Basically the video clip below of Matt Hendricks getting his nuts shot off versus the Dallas Stars is a symbol of the season to date for the Edmonton Oilers. As a fan I’ve felt disgusted at times, I’ve felt embarrassed at others, I’ve felt jubilation, and I’ve felt sympathetic.
The Oilers are, and always will be, my team. No matter how many other teams I’ve cheered for in my life (Edmonton from birth, Pittsburgh in the early 90’s, Detroit in the mid-late 90’s, Toronto in the early 2000’s, back to Pittsburgh after Crosby was drafted, and then back to the Oilers since Hall was drafted) I have never been able to veer far away from this team. Sure, when I was younger I hopped on the bandwagon a few times but I liked winners, who can blame me? But as I grew older I felt the need to go back to my roots and cheer for the team that gave me this passion for the game I find myself with. I almost feel a duty to be loyal to them no matter their place in the standings. It’s a very odd feeling to tell you the truth. I’m compelled to dedicate a small portion of my life to this team and I can’t really tell you why. It just is.
Anyways, I suppose we should get into some actual Oilers talk. Let’s start with MY choice for Oilers captain, Matt Hendricks.
I watched that and immediately a couple of sound effects came into my head, a bell being rung and the sound of a tree falling slowly… OUCH! Teddy Purcell looks like he’s going to puke and if you watch Kari Lehtonen’s face as Hendricks walks past him, he can hardly contain himself… Now I’ve got a pretty sick sense of humor and there’s definitely a part of me that finds a man getting hit in the balls funny but boy oh boy this time I didn’t laugh at all.
The way that the Oilers have been hit by injuries this season has been something out of an 80’s horror movie and with Hendricks going down there and Brandon Davidson leaving the game as well, I couldn’t imagine things getting worse. It’s as if the hockey gods have some sort of hit list this season.
Friend of the blog, Ryan Robinson’s latest vlog touches on this injury crisis the Oilers are going through below.
I think that Mr.Robinson makes some great points but there’s one that I vehemently disagree with and that is the one about being a homer. A person who believes that if their team got better calls or better breaks, luck if you will, they would win every game…
My impression is that Robinson is saying that if Eberle didn’t start the year on the IR, McDavid didn’t break his collarbone, Yakupov didn’t sprain his ankle, Klefbom didn’t break his finger and/or get a staph infection in his leg, that this record the Oilers currently find themselves mired in (19-26-5) would be exactly the same.
That, my friend, is a load of BS. And if you believe that they’d be equally is infertile on the ice sans those injuries, you’re delusional.
I do agree though that through mismanagement that Chiarelli has been forced to put players in situations where they shouldn’t be in. Darnell Nurse comes to mind first and foremost as we’re seeing this future stud blue-liner get overwhelmed on a nightly basis. Draisaitl has been able to hold his own a lot better in my opinion, he’s still putting points up and he doesn’t look outmatched every time the Oilers hit the ice.
I’m more perplexed as to what Todd McLellan is doing with his deployments on D. Nurse and Schultz continue to eat the majority of the TOI pie and they’re getting shelled because of it. If we know that this is more likely to happen than not, why do we put those players in that position if there are better players available? Fayne and Sekera are playing fine hockey recently, why aren’t they getting 20+ minutes a night and Nurse/Schultz getting 15-16 minutes per night?
Do you think that Chiarelli is set to die on this hill of young dmen? Meaning if the Oilers dealt Fayne and Schultz and went with Klefbom, Nurse, Davidson, Reinhart, Gryba and then added one more, is that his plan? Perhaps he’s more willing to tinker with the forwards at this point… I can’t blame him either. How many games have they failed to show up?
Here’s the thing, the Oilers are dead last in scoring from the blue line. That needs to be rectified. Whoever told Justin Schultz that he needs to become a more “rounded” defenceman should be shot. He was producing points before and now he’s not. So if Jultz isn’t going to put points up from the blue, somebody has to be brought in to do it.
My suggestions are:
Kevin Shattenkirk – The Blues are looking for scoring help… Eberle comes to mind here.
Sami Vatanen – The Ducks are absolutely loaded on the back-end with young defenders.
Draft Day Trade
Tyson Barrie – He’s a longshot and I think the Avs will eventually sign the RFA but his skill set and age are a fit for the Oilers.
Shea Weber – These Oilers need a caretaker, an overseer, and yeah Weber’s contract is obtuse; he’s still an effective NHL defenseman. Could the Oilers trade out their first rounder if NSH gets bounced early in the playoffs or fails to make them?
Anton Stralman/Victor Hedman – Tampa has their hands tied with Stamkos and Drouin, Kucherov and Namestnikov. That’s just this year. In the upcoming seasons they’re going to have to decide on Ben Bishop/Andrei Vasilevskiy, Hedman, Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat. To me this is a team that is prime for the picking.
Some far out suggestions but never underestimate a guy who traded Phil Kessel and Tyler Seguin. The team needs a shakeup and I really believe that at the start of the 2016-17 season there’s going to be a significant Oiler plying his trade in another jersey.
Lowetide went on a similar rant recently here.
Oilers Skills competition
I didn’t get a chance to watch the competition live so I caught up with it on the Oilers website. Certainly a few suprises eh?
- The hardest shot competition was something! Wow to Team Orange who had three players shoot over 100mph! I wonder if they might start using Iiro’s shot a bit more on the PP?
- Iiro Pakrinen – 103.4mph
- Benny Pouliot – 102.1mph
- Rob Klinkhammer – 102.6mph
- The fastest skater belongs to Hallsy (14.132 sec)… Oddly enough the all-time record in this competition belongs to Jonathan Drouin… (13.103 sec). I think we’ll have to wait until Nashville to see if anybody really turns it on.
- Connor McDavid and Mark Letestu teamed up to win the accuracy contest over Teddy Purcell and Jordan Eberle. So a triumphant return for McJesus! Let’s hope he can keep it going when he returns on Feb.2nd versus the Columbus Blue Jackets.
I think that is all for today. What are your thoughts on the Oilers defense going forward or the skills competition? Let me know in the comments section below!
We’re going to have some great posts coming up at Beer League Heroes during this nine-day break so stay tuned for that!