#FireTheMall: Bring on the Oilers’ Decade of Darkness v2.0 I Guess

The sky is falling in the Oilogosphere!!! Emotions are running wild brotha!

Peter Chiarelli went on the record yesterday saying he’s “Generally disappointed” with how the Oilers are sitting in the standings at the moment. What do you reckon he’s going on about? Does it mean that he expected a regression in the standings but perhaps not to this extent? And what does THAT even mean? November wasn’t a great month for the Oilers last year was it and October was a bad year this year but the boys are close to .500 for this November…

Moral of the story: Progression rarely goes in a straight line…

But here a portion of the Oilers fanbase are crying to anybody that will listen that the GM and coach that took this team out of the decade of darkness are putting us back in.

Give your heads a shake if this is your attitude. Seriously, it’s crybaby bullshit!

There are 61 games left in the year for Edmonton and all the Oilers have to do is find a way to be in the top three in the Pacific division by regular season’s end. I mean do you really think that the Vegas Golden Knights are going to be in 2nd place in the Pacific in March? Or are the Vancouver Canucks going to end up with a better record than the Oilers? Will the LA Kings be able to sustain their current pace? And as If Mike Smith is going to be able to stay healthy long enough to see Calgary into the post-season.

Now, I will admit that the Oilers could’ve done without the following:

  • Poor starts from Klefbom and Benning
  • Playing 10 games vs the Metro division (more Eastern conference matchups are a coming…)
  • Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle lighting it up in the oh so important months of October and November in light of the Oilers bottom 6 not doing its share of the scoring.
  • The special teams going to shit for the 2nd year in a row early on.

That said, the Oilers are showing to be a much better team in the fancies but simply not getting the bounces (according to chart master Sean Tierney). I find it funny that the more vocal fancy stat guys have gone quiet since the Oilers are showing well there but not so much in the traditional stats. Do they just appear when they feel the need to slag the team or am I missing something? I mean it’s completely possible that I’m missing their work too. I reckon Sean Tierney is the only one that has been in the Oilers corner from that community to date but like I said, there’s probably somebody else that I’ve just glossed over.

Speaking of traditional stats, Woodguy has mentioned this recently but the Oilers are without 3 of their top 5 goal scorers from last season at the 18 game mark (he used the 20 game mark). Jordan Eberle, Tyler Pitlick, and Benoit Pouliot.

This is a very fair comment from Darcy but I wonder, have the Oilers picked up the slack in those players’ absence?

They have.

The trio or Eberle/Pouliot/Pitlick combined for 13 goals only. Nuge and Strome alone are at 11 goals. Toss in say Adam Larsson (a stay-at-home defender) and you’ve equaled the departed trio. VOILA! Magic!

In fact, the top ten from last year compared to the top ten from this season is only a goal better… ONE GOAL BETTER!!!

Not only that but the team isn’t the worst scoring team in the NHL anymore, that distinction belongs to Benoit Pouliot’s Buffalo Sabres.

I’m not sure why McLeod decided to use that stat as a point of concern though. It’s far too easy to refute it and that’s not Woodguy’s style.

The players have to be held accountable as well and I think it’s f*cking mad that people are calling for McLellan’s head (I have been questioning his decisions lately too but still, I don’t want him fired) or blaming Chiarelli for this.

BLAMING HIM FOR WHAT for that matter?

 

Shoring up the defense because Anton Belov and Nikita Nikitin weren’t the answers? Adding size because the team needed to get bigger in the Pacific division in order to compete? Adding players who weren’t jaded by years of losing to spark that dressing room a bit? Did Bob Nicholson really do that poor of a job when he selected Peter Chiarelli to turn the team around?

Did Chiarelli really sacrifice scoring though? Hall had 20 goals last year, Milan Lucic had 23… Looks like scoring got better there. Eberle has 7 goals this year, RNH has 8 so far. Nope! Seems like everything is all honky dory replacing those goals.

Honestly people!

And even though Darnell Nurse’s name has been popping up in trade rumors since Chiarelli was hired, he’s refused to trade the stud and now I think it’s safe to say that Darnell Nurse is a top-4 defenceman. I think Nurse has done a fine job at minding the shop while Sekera has been out. In fact, we might have the best young shutdown pairing in the NHL with Larsson and Nurse. If not, then the meanest for sure!

As for the team, the Oilers have to jump four teams in the Pacific to make it into a playoff spot today. They need a grand total of 5 points… FIVE!!! Four to be on par.

“Well, American Thanksgiving is coming and that’s the date in which you have to be in a playoff spot in order to have the best chances of playing post-season hockey… Dar…” 

There is actual evidence for the above statement so I don’t have issues with that but it’s the black or white nature fans make of it that pisses me off. As if a team couldn’t make the playoffs if they didn’t fall within the parameters of the comment is ludicrous.

Every year one or two teams do it just as every year one or two teams are terrible right from the get-go and one or two teams are unbeatable (figuratively speaking) for the whole year.

Going into the Dallas game I’m feeling very optimistic. I think it’ll be a low-scoring game because that’s how the Oilers play it on the road and Hitchcock teams hate offense. The Stars are riding a wonderful 3-game losing streak and a win versus them would close the gap on the aforementioned playoff spot. To add to that optimism, I’ve heard that the Stars are starting Kari Lehtonen. HOORAY!

To make things clear, I don’t believe that every fan should have the same point of view, that’d be boring. But I do believe that if you support a team, that you do some whole-heartedly and to me, that means every aspect of the team including the playing staff, the coaches, and the GM. Criticism is absolutely fine until it turns into you thinking you could do a better job than the person being critiqued can.

You know, Even when the Oilers were in the Decade of Darkness and I couldn’t stand watching Taylor Hall turn the puck over time and time again or not stick up for a teammate, when Jordan Eberle couldn’t buy a goal or when Justin Schultz would Jultz. I wanted them all out and I cursed the living daylights out of them but I still cheered when they scored because it meant something good for my team.

I’m sure that’s where most of the fans’ hearts are but a fan supports his/her team and everything about it because things could be worse… A lot worse… Like Buffalo Sabres worse…

Rant over. Fin!

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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!