There are a few hockey players whose game makes me visibly angry, Dustin Brown is tops on the list.
He is talented enough to pitch in offensively but his calling card is that offense mixed in with some sandpaper. He hits guys. In fact, he hits guys pretty hard. That’s an admirable trait in a player. I wish the Oilers had a top 6 guy that could level guys, thats not the issue. My problem is the fact that Dustin Brown is a diver. He dives. He dives like he was wearing Canucks Blue instead of the
Purple and Yellow Black & White of the Kings.
The Oilers will no doubt be penalized tonight after some poor defenseman’s stick comes within 3 feet of Brown and he goes down faster than Peckham can eat cheeseburgers. The NHL needs to label this guy a diver and start handing out unsportsmanlike penalties, but after winning a Stanley Cup he seems to be getting more calls than ever going his way. Disgusting.
C’est la vie, so the Dutch say, and I will just have to take solace in the fact that the Kings are 14 in the West as of this morning. Normally the media chalks this up to “Stanley Cup Hangover” but the Kings barely squeaked into the playoffs last year. The fact is they werent overly good in the regular season last year. It just might be time to come to terms with the possibility that maybe, just maybe, the Kings were highly overrated going into this season.
The Kings, similarly to the Oilers, have struggled to score goals this year. They are ranked 27th in the NHL for Goals For (Oilers are 24th). Justin Williams was 2nd in Kings scoring last year with 59 points and only has 6 while sporting a 2.2 sh%. Dustin Brown is also scoring at a lower rate than he was last season and if we go down the list many will have the same ailment. One might say that the Kings are due, but screw those guys. Let them suffer.
The Oilers meanwhile are coming off of their 2nd straight game shooting the lights out and an explosion of goals against the Avalanche. Nuge scored his first goal, Eberle potted one, and the entire team put in a dominant performance. How they respond today could set the tone for the rest of the season. A poor outing will set the narrative as the young immature Oilers, a continuance will set it as the coming out party of the New Oilers.
Oilers Keys to the Game
1) Dont Let Up
After two really strong efforts the fear many Oiler fans have is that this ride will come to an end shortly. It’s up to Krueger and the coaching staff to make sure the team comes out ready and willing to do the things it needs to do to be successful. Motivation is supposed to be Ralph’s calling card, lets hope that wasnt just lip service.
2) Bounce Back in Net
I would expect Dubnyk is given the opportunity to bounce back. He is the starter and he had an off game that the team overcame. No doubt he wants to prove to himself and his teammates that it was just a bad period of hockey. Khabi played very well in relief and was rewarded by the Oiler faithful with a completely unlikely “Khabi” chant. He probably wont have many of those left in his career. Still, its Dubnyk’s job to start games for the Oilers. He has been stellar all year save for 2 periods, one against the Avs the other against the Sharks. He needs to keep the door shut against the Kings and provide their scoring anxiety no relief.
Based on the Morning Skate it seems as if Khabi would be starting tonight. I will go on record right now and say I disagree with this move. Dubnyk is a 1st year starter and has earned his job. He needs to know the coaching staff has his back. Khabibulin played well for 2 periods but was terrible for years. The Oilers schedule is pretty even and Dubnyk doesnt need the time off. No sir, I dont like it.
3) Happy Birthday
It’s Ryan Whitney’s birthday today. When he’s blowing out his candles today he needs to wish for some more success. The big win glossed over the fact that he was out-chanced yet again last game. If somehow he can ever regain some of the form that he had before the Oilers would be more legitimate playoff contenders. I can live with him giving up a few chances if the Oilers score 6 every night, but that just doesnt seem reasonable.
Puck drops at 8:10 PM Mountain on TSN. Game On!