The Oilers should’ve had this one tonight. The Canucks were without Dan Hamhuis, Chris Tanev, Ryan Miller, and Alex Burrows. Not only that but there was something going on with Henrik Sedin all night as he wouldn’t sit on the bench and was constantly standing between shifts. Edmonton’s only excuse was a lack of concentration. I heard turkey legs a couple of times during the Hockey Night in Canada broadcast but come on, these are professional hockey players not bar stool heroes.
I’d say the game was fairly close with each team really only having one line really buzzing. The Horvat line for the Canucks was constantly causing issues for Edmonton and Letestu’s line for the Oilers was giving the Canucks fits. Hall and Draisaitl showed glimples as did the Sedins but ultimately neither groups dominated wholly.
Coach McLellan said that he thought there were about five or six players that pulling the team down anchor-wise in tonights post-game interviews. Yikes! Let’s take a guess as to who those players where…
It’s days like these when you left wondering where the hell the likes of Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Benny Pouliot were. Nikitin was playing like absolute dog shit. Is the team in such dire straits that he is still an option? Seeing Mark Fayne get walked by Bo Horvat left my side in a stitch too. Justin Schultz had a mind-boggling 27 minutes on the ice. Has he got friends in high places or what? I mean how is his play this season let alone the past three seasons warranting so much ice time?
Where the response was when Cam Talbot got smoked by Adam Cracknell? Check it out below.
The flames of the rumors of Kassian to the Oilers were fanned that much more when Elliotte Friedman commented on the rumor during the 2nd intermission. I for one welcome the likes of a rehabilitated Zack Kassian to an Oilers roster that lacks unpredictability and toughness and I touched on it here. Surely he’d have found someone to tune in on the Canucks just to send the message that running the goalie is a regrettable path to take.
I find Luke Gazdic to be the nicest tough guy in the league and the lesser of the two regarding talent. Kassian is signed for the rest of the year at $2M (AAV $1.75M) and at that price point and given Chiarelli’s interest in him when he was with the Bruins, he looks like he could be a fit for the team. If Ben Scrivens (I’ve heard he’s in Edmonton right now awaiting the lifting of the roster freeze) is the rumored return, the Oilers would save a little cash as well. Elliotte Friedman talks about it in the clip below (skip to the 2:30 mark).
They touch on trading RNH again… Look, it’s my opinion that you cannot deal the Nuge unless you’re getting a significant piece in return AND a serviceable veteran center. Or you have another deal lined up to get said center. You cannot leave the no.1 and no.2 center positions at the feet of two players that have yet to hit 21 years old. Yes, the Oilers need defence but Chiarelli mustn’t deal his best defensive forward until he knows what he has in McDavid and Draisaitl.
But in knowing that, you can never say never. The Nordiques had Lindros, Sundin, and Nolan at one point and dealt them all. The way things are going for Nuge and Yak, I can def. see them moving on at some point as well. Later rather than sooner though.
Next up… The Flames. The Oilers HAVE to win this. If they drop another two points I think it’ll be tough for them to stay in the race for that final playoff spot because it’s LA and Anaheim after Calgary. I know McDavid will be back soon and so will Klefbom and Yakupov but they’re not going to be 100% for another couple weeks. Ideally they should be able to step into the lineup and contribute not be the focal point of the team’s success or lack thereof.