Get on Board or Get the Hell Out! Oilers Lead Pacific Division

Oilers

I’m not a huge fan of road trips when it comes to the Oilers. Not because they are usually a recipe for extended losing streaks but those games are right bloody early in the AM Taiwan time… Ranging from 3am to 7am. I’m sure there are other countries with worse time differences and I feel bad for you too.

The result is that I have to steer clear of all forms of media online because watching a game whilst knowing the result is just a waste of time. I’d much rather go to the trouble of meandering through the links online to get to my feed on NHL Gamecenter.

So, I’ve been having to catch up on the games this past 7 days or so. My thoughts:

Nov.1st vs. The Maple Leafs

The Maple Leafs did a fine job of shutting down the Oilers’ top line. Was Kadri being a dick the whole night? Yes. Was that his job? Again, yes. Who wasn’t doing their job in that game? Perhaps Lucic, Maroon, or Zack Kassian. I agree with Don Cherry on this one, Nazem Kadri shouldn’t have been able to touch McDavid after that scrum behind the net that left McDavid chuckling.

It was a 3-2 OT loss, so going away with at least one point was a plus, not having Matthews, Marner or Nylander embarrass them, and seeing Klefbom, Puljujarvi, and Nurse walk away from the game with a combined 21 shots was tight.

Nov.3rd vs. The Rangers

The Rangers are making a mockery of some of the best teams in the league, so for the Oilers to hang in there until there was about 90 seconds left is a testament to the team they’ve become. Sure Benning took a lot of shit for that bobble that led to the go-ahead goal but Milan Lucic better have bought the team dinner after that failed assignment in front of the net.

Nov.5th and 6th vs. The Islanders and Red Wings

Back-to-backs on the road rarely end up with the away team picking up all four points unless you’ve been coming through Alberta the past few years. I will say this about these two match-ups, I left feeling less than impressed. Both games were pretty low scoring but both games also saw some dynamite saves from Cam Talbot and Jonas Gustavsson.

The Islanders game saw the Oilers go down with mass casualties, so that didn’t help their cause but it made the win taste a bit sweeter. The Islanders are a mess right now, a hot tire fire of a mess. I couldn’t help but think it wasn’t an Oilers season if the star rookie didn’t go down with a blown out knee after Seidenberg decided to clip the Finn…

As for last night’s game against the Wings, Tyler Pitlick man. He looked facking beauty alongside Lucic and Draisaitl. His forechecking really played well with the heaviness of Lucic and the playmaking of Leon. I also thought Jordan Eberle had a fantastic game. That setup of Maroon in the slot was the things dreams are made of. I’m sure Patty is on for the next round of beers after that miss.

A question, why is Anton Slepyshev never in the conversation as a player that could spend some time on McDavid’s wing instead of automatically sticking Puljujarvi up there or talking about acquiring a winger? The Russian has got speed and size, he’s gritty, and he can shoot the puck… Just a thought.

But one player stood out for both games and he’s actually been standing out for some time, that player being Darnell Nurse.

Good lord has he taken the next step in his development. His skating is smooth and his stride is powerful. His shot is getting on the net. His hockey IQ is really coming along as he’s picking his spots much better this season. I think he’ll end up in the top 4 by the end of the year with maybe Kris Russell taking his spot on the bottom pairing.

PITLICK/HALL/YAKUPOV

Tyler Pitlick – 4 goals
Taylor Hall – 5 goals
Nail Yakupov – 2 goals

What universe are we in where a 4th liner, in Edmonton no less, is keeping pace with two former first overall picks?

Hall failed to put up a point in the Devils shellacking of Carolina yesterday and has now gone 5 games without scoring a goal. Was a solid -1 though.

Yakupov has been a healthy scratch two games in a row now for the Blues. This after their coach said he’d be back in on Sunday… I imagine Igor Larionov is getting ready to pay Blues GM Doug Armstrong a visit soon. I mean if you’re going to bring a guy along slowly, it doesn’t get any slower than having him sit in the pressbox while your team dismantles the Colorado Avalanche to the tune of 5-1.

BONES TO PICK

Where are all the fans who were crying about Lucic’s non-production now? Where are all the fans who wanted Jordan Eberle traded after last week? Are the ones who were convinced the Oilers would lose the “scheduled loss” last night with Jonas Gustavsson in net still around?

There’ve been some unsavory streaks broken this year as well. Wasn’t Ryan Miller undefeated in regular time vs Edmonton up until the Oilers beat Vancouver? That win versus the Islanders was their first on Islanders ice since 1999. Jimmy Howard  was 13-1-2 with a 1.96 GAA and a .926 sv% against the Oilers before last night and the Oilers hadn’t beat the Red Wings in Detroit since 2009.

Am I leaving anything out?

If you haven’t noticed, this season is not going to be like any other season the Oilers have had in the previous ten years. This year you need to expect the unexpected.

Did you expect Anton Lander to be playing as well as he has?
Did you expect Tyler Pitlick to still be healthy?
Did you think that the Oilers PK would be amongst the league’s best?
Were you expecting the Oilers to beat St.Louis and Washington?
I bet you didn’t think that Taylor Hall and Nail Yakupov were going to be moved either…
Did you reckon Adam Larsson would be as good as he’s been?

The same “fans” that were chastising the Oilers for signing Kris Russell are the same guys who shit on them for playing Matt Benning. I’d say Kris Russell had a huge hand in the Oilers starting the season the way they did and Matt Benning has played very well since being recalled considering his rookie status. Like am I missing something, can I have my cake and eat it too or is the world still round? Oilers win two games w/o Russell and w/Benning, so what…

THE SKY IS FALLING!! SOME PLAYERS ARE PLAYING WELL AND THAT’S TAKING ME OUT OF MY COMFORT BUBBLE. THE NUMBERS TOLD ME THEY’D CRAP THE BED AND IF I DON’T BELIEVE WHAT THE PDO GODS ARE TELLING ME, WHAT AM I TO DO?…

Yet there are still people out there that don’t believe in this team and paid writers who continue to deny what’s going on. Now, I can’t be sure if those writers are genuine in their online musings because I know of writers past who made a pretty good living being contrarians. It’s a dishonest way to go about life but hey, who am I to judge. I’m not sure what it will take for the cynics to get on board but maybe they should stay where they are on Pessimistic Ave. The numbers tell me they’ll be happier there and watching McDavid tells me I’ll be happier where I am.

Click the pic and grab a 16-bit McDavid tee!
Click the pic and grab a 16-bit McDavid tee!
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!

  • RobbiesDad

    I think for those of us that were optimistic about the changes that were made over the summer, its a lot easier to accept what we are seeing at face value. But for anyone who saw the lineup on opening night and figured this season was going to be a write off, its going to take some time; NHL history is full of examples of teams went on tears for 13 or even 20+ games before falling back to earth. (remember when the train wreck that was the 2009-2010 Oilers set the franchise record for the best road trip ever?)

    Moreover, the Oilers are a bit of special case because over the past six years something in the neighborhood of every hockey fan alive has at least once predicted that Oilers would get better that year only to be very wrong; most Oilers fans predicted this multiple times. To quote Aesop “this shows how liars are rewarded: even if they tell the truth, no one believes them”.

  • Marc Porter

    Screw the armchair GMs who have since gone silent and are watching the Oil make them eat crow, who needs the band wagon jumpers anyway.