOilKnight.

Hallelujah!

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All every Oiler fan wanted for Christmas going into yesterday was a win to get back to .500 and what a beautiful present it was! Of course, our beloved McJesus got injured late in the game but thankfully the X-rays were negative so he’s just going to be a sore boy over Christmas. Any pain he does have should be overshadowed by the fact this team after a tumultuous start to the season has clawed their way back to .500 and more importantly 4 points of a playoff spot thanks to a current 4 game winning streak. That all sets them up to have a great start coming out of the break and to make a serious run now that everyone is healthy. Did I mention they were 33-1 odds to win the Cup 1 week ago?

Last night’s victory was a very satisfying one and I couldn’t help but think that Brendan Gallagher should be on the Oilers. A few of us have been banging that drum for years now it seems. With the Oilers currently rotating Caggiula and Cammalleri on Nuge’s RW there is definitely a fit. Gally is certainly a Chia type player and a gritty guy you’d love to have for the playoffs. He is Edmonton-born and a close friend to Milan Lucic. Montreal falls back farther in the standings you have to think he’d be the perfect acquisition for this team. 14 goals already this year.

Anyways, I’m happy for all the fans who hung in there and didn’t give up on this team. I predicted it was going to be a slow start but had no idea it would get as bad as it did where they basically bottomed-out but none of that matters now. Coming out of the break the Oilers are poised to get off to a hot start and dominate the rest of the year with a healthy lineup and full of confidence. The Playoffs are now within reach regardless of past odds. A wise man once said “It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish” and in this case the Oilers are looking to finish strong and prove all the naysayers and bandwagon jumpers who got off – wrong.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone we’ll catch you all again soon.

 

To follow me please do so on Twitter @TheOilKnight

 

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