Much has changed since the Oilers last met with the Blue Jackets, and yet so much remains the same. The Howson era is over and the good ship Columbus is now being steered by
Doctor Evil Jarmo Kekalainen.
So the bodies in the front office have changed. President John Davidson gave Howson enough rope to hang himself with and hang himself he did. The Blue Jackets now have the NHL’s first ever European GM. Of course he has plenty of NHL experience in different roles ranging from former player to Scouting and Assistant GM. So this is no out of the box hire, per se. He just happens to be the 1st GM born and raised in a European Country. Considering it has only been 1 generation of hockey players since the NHL fully embraced European players I’d say this is just the first step in Globalizing the higher level positions of NHL Hockey.
Despite the long overdue firing of Howson, Columbus has not taken any drastic steps at this time to “correct the path” that the previous GM had taken. However we are less than a month away from the NHL Trade Deadline and I imagine they will be sellers, but they wont have much to sell that many will want. The biggest name would probably be Jack Johnson while the most likely to go would be 38 year old Vinnie Prospal. Outside of that the Blue Jackets are just an awful team. The good news for them is that the Oilers arent much better.
The Oilers acquired Mike Brown yesterday, dealing away a 4th round pick that could turn into a 3rd if the Oilers make the Playoffs. I’m not sure why anyone would think that Mike Brown would be the deciding factor in the Oilers making the Playoffs, but it’s a solid bet that the Oilers are only losing a 4th rounder. Jonathan Willis has a good breakdown of Brown HERE. If Mike Brown can be a regular for the Oilers and Krueger actually plays him more than 3 minutes a night then a 4th isnt a great loss, but it has been noted that the Leafs got a pick for him then found a replacement for Free on the Waiver wire. So at the end of the day the Oilers lost a pick for something the Leafs, a better team, replaced for nothing.
The last game was truly discouraging as an Oilers fan. ZERO shots on goal in the 2nd Period. Zero. That’s such a difficult number to comprehend that it’s status as a number wasnt even agreed upon in the Western World just a few hundred years ago! Now apply that to a Hockey club boasting the kind of offensive talent the Oilers have and it makes even less sense. There has to be more fight back in this team. There just has to be.
Oilers Keys to the Game
I think this goes without saying. When you go a couple games without generating a lot of shots, and one period where you literally cant produce any, you need to find ways to shoot. Whether its Jordon Eberle being “selfish” on the Power Play or a defenseman just directing one to the net on a nothing play, every Oiler needs to take their shots when they have the chance.
2) Timely saves.
I got myself into a short discussion with Jonathan Willis last game about an offhand remark I made about me wondering if Dubnyk was a legit starter. The young Oilers netminder started the year off hot. He was stopping everything that was thrown at him. Now his save percentage has dipped though still at a respectable number (.917). However, in his last 5 games he has a Save % of 0.878.
Sure, the Oilers shat the bed in the 2nd against Minnesota, but it was tied going into the 3rd and then Dubnyk let in an absolute softie back breaker 9 Seconds into the final frame. He followed that up with another softie for the 4th goal.
I think it’s safe to question how well suited Dubnyk is to be a starter for an NHL Club. I have no doubts right now that long term he’s a better option than Khabi, but that doesnt mean he’s a legit Starter.
3) Mike Brown
Brown should be excited to get in the lineup today and show his teammates and Coach just what he can do, and Columbus has enough guys who he can match up against. I fully expect shit disturbation at its finest and a fight. Is that fair? No. But if he wants to show what he can do then there is no time like the present.
Puck drops at an ungodly 5:08 PM Mountain Time. Game On!