Friday, November 21, 2014

Edmonton Oilers Postgame 19: The Agony of Repeat


31 SOG
32 SOG

Faced with another one goal loss, it was difficult to conjure up another calm and collected response to the collective cluster-fuck that flubbed a four four tie in the third. I wanted to howl and scream, I wanted to post incendiary headlines like "Oilers Top Team in West" or "Oilers Blow Harder Than Scrivens' Goal Horn Last Night". I wanted to be there in the post game scrum and ask Coach Eakins why the Oilers got crushed in the first period once again, and why he plays the worst 4.5 million defenceman in the league the most ice time on the night - 23 minutes of tomfoolery and timidity.

I wanted some relief from the wretchedness of repeated losing seasons, and instead, what I was left with was a dark, cold plasma screen staring at me, a girlfriend pissed at me for a 3 hour silent treatment, and another one goal loss in the books. The Oilers had fashioned 3 comebacks in the uneven, mostly garbage game from luck and Miller's bad goaltending, but then regurgitated the lead when it got to crunch time. The normally reliable "4th" line made bad decisions, and once again the Bubble-Face Boys feasted on inept defending by sliding a puck under a swimming Captain Ference for a late winner.

To add insult to injury, we have guys like Glenn Healy sucking the Sedins sour-milk maker all game, heaping praise upon them as if they were baby Swedish Jesuses... Jesii? If there is anything worse than watching the Canucks TV team circle-jerk themselves into friction-induced flaming flattery, it's probably Hitler. They loved looking at some typical hockey play from the Oilers as if they had just blasted buckshot into a bunch of babies, and the Canucks making some typical play as if it was revolutionizing the game with hockey. When the color commentary - Hughson and Simpson - has you yearning for Louie Debrusk, you know they've crossed some critical threshold into one of the seven circles of Hell.

Sitting 6-11-2 is has many fans wondering "Why am I here?" and "What is all this good for?". I don't have the answers. I have predictions borne of math and logic, but even on a night when the Oilers scored on 11% of their even strength shots, they let in 5 goals, most of them preventable. Not even to mention most of the offence came from the third and fourth line on exactly the night when our top 6 was inept at generating offensive pressure.

In the post game scrum, some idiot beat reporter had the audacity to analyze Scrivens' game (click on Scrivens post game) by saying something like "It's obvious you would have liked more than a couple of those back." First of all, idiot, more than a couple would basically be every goal in the game, good job on learning kindergarten math. Second, the goal on the Aulie give-away may or may not have been a bad goal. I'm of the opinion that a perfectly placed wrist shot with NHL velocity from the top of the circle will beat every goalie in the league. Was it perfectly placed? Was it NHL velocity? I don't know. What I do know is that the Oilers didn't lose the game on the back of Scrivens game in net. He made huge saves, and while he's been Ebolabrutal for the much of the season, the team gave up double digit odd man situations.

Finally, and with greatest venom, I wish to lampoon Nikitin, and by proxy, Coach Eakins. How the spazzatronic, smoking the chronic Nikitin is getting the most ice time on the Oilers positively perplexes me. In the post game scrum Eakins - I'm paraphrasing - said something to the tune that he had to play Nikitin because the defencemen behind him were struggling. Well then, pick up the macphone, and request some competent players to rebalance the D squad. You might also start by giving Marincin a fucking start or two as well.

Or screw it, let's draw in Gazdic!

First Line - Hall-Nuge-Eberle - Was a non-factor, and their power-on-power matchup with the Sedin mutants was a disasterous debacle of dastardly proportions (they had 7 points, 6 shots and only averaged about 17 minutes). They've played power on power well before, but they got skunked when the Oilers needed them the most. Combined for 6 shots in about 61 minutes total.

Second Line - Perron-Arco-Yak - Mostly a non factor, who combined for about 4 shots in 13.5 minutes or so each. Perron is in danger of having a truly terrible season unless he figures out what is ailing his usually nasty wrister. At least they didn't allow a goal against.

Third Line - Pouliot-Draisaitl-Purcell - Purcell probably played the best game of his Oilers career, and while he's definitely been on my shitlist, he actually played an inspired game. I've have zero faith that this will be anything but once in a blue moon from the guy though. It all stems from him being a perimeter, offence first player and the fire under his ass most certainly came from zipping one past Ryan "I always look confused when I let in a goal" Miller. Definitely a less than memorable night for the other two (Purcell had 7 shots, the others 1 each).

Fourth Line - Hendricks-Gordon-Pinizotto - Pinizotto had a 2 point night (who cares about the fight, seriously), and Gordon potted one as well. When your fourth line scores two, it should be a recipe for success. Unfortunately it was this same line that absolutely boondocked the play that lead to the Canucks game winning goal. After being brawny beasts to start the year, Gordon and Hendricks have been at fault at some critical times, and have looked weary. Perhaps the heavy lifting is taking a toll on Gordon and Hendricks, it certainly looked like it when they were on for 4 goals against.

First Pair - Aulie-Schultz - To no ones surprise, Aulie has some limitations as a player that are probably obvious to the coach when he plays you under 12 minutes on the night. His give away was brutal, but the footspeed he showed to get back into the play was like watching water fowl paddle in pudding. Schultz on the other hand, continues to show a distinct lack of ability to aim the puck towards the 4x6. He seems think that he's getting bonuses based on style points - but I can assure you for a guy with supposed impressive offensive ability, he's been hitting the net about as much as Roger Federer in his prime. He's had 32 shots on goal while averaging 22.5 minutes on the season. Kevin Bieksa playes 1.5 mins less on average, and in the same number of games has 10 more shots. Guess who averages way more PP time?

Second Pair - Nikitin-Fayne - I've basically had it with Nikitin. Things he sucks at: making decisions. Passing the puck to the correct forward. Stick handling. Playing defence. Making tasty sandwiches. Some of that is speculation, but I will say that I've positively had it with that big, clunky, rusty, junky Russian war ship pulling out of the Oilers port. Light Marincin on fire and he'd still make a better break out pass.

Third Pair - Ference-Petry - Petry continues to play well, and while he got hornswoggled on the shot attempts (12 for/28 against), he also was the only defenceman who wasn't on the ice for a goal against. Ference made his best impression of a breast stroker in the special Olympics in the GWG, and competent defending in that one instant might have given the Oilers a point. It's funny how a defender's mistake can cost the team points in a split second...

Scrivens - I've mostly covered Scrivens, but he made some huge saves, maybe had one he'd like back, and otherwise did enough to allow the Oilers to win. The .839 he posted isn't going to help his save percentage any though...


Today, I'm wearing a Canucks jersey because I lost a bet with my boss over the victor of the game. It's a Kesler jersey that's two sizes too small. So if you think you have pain after that loss, think of a too-small Kesler jersey being worn in public.

Some people (and teams) just never seem to learn...


  1. Plain and simple we were out coached, Eakins overplays Nikky (one of the worst d men on our team). He dresses Aulie over Marincin, plays our top line against the Sedins (which is exactly what Van wanted) for 2.5 periods and when Eakins finally realizes that he has last line change and plays the top line against Vans other lines, the Nucks line change to keep the Sedins out there against our top line. Eakins should double shift the top line, play Hall on the top line and sneak him on to the 4th line. Stop playing Nikki more then what he really is a 6th dman.
    This is expected when you have a rookie GM putting in a Rookie coach and expect something to change. The whole management team needs to be changed and the coaching needs to be fired too. Eakins showed he was a rookie coach in that game and he will continue to look that way all season.