Opening Night: Why Do the Oilers Have to Wait?

The NHL starts up again tonight, it should be an exciting season in many cities across the league. Based on the media reports I’ve seen, three Canadian teams (Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto) will win the Stanley and there’s probably 7 or 8 in the USA who feel the same way.

Oiler fans have to wait until Sunday–they are the last team to pop the cork on the season–to play Pittsburgh. It won’t be an ieal opening for fans, the blue is still beat up and I’d bet a 2-4 coach Renney starts Khabibulin in net for G1.

The fun for Oiler fans this season will be the 20 or so games in which “firewagon hockey” returns to the NHL.

I think there will be a lot of 4-1 losses and 5-2 L’s, but the offense should be able to post some crooked numbers a few nights this season. IF all six of Hall, Eberle, Hemsky, Smyth, Omark, Paajarvi stay healthy this team should have a large jump in offense. During the RE series, I suggested this version of the Oilers will score 30 more goals than one year ago; that’s a huge increase but there’s some very good hockey players on the team. I think they’ll allow around 250, and will be about -24 overall. That’s a huge GF-GA improvement.
More than wins and losses, I think that’s the item to follow. Edmonton was -76 GF/GA one year ago, with special teams a complete sink-hole. Improve that number and the wins will follow.  I sure wish they had another actual NHL defenseman.


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