Ralph Krueger did not deliver a searing post-game show last night, he did not utter the name Barbara Ann Scott and he did not throw anyone under the bus (as coach Renney did last season to Sam Gagner after saying he would never do it in training camp). Krueger’s best quote from last night: “Overall, it was an excellent hockey game.” Love it. Take the pressure off the kids and make the coach a lightning rod for the fans. Beautiful.
The Oilers lost a game they could have gathered a point from last night, and after the first 10 minutes (imo) they did not set the pace of the game. My feeling is that this Oiler team remains a group that is getting all kinds of chances and that’s a wonderful thing. They have no puck luck, their defensemen go walkabout or are inert for fear of tipping and Jesus, Mary and Joseph last night was a dart to the heart.
But this team is getting there.
One of my favorite commenters on the state of the Oil is Dennis King, and two tweets from the King after the game really tell the story for me:
- 3rd period chance total: 2-5. Overall: 21-20; 5-1 ST. Oilers had the chances, they did not bury them. I think coach Krueger needs to get something going with the PP–maybe feature that big slapshot from Kid Russia. But the scoring chance total from Dennis reads like a broken record–the Oilers are getting them and outchancing the other side.
- Loss harkens back to the days of Tommy Salo: Oilers can’t score and a tipped shot finds the net with less than 5 min remaining. Yes. Ralph Krueger probably got home last night, poured a glass of scotch (a strong one), and looked into the fire for a time. Maybe someone real or imagined asked “what went wrong?” and maybe Ralph responded with “It’s nobody’s fault, but…..”
I wonder if Ralph is going to start going to the whip with the top line soon, playing them even heavier minutes. Ben Eager playing 11 minutes is from the Pat Quinn playbook. Let’s not go there.