That was one of the worst hockey games I’ve seen the Oilers play in a long time. Dallas Eakins has to take advantage of this moment to galvanize the team behind him, to solve the riddles that face the team, and to set a course for calm waters and success. There are 80 games left, but this team looked awful in game #2 of the regular season, generally considered to be a time when NHL teams are ready for competition. The Oilers are unready.
GET RID OF PEOPLE, I WANT BLOOD DAMMIT!
Probably not a good idea. As bad as the Oilers looked last night, this is a clearly talented bunch and they are going to have points in the season when they win two in a row and we’re talking about the parade. So, first, let’s settle down. Next, let’s find the reasons (not excuses, reasons) for the struggle:
- Oilers are missing their #1 and #2 centers
- Oilers are playing their best player out of position
- Oilers are giving the puck away like motel matches
- Oilers are not getting NHL average level goaltending
- Oilers are not responding well to puck pressure
SOLVING THE PROBLEMS
- Nuge is back, that is a massive deal. Really. I know he’s a kid, but this is going to settle down the roster a lot. Boyd Gordon is having a nice early portion of the season, and believe it or not Arcobello has been putting in some good minutes for this team.
- I think you put Hall back on LW and let him run beginning Monday. Enough. I’ve been behind the C move until now, but an unproductive Hall is death.
- As God is my witness I don’t understand this team sometimes. Good NHL players have been giving the puck away in the defensive zone. The good thing is that will change–Eakins coaching career depends on it.
- Dubnyk has been playing poorly, but there’s also an element of “Shit happens” to the start of this season. ANOTHER goal from long distance was tipped by the SAME GODDAMN DEFENSEMAN who did it the other night. I guess a college education doesn’t mean what it used, Jesus Murphy Petry make yourself useful as well as ornamental. Dammit. Eakins may want to run with LaBarbera Monday night, which is fine. Dubynk’s a big boy, he’ll grab that opportunity when it comes around again.
- I think part of the problem is they’ve been behind the entire season, they need to calm down.
The other item is that the club took a long time to come together during training camp. I applaud Dallas Eakins for making sure everyone got a look, but by the same token there’s still some rust on this roster.
LINEUP FOR MONDAY
- N Schultz-Belov
And I’m going to say this again: the Oilers need to find more PKers from that 4line. Part of the problem right now for this team is they’re using the skill guys on the PK and they’re not fresh 5×4 and 5×4. Maybe add that in when they’re back to being able to wheel at evens.
CHANCES FOR AND AGAINST LAST NIGHT
This terrific site gives us a really nice look at all of the advanced stats basically right after each game. It’s insane, and one of the really good features is Chances for-against at 5×5 close. If Dallas Eakins wants to get the attention of these Oilers this morning, he should throw this on a computer screen.
OILERS CF-CA 5X5 CLOSE, OCTOBER 5
- David Perron 4-3 (57.1%)
- Justin Schultz 6-7 (46.2%)
- Nail Yakupov 1-2 (33.3%)
- Jordan Eberle 3-8 (27.3%)
- Ales Hemsky 2-9 (18.2%)
- Taylor Hall 2-10 (16.7%)
These are the guys who are going to push the river on any given night for the Oilers. I’m a Dallas Eakins fan, and believe he’s the right guy for the job, but his biggest problem this morning is not Devan Dubnyk but rather that Hall number. I’m not buying that Hall was playing tough opp, he’s done that since he got here from Windsor. I’m also not going to accept that Hall isn’t buying in or that he’s sulking over not being the captain–these are things that we can discuss but no rational human is going to flush their career over getting passed by for a letter. Seriously.
In game one, Hall’s 5×5 close CF-CA number was 8-14, 36%. I’ve seen enough.