The Edmonton Oilers have exhausted fans’ patience and then some during the first 15 games of this season, and I’m not certain better days are ahead. Taylor Hall is close to returning and that’s good news, but there’s a pile of injuries to stoke the fire and another road trip to endure. Hall’s presence on the roster would be a Godsend at this point. Coach Eakins was lamenting the lack of a guy who would step up, and to my way of thinking that’s what Hall has been doing since he stepped off the plane in 2010 summer.
Ireland’s money on this stuff, so that’s a great sign. Now, can he make it back tomorrow? Let’s say no. That would mean possibly Thursday but let’s say he has to wait until Saturday against the Flyers. Knowing their mood, I’d love to have him on the ice but if he’s not 100% I don’t want their skaters or their goalies near him. Hall was inconsistent at the beginning of the year, but remains a dream 5×5/60 offensively.
- Taylor Hall 2.90
- Mark Arcobello 2.56
- Will Acton 2.22
- Tyler Pitlick 2.05
- David Perron 2.00
- Ryan Smyth 2.00
- Jordan Eberle 1.99
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 1.68
- Ryan Gazdic 1.50
- Ryan Jones 1.50
- Ben Eager 1.40
- Justin Schultz 1.28
- Ales Hemsky 1.16
All others under 1.00.
I don’t think there’s a trade out there that can help this team, and wonder if MacT would like to see the team for 2 weeks before making any moves. At this point, winning isn’t as important as it was last week (sorry, but it’s true) and if the club spends 8 games with this lineup:
Maybe they can make hay. Of course, Belov looks hurt (here’s hoping it isn’t) so the defense will be under the gun for the immediate (and maybe more) future. Still, I’m not certain the GM makes a move with all these IR troubles–especially considering the standings.
COOL HAND LUKE
One way the Oilers can win games is the old fashioned way: earning it. Their goaltending needs to be stronger sure, but they also have to work harder without the puck. The game Saturday exposed a lot of holes, and that’s been happening forever. I’m not in favor of trading anyone unless it’s for full value, but “full value” might be a Nikolai Kulemin or another 2-way winger. This team needs a Dvorak badly, along with more help on the blue.
I hope Dubnyk gets the chance tomorrow night, he’s the best goalie going into the year and was playing well before the injury. He says he’s ready (said he was ready on Saturday) and the Oilers need as much help as they can get tomorrow night against Florida. Matty has the Oilers circling the name Jonas Hiller on the capgeek free agent list next summer btw.
I find myself drawn to the Calgary Flames these days. Buncha mutts who don’t know any better, just work so hard there’s snot coming from everywhere (pardon, sorry). I love the skill of the Oilers, but that Calgary Flames team is making the Oil look like a boarding school field trip in apple blossom time.
As a fan, my favorite thing to do is ‘play along’ with the GM to see if we agree on things. Sometimes, when they mesh, I congratulate myself all day on being such a smart guy. At other times, I realize there’s a gap between being a GM and second guessing. Example: Linus Omark. I can’t for the life of me understand why you’d run without the guy when the NHL team is without Hall, Perron, Smyth and Joensuu. You know what’s worse than Nuge-Omark-Eberle to my eye? What we saw on Saturday night.
But, as I said, there’s a difference between being a fan and GM. Omark sits in Oklahoma. What is it about Omark that keeps the Oilers from bringing him up? Size? Checking? Whatever it is, I’m not convinced his faults are so great that keeping him on the farm is the right call. Perhaps coach Eakins has forgotten about the enormous game Linus post against his Marlies? It surely isn’t the cap.
It’s a strange call.
The quotes after the Saturday game are worth remembering.
- Andrew Ference: “The coach comes in here and gives a pretty black and white world of what expectations are and what you’re supposed to be doing on the ice and it’s up to us as players to do those jobs. What it boils down to at this point is guys not doing it. Everybody is saying the right thing but it’s the action that matters.”
- Andrew Ference: “It’s like nothing soaked in. We have to hold each other accountable because there’s no excuse for it. It’s not a league where you can win when guys are trying to do things on their own page – there’s a team system for a reason.”
- Ladislav Smid: “I don’t think we realize this can get way worse. People are going to start getting traded. It’s going to get really uncomfortable for everyone.”
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
- Tyler Dellow from mc79 hockey. We’ll talk about this Oiler team–it is over? have they given up? and discuss the Andrew Ference comments above. I’ll also ask about his blog hiatus.
- Neal Lvingston from Tend the Farm. Omark’s stuck in Oklahoma with the Memphis blues again. Why? Did he lose his phone? Has he renounced the NHL? WHY NEAL? We’ll find out.
- Scott Reynolds from Copper and Blue. I’ll ask Scott for fix-it ideas, and we’ll discuss what holes we saw early and what injuries have done to help with this horrific start.
- Travis Yost from Hockeybuzz. Senators have an all-star cast but the script is horrible and nothing rhymes. The club today is 4-6-4 for 12 points. Dreadful.
10-1260 via text or @Lowetide_ on twitter. Hope you can tune in!