Last night, after a pretty well played hockey game by the Edmonton Oilers, Taylor Hall expressed how he felt—and it should come as no surprise.
I think that’s a great quote, and a fabulous thing for Hall to say. Why? He should feel this way! 248 games into Taylor Hall’s career, the Edmonton Oilers have won 87 of them. They won 32 games in his second season under Tom Renney, and they are on pace to win 25 this season—I’m certain many feel the club is going the wrong way.
I don’t agree.
HOW WELL DID THEY PLAY?
- Dallas Eakins: “I liked the pace of our game… Except for a couple bounces, I thought our guys executed the game plan as laid out.”
- Jordan Eberle: “We showed again we can play with this team… Two mistakes ended up in our net. Other than that we played a good game.”
- Taylor Hall: “I thought we showed a lot of pushback against a heavy team… It would have been nice to get a couple goals.”
The Edmonton Oilers marched into Los Angeles and played two good hockey games. This isn’t a matter of effort or heart, and really not even execution (mistakes happen, and they had their chances last night—specifically Hall and Yakupov); this is a matter of two California teams being flat out better than the Oilers. Consider it payback for the 1980′s.
I think we need to have some patience here, folks. Craig MacTavish has been on the job for less than a year, and found some gems (Perron, Gordon, Ference, Belov, Arcobello) for the group. If he can repeat that this coming summer, that should give this hockey team enough to push for the second season. I understand things are tough right now, and understand that this team needs to win some hockey games this season, but we also knew the left coast road trip was going to be a killler (and it was).
I believe Craig MacTavish is doing the right thing here, keeping his powder dry and waiting for the right opportunity. Who cares if Nail Yakupov may match Mike Bloom’s 1974-75 plus/minus? Does that mean he should trade him to Detroit for Blair Stewart? No. Stay the course, one day this team can identify the turning point and maybe it’s now.
Get good players. KEEP good players.
THEY HAVE TO MAKE A TRADE
Sure, eventually. If someone shakes loose—Ehrhoff or Campbell or maybe Gardiner—MacT needs to pursue the hell out of it, and I’m sure he will. We should even expect an overpay of some sort, but if the ask is any of the cluster group without an impact player returning, then staying the course is the right thing to do. At worst, maybe MacT brings in another veteran D to go with the group that includes Petry, Justin Schultz, Andrew Ference and Belov (the group I imagine will be here next season from the current lineup).
DID YOU HEAR YOUR TONE?
It seems to me that for long periods during the walk through the desert 2006-13, there wasn’t much edgy coverage of the Oilers. The word rebuild seemed to be a cover for progress, and that cover was blown when Craig MacTavish whispered sweet nothings in our ear last spring. I think there’s a real danger on the horizon, and that comes from not allowing the new GM and coach to go through a period of adjustment as they set the roster and the players get used to the new ways.
An article like this one reflects what the fanbase is thinking this year, and the edge is there (“looks like the Edmonton Oilers are OK as long as they don’t have to play anyone good”) in a way I don’t recall seeing from many of Edmonton’s media during that 2006-13 period. Maybe I’m wrong, but the knives seem to be growing quickly on the MacT/Eakins duo, and frankly I don’t understand it. Perhaps it’s me creating this scenario in my own mind, I’d love your input.
Well, he did it again. Sam Gagner has to be the absolute champion for “also in photo” appearances this season for the Edmonton Oilers. We knew he wasn’t a gifted defensive player, but there were small signs of progress along the way; however, Shawn Horcoff’s heavy lifting clearly gave us a false impression of young Samwise as a center. He’s not able to play the position without the puck, and last night continued this incredible group of snapshots where brain freeze led to goal against.
This is a tough thing now, folks. Gagner is a big part of the cluster from what we know, and I’m fairly certain the idea is to proceed with him as part of the group. However, keeping him in the middle is costly, and moving him out of town at value impossible (if we see it, other NHL teams sure as hell see it).
What’s the solution? Endeavor to persevere. And move him to wing.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
10 this morning, TSN 1260, the joint will be rocking! Scheduled to appear:
- Alan Hull, Copper and Blue. We’ll talk about how much time Dallas Eakins has if things continue this way.
- Matt Henderson, Hockeybuzz. We’ll talk about last night’s game and what the Oilers can do right now to improve the team.
- Jeff Krushell, Krush Performance. The difficult story of Ryan Freel.
10-1260 via text, @Lowetide_ on twitter.