Dumb and Dumber: Oilers vs Canucks post game wrap up


Tonight’s game featured the comically miserable brand of Oilers defense we all know and love from the last 2 years. Constant turnovers. Blind passes out of the corner straight to the middle of the ice where the opposition were left all alone for easy goals. Fumbled passes. Inability to clear the puck from the defensive zone while under pressure. It was all there.

The Canucks didn’t even ice their best roster and they still made the Oilers defense look like practice pylons. While the entire D squad was awful (with the exception of Justin Schultz, who played a reasonably sound game), 2 Oilers defensemen stuck out like mangled thumbs: Nikita Nikitin and Andrew Ference.

I don’t enjoy the fact that I’m about to rip on Ference after he was all over the news kicking people right in the feelz with the whole #SpiderMable thing. I think very highly of Ference and his character, and the work he has done in Edmonton’s community. He’s a stand up guy. Unfortunately, he is an anchor on the blue line, his contract makes him virtually impossible to trade, he is taking up a roster spot from guys like Nurse and Reinhart; and he’s the captain of the team.

Ference was awful all night. Getting beat on the outside, making poor decisions with the puck, and showing that perhaps his age is catching up to him. It seemed like every time I looked, Ference and his D-Partner were either in the process of turning the puck over, getting beat wide, or just leaving the ice shortly before a Canucks goal. While Ference was bad, he wasn’t Nikita Nikitin bad.

OH MY GOD. Nikitin. I don’t even know what to say. How many 2 on 1’s or breakaway chances did the Oilers give up tonight? I lost count. While not all of them were a direct result of the dynamic duo of Ference and Nikitin, a good portion of them were caused by Nikitin’s inability to play the body, skate, or do much of anything. While Nikitin’s +/- won’t show it, he had a hand in a couple of the goals against, and was directly responsible for multiple odd man chances, poor defensive plays, and all around suckage. He couldn’t keep the puck in at the blue line during an Oilers power play which directly resulted in the play going the other way, and casually skated off the ice as if to indicate it wasn’t his problem.

There isn’t much I can say about the positive side of this game, other than how incredible Hall, McDavid, and Draisaitl looked tonight. The first half of the game was magical. It seemed like every time they were on the ice, something amazing was going to happen. Unfortunately for them, Jacob Markstrom was lights out for the Canucks. He shut down the McAwesome line on all but one occasion, and was fantastic when he actually had to face an offensive threat instead of watching his team break out on yet another odd man chance. Nail Yakupov had a solid game and scored the only other Oilers goal, but for reasons known only to Todd McLellan; remained on the 3rd line despite how awful Purcell was.

The story of the game really was how terrible the Oilers defense played. Even Sekera (who started out well enough) had multiple turnovers of the disastrous variety, and Reinhart had his steady play shattered by a few himself. It was a total gong show.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the game for me personally, came when I realized that despite how dismal Ference and Nikitin were, McLellan kept them together the entire game. I started wondering if he was trying to send an SOS to Peter Chiarelli. Was this his version of a distress signal? I’ll never know, but I hope to hockey heaven we never see those two paired up again.

Random thoughts:

-Props to Virtanen for scoring a goal with his face.

-No matter how amazing your forwards are, they can’t do squat if your defense sucks

-Welcome to Edmonton, Cam Talbot. You weren’t to blame for this one.


-I don’t know what the hell got into Nuge tonight, but I like it. Little Nugey absolutely laid out Yannick Weber.

-The Oilers got worked over by a Canucks squad that didn’t even feature all of their top players. We know you can’t win them all, and it’s only preseason. However, the way the defense played tonight is alarming to say the least.

As always, thanks for reading. Feel free to leave a comment below, or argue with me on twitter here


Beer League Hero Written by:

I'm the Beer League Hero! I am from Camrose, Alberta but I make my home in Taipei City, Taiwan. I've been through the ups and downs and the highs and the Lowes, the Bonsignores and the McDavids, the Sathers and the Eakins but I'll never leave my Oilers, no matter what! They're with me until the end and then some. GO OILERS GO!

  • Bicky1

    Hope that was the only one of those this year. That defense is brutal turnovers and tape to tape passes just to the wrong team

    • Beer League Hero

      Hi Bicky1! Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment!

      You’re not wrong at all. It’s apparent the team still has a long way to go before they’re considered a playoff contender.

  • Paul

    For all the changes that were made , the defense is still terrible. The team still needs a #1 or 2 d man. This player won’t come cheap , and one of the core players will probably be the price. If they don’t do this , this coming season will be a waste. They start the season away to some very tuff well organized defensive teams who just wait for the other team to make a mistake. The new coach must know this and you have to wonder what’s going through his mind.

  • Kal

    You didn’t give Sekera enough credit for being terrible. In the first 5 minutes of the second period he had four of the worst turnovers I have ever seen. And that’s saying alot from an oilers fan. And Sekera is supposed to be one of our best defenseman!? I’ll be very interested to see how the next game goes.

    • Beer League Hero

      hey Kal! Thanks for reading and commenting!

      I think we’ll all be interested in how the next game goes and who will be lining up. Hopefully, Fayne and Klefbom at least. As Oilers fans we’re no strangers to the give away eh? Somebody order a pizza in front of the crease? you know the defence is in trouble when Mark Fayne is looked upon to shore up the D and Nikitin/Ference can’t be moved due to their ridiculous contracts (Thanks MacT and Howson!).

  • GriffCity

    Your evaluation of Ference and Nikitin last night is inaccurate. Don’t get me wrong, I agree that the two had awful years last year and neither has looked overly impressive this pre-season but last night they were far from the teams worst d-men. Reinhart stood out as being horrendously slow and made some terrible passes and plays with the puck. Sekera looked like Nikitin from last season, giveaway city. Gryba was also ineffective and made some poor passes. Oddly enough I felt Nikitin and Ference actually played decent , yet they are catching flack while others, who played worse, are somehow avoiding such harsh criticism. Merely trying to be objective here, but to my eye, your evaluation is incorrect,.

    • Beer League Hero

      Well they’re team worst 29% Corsi suggests otherwise. By the numbers they were the worst on the ice. Neither could get move the puck nor their bodies around the ice at an NHL level and it’s due time somebody realized it’s time to cut bait on these two and move on.

      Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment.