Monday, December 8, 2014

Edmonton Oilers Postgame 27: Baby Steps

The next step is 29th overall in the league... sigh.

21 SOG
24 SOG

Thankfully the Oilers managed to put up a hard, gritty effort against a very competent Sharks squad, otherwise I would have been forced to top the previous "Worst Day in Oilers History" title with an even more ostentatious and hyperbolic headliner. That might have looked something like: "Oilers cause blogger to commit suicide after losing streak hits a dozen", complete with me taking a short step off a tall building after lighting myself on fire.

It was a low-event, evenly played game, featuring a whistle-light first period that the Oilers dominated, and the consummate puck luck that stands out especially in a one-goal game decided by said lucky goal. The Oilers spent long stretches of the third period attempting disjointed breakouts, mostly due to superior puck pressure from the finned opponents and some shoddy passes from the rearguards. In many ways it was a carbon copy of a perfect road game, played in front of 18k fans. For a team with saran-wrap thin confidence, it was exactly what the puck-doctor ordered.


  • Responsible defensive play across the board. Aside from the brain damaged decision making on the Sharks only goal, there was probably only one other sequence featuring a total collapse of defensive responsibility. Fortunately Scrivens was up tot he task of making 3 quick in close saves to preserve the game.
  • Puck Luck. It might seem to be weird to list this as a plus, but I'm a firm believer that occasionally players need to be rewarded for strong play with a bounce or two, or else you start getting a little Charlie Brown storm cloud hovering over your head.
  • The Goal scorers needed the Goals. Yak and the stinky-shoulder Frenchman both needed to bolster their early season totals. Perron has gone 2-2-4 in his last 4 games, and is starting to get chalk marks on the black board even though honestly I don't think his game has changed much. Yak just needs anything right now, to stop retarded journalistic forays that the troglodyte press troops are spinning. it would be nice to see him actually pot a goal at distance, without receiving a lingerie clad puck on a bed with rose petals.
  • Scrivens was solid. Unspectacular, but solid. Let's hope he doesn't have to spectacular going forward to drive Oilers success.
  • Justin Schultz's ice time reflected his performance. That jerk Jonathan Willis stole my thunder on this topic, so I might as well link him in. Long story short, like I've mentioned a lot previously, Schultz's ice time going down is generally a good thing for the Oilers. His career low of 13:14 is probably more in line with his recent play.
  • Nikitin is on the IR. See previous swearing in virtually every post game report this season for an explanation of that plus...
Some negatives after the hop...
  • No killer instinct. It's been shown pretty conclusively that the elite teams tend to gain a lot of "clear wins", or 2-goal or greater wins without EN goals. One goal wins tend to be extremely variable year of year, and insulating yourself from a bad bounce with an insurance marker is an incredibly important thing for long term success. The Oilers have had an abnormally small number of multi-goal leads and wins, and we'd need to see those numbers change before I expect the success would stick.
  • Top line was toothless. They've had a tough stretch so far this year, and I do think that Pitlick on the top line is basically a failed experiment. He can't really score in the AHL, so I don't see the logic that has him improving Hall and Hopkins in their ability to put the disc in the goal-counter. Hall hasn't scored a goal in 5 games, and while I don't think he's been bad, he's certainly been better.
  • Andrew Ference's ice time. Andrew lead the team with 26:25, and its blatantly apparent that he's the wrong guy to play your number one minutes. The puck does not move out of the zone in control when he gets the puck on his stick. With Nikitin hitting the IR it really makes me hope the Oilers look at boosting Marincin back up so we can see less of Ference's shitty puck-moving.

The Oilers took a tiny, eensy-weensy step towards mediocrity, which is certainly a leg up from "NHL nuclear-waste wallowing wizards". More encouraging is that aside from the Arizona game, the victory was more or less a continuation of the solid consistent effort we saw from the team over the last half-dozen, even if they were sullied by bad OT goals and a lack of results.

Is this the last kiss in the rain between the Oilers and the beautiful McDavid boy before they part company forever? A missed text message before the long romance? Both scenarios involve the Oilers out of the playoffs...


Post a Comment