I jest in the caption above, the truth is that the House looks more like the Oilers after a 5 year Tambellini renovation program.
Detroit might not be the Class of the NHL like it used to be, but it’s still a fine Franchise that wins more than it loses. I wish the same could be said for the Oilers, who are clinging to hope that at some point in March there will be a meaningful game played. Edmonton is literally halfway between Last in the NHL and a Playoff spot. Only 3 points separate them in either direction. That’s only because they somehow managed to squeak out a point against the Harlem Globetrotters of the NHL, the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The good news for the Oilers is that in the past they have played the Red Wings fairly well. The bad news is that the Red Wings are in the upper echelon of the League in “Shots For” per game and the Oilers are Dead Last in “Shots Against”. The fact is the Oilers allow 11(!) more shots per game than the NHL best St Louis Blues. This could be a shooting gallery tonight, so Dubnyk or whomever has to stand on his head.
With the Oilers in the Skids right now the source of their woes has been the topic of every discussion. For me, they just arent talented enough on the back end. Justin Schultz is relied upon too heavily as a 22 year old Rookie Pro. Every defenseman outside of Schultz and Petry are One Dimensional players, and Petry is only in HIS 2nd year as a starter. Say what you will about toughness or the wrong mix of skilled forwards, the fact is that the defense is simply not good enough to help win games.
I want the Oilers to be a little bigger and impose their physical will on other teams too, but for all the good Mike Brown brings to that cause it wont help the Oilers stop getting outshot every game they play. Either it’s coaching or its personnel to blame and the Oilers have been through 4 coaches in 5 years. It isnt coaching. Every possible type of coach under the sun has failed to get this team to perform. Its the Players. They arent very good. The Oiler young forwards are already pretty good and we know the future is likely very bright for many of them, but after that its a train wreck.
Oilers Keys to the Game
It has been abysmal performance after abysmal performance with the Oilers. They hired a professional motivational speaker as their Head Coach and HE cant get them to play better. Special teams have been pretty good, but 5v5 it just isnt there. What more has to happen for the Edmonton Oilers to be focussed and mentally present for Hockey Games?
2) High Event Hockey
Ryan Whitney has been playing a brand of hockey that is just way too “High Event”. He is involved in the play, it seems, no matter which team is scoring. That has to get sorted out. And it isnt just Whitney, Petry has had plenty of mental lapses (commonly associated with being a 2nd year Starter) to go along with the good things he creates too. There is just too much going on in the Oilers own zone all the time. Reel it in already.
3) Sustain Pressure
The Oilers as an entire team need to commit to retrieving pucks in the offensive zone and sustaining pressure. Most entries are creating a single shot on net and then the puck comes out. Whether its going into the corners and getting the puck back after its turned away or just going to the front of the net in bunches the Oilers need to create more opportunities for themselves. Considering the team is so young and relatively inexperienced, simpler is better IMO.
Puck Drops at 5:38 PM Mountain Time on Sportsnet. Game On!