Do you remember the old Rocky movies? You know how in every huge fight that Rocky eventually wins he takes a shit kicking beforehand? Well The Edmonton Oilers you’re watching these days are akin to Rocky when he’s fighting Spider Rico in that old church in the first movie. They’re just building up to the big fight with Apollo Creed. The weird thing is for the last ten years they’ve been the Rocky from the first fight with Clubber Lang or the Apollo Creed fighting Ivan Drago. Weak. Last week.
I mean the last half of the game versus the Jets was the Oilers holding on for dear life and Cam Talbot saving their asses… Again. Being outshot nearly 3-1 and not maintaining possession for any sustained period of time after the 30 minute mark is not the way a successful team plays. Check out McLellan’s comments about the game below and tell me you’re not completely on board with what he’s selling.
Now I suppose we should be happy that the Oilers got away with another one and that’s two points in the books but you can be bloody sure that if the team continues to sell their goalies down the river that their goalies are going to lose their cool.
It’s an odd position to be in isn’t it? For years it was the team not having confidence in their goalies and now it’s the other way around.
We can’t short change the Jets here. They are a really good team and if they can find a way to resign two, if not, three of Byfuglien, Ladd, and Trouba this summer; they should be set. They’re big, fast, techincal, and very smart. If they can get their netminding sorted they could be a powerhouse in the West.
The Kingston Cannonball, The German Gretzky, and The Newfie had major success against the Jets last night. They put up eight points and 6 out of Edmonton’s 21 shots and continue to be a beacon of hope for these Oilers until Connor McDavid gets back. Did you put Purcell in your hockey pool like I told you to?
Justin Schultz scored… Yeah. I don’t know what to say about this. Good for him? It took him over 20 games to get his first goal. This has to be unacceptable by the coach’s, the GM’s, and his own standards. Yet I’m not so sure he’s all that concerned about it. When you listen to his interviews there’s a lot of “hope” and “confidence” and “lucky” being thrown around out there and I don’t buy a single word of it. I don’t want to hear about hope, I want to hear a guy say to the world that he’s going to go out there and do something like score a goal. Not, “I hope the bounces come my way and I can be lucky enough to put one in.” I think that’s a bunch of BS and it screams ZERO CONFIDENCE to me. You know what I hope for? I hope that we’re lucky enough to see Schultz pull it together so that when he’s traded the team will actually get something of value back.
How about Darnell Nurse taking that shot in the wrist and then coming back like it was nothing? I’m certain he had one or two more blocks after that. The guy is an absolute stud and I’m so jacked, unlike others, that the Oilers took him instead of Valeri Nichushkin at the 2013 draft. In his 25 minutes on the ice last night he put up four blocks, 1 shot, a hit and a roughing penalty at the end of the game after Mark Scheifele slewfooted him. Scheifele is lucky he got as little as he did, I reckon Nurse was going to make an example out of him before everyone stepped in. Although I would’ve loved to have seen Trouba and Nurse drop the mitts.
The return of Mark Fayne went largely unnoticed. Lol. That’s a good thing if you’re wondering. He went +2 on the night and not a gaff that I can think of. Good on him because that is what he is being played to do.
Lastly, the other player that I wanted to touch on was Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. He was 73% on the face-off dot, had two shots, two hits, and played over 20 minutes. That’s great because there are those out there that think he’s struggling this season and that with the emergence of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl that he should be trade bait. I am NOT one of them.
Any NHL player can have one good season, right? So at the moment we have a good idea of what we have in Leon and Connor but there’ll be a time when one or both aren’t going and if Nuge isn’t there to pick up the pace, the Oilers have trouble. We can afford to keep all three for another season at least and then if we need to, make a decision at that point. RNH is the best two-way forward on the team and is quickly emerging into one of the best in the league if not the best under 23 years of age.
We did read yesterday that Nashville is interested in him but is unwilling to move Josi, Weber, or Jones to get him. To that I say, fine. Try to go after Duchene, Stamkos, Johansen, and what ever other NHL superstar center with the conversation starting at Ryan Ellis or Mattias Ekholm. Good Luck!
So at the end of the day the Oilers sit in 2nd last place in the West three points above the Ducks but only 1 point out of a playoff spot. McDavid is skating (and shooting) again and I bet you that he’s back in the first half of January. You think the brass in Edmonton, let alone the NHL, is going to miss an opportunity to put the next great star in the all-star game? Especially one that features 3v3? Book it folks! McDavid will be back sooner rather than later.
Take Care and have a really great Christmas! Stay safe!