Our Edmonton Oilers are walking into Vancouver tonight in the midst of a paradigm-shifting journey for the ages but the adventure is not without its doubts…
- Are these Oilers for real?
- When will the other shoe drop?
I struggle with these queries as well and I don’t think you should be ashamed or feel any less of a fan if these questions float around in your head each time the Oilers play too. 10 years of losing, non-playoff hockey, and the scores of “sure-fire” NHL prospects gone down the drain, there should be some lingering feelings.
I really want to believe that this team is good now but I have to force myself to wait until at least game 20. That seems to be the benchmark in which the wise have chosen and I cannot argue with that. We don’t know how this team will react to an injury to a major player like Connor McDavid, Adam Larsson, or Cam Talbot. Nor do we know if the team can pick itself up if the goaltending does come back to Earth. Can the team afford a blip in the radar?
The Canucks are next and I really feel like this is another test for the team. A test the boys have failed once already this season. Remember the Buffalo game? How could you forget? Jack Eichel and Evander Kane were injured so it was supposed to be a gimme for the Oilers, right? Not so much said the hockey gods.
Well, Chris Tanev and Alexandre Burrows are out for the Canucks tonight. Not that either of them are equivalent to Eichel and/or Kane but they are still important pieces for Vancouver, Tanev more so than Burrows these days. But this is still a dangerous team in my opinion and they shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Loui Eriksson was signed to flank the Sedins and create a sort of Swedish super line but he has yet to score, so he’s going to be hungry and you know that coach Willie Desjardin is going to try his damnedest to get the Sedins on while Nurse and Gryba are out there. So, I hope that the boys are on the ball or it could be the Swedish trio eating them for dinner.
Now that’s not taking anything away from the Oilers top line of Lucic-McDavid-Eberle. In fact, that is one of the best lines in the league right now, if not THE best. We should be so lucky…
I’m writing this before the line-ups have been announced so I wonder if Cam Talbot gets the rest tonight and Jonas Gustavsson gets a start? Jim Matheson seems to think that the Swede will get his 1st start in Detroit on the latter half of the Oilers’ first back-to-back (Isles/Red Wings) early in November. I wouldn’t take out Talbot if I were McLellan though. Stay with the hot hand and Talbot’s is one of the hottest in the league right now.
Would you take out Puljujarvi and stick Slepyshev back in though? Some have said Pulju’s best game was versus the Capitals but I’m not so sure. He had his moments but if we were comparing him to the likes of Auston Matthews, Patrik Laine, William Nylander, or Mitch Marner, I’d say he’s still got a ways to go. It’s a shame really, it really seems like the team is hell bent on forcing this kid into the league. Not that 3rd line minutes is a bad spot to be in for a rookie, I’m just thinking they could do better with him. Then again, maybe they’re waiting on Drake Caggiula? Who knows? I just don’t see the harm in a 5 game stint down in Bakersfield for the grinning Finn.
WHAT I’D LIKE TO SEE
- A couple of more points for RNH. It was great to see him chalk up a couple of apples vs. Washington, now how about a goal against Vancouver whilst shutting down the Sedins?
- Jake Virtanen and Darnell Nurse drop the mitts. It’s time for Jakey-boy to finally atone for that hit at the rookie showcase tourney in Penticton on McDavid last year.
- Ryan Miller (if he’s starting) get his first loss in regulation time against Edmonton.
- Connor McDavid blow that scoring lead wide open on Auston Matthews.
- The battle between Milan Lucic and Erik Gudbranson. Should be a beauty!
The Canucks have lost three on the trot here and have score 2 or fewer goals in 5 of their last 7 games. This is a grand opportunity for the Oilers to grab some key Pacific Division points!
What are you looking forward to seeing tonight? Let us know in the comments below and maybe pick up a t-shirt in the meantime. Thanks!!