The Edmonton Oilers aren’t making it easy for him.
Saturday’s game at Rogers Place was certainly entertaining. No one should ask for their money back. But if you cut it down to the business of winning, it was once again short of “good enough,” a 3-2 O/T loss.
And at this point in the season, it’s fair to say that this result sums up the Oilers’ season to date: “Not good enough,” neither the performance nor the roster.
That and more in this edition of…
9. Connor McDavid’s helping out on saturday night was his 193rd professional helper of Power Play. That’s one far from Marcos Messier for the 3rd More on franchise history.
8. Even more impressive is the #500 attendee list. In NHL history, wayne gretzky he was the fastest at that mark with 352 games. mario lemieux is 2North Dakota it was 433. Peter Stastny was #3 in 507. bobby orr #4 with 522. And Connor McDavid brackets 5the at 527. Very good company.
7. Two Oilers trades on Saturday: justin bailey signed a 1-year, two-way deal with Edmonton, then cleared waivers and was assigned to Bakersfield. Bailey will join james hamblin it was shipped the same day. Bailey offers something rare on the Oilers: a 6’4, 214LB winger who can skate and shoot. Hamblin exceeded my expectations but is still “deep”.
6. It’s a shame the Oilers couldn’t get a win for Stuart Skinner on Saturday. The guy was fantastic once again, stopping 43 of 46. If you consider this season without the performances Skinner has delivered, the picture isn’t pretty. He’s starting to make the case for Calder’s votes and it’s probably the best story this Oilers season not named McDavid.
5. Evander Kane he may be less than three weeks away from returning to action. That’s way ahead of schedule. And what a blessing that would be. The Oilers have a lot of ability. But Kane brings a combination of elements: skill, a shooter’s mentality, aggression and swagger. He might suggest that the last two are items the club badly needs. Will you be back in time for that Columbus game on the 25th?the? Circle the date.
4. Colorado appeared to win two out of three disc races on Saturday. I get it… Colorado is fast. But then why only play a fast and aggressive game? Dylan Holloway only 7:54. I like Jay Woodcroft a lot. But his handling of Holloway continues to baffle me. Woodcroft often says that his staff prides itself on using the real-time information that players give them. Well, in a game where the Avs gave up completely, Edmonton 5v5 Holloway led the team in 5v5 CF at 58%, one of 2 Oilers over 50%. the other was derek ryan.
3. Connor McDavid has been selected to go to the 2023 NHL All Star Game. It makes complete sense. But Leon Draisaitl It hasn’t been and will need a fan vote to enter. It does not make any sense. No disrespect to the player from each team that was selected. This will be important to them and their families. I am happy for them. But this approach is similar to having bobby orr in the All-Star game in the 70s but not Phil Esposito in its heyday. EITHER wayne gretzky but not jari kuri in his prime. It’s an all-star game, guys. Just choose the best. Don’t you think the NBA sends out the best to promote their game? Don’t you think that’s what most fans want? Honestly, sometimes the NHL can’t get out of its own way.
2. My hockey cult colleagues david staples Y Bruce McCurdy recently weighed in on how SportsNet has an annoying habit of missing matchups. agreed. After all, the tie dictates possession every turn. I like the talent in broadcasts. jack michaels he’s a frontline play-by-play man. louie debrush it’s a near-perfect fit for the Edmonton market. gene prince He is uniquely talented and entertaining. I don’t know if people appreciate how hard it is to do what Gene does. And the panels are solid too. If I were consulting this stream, I would share with the Producers two tips I was once given that have served many broadcasters for decades: 1) Get to the point, and 2) Edit. The sooner you start, the sooner you will finish. And don’t get into four things when three is enough.
1. I can think of worse things for the Edmonton Oilers than taking a single point from a head-to-head overtime loss to the defending Stanley Cup champions. However, a total of 3rd The period effort to close out a game you lead 2-0 at home against battered opposition shouldn’t be too much to ask. But it works in this case? The question was too big. Is that criticism a bit harsh? It may be so. But the facts are the facts. And the facts are that Oilers Power Play and Stuart Skinner were the two reasons the Oilers managed to save that point. In 5v5, the home team was getting a bag of speed. The Oilers didn’t even register a single Grade A scoring opportunity with even force until Jay Woodcroft rallied Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Zach Hyman midway through the third quarter. However, that tactic was employed too late. The cavalry simply ran out of track. and gasoline
Until the Oilers can bring home games like this, the jury is out on how far this club can go. The regular season is now halfway through. This is a significant sample. Most of the wounds are healed. This is probably close to what the Edmonton Oilers really are. It’s hard to argue that they deserve a better record. And all this should be a signal to the General Manager. The roster needs help to get to the next level. And he looks: I am a ken holland ventilator. Since coming to Edmonton, Holland has proven many detractors wrong. The club has reached the postseason in all three of their seasons and they reached the Final 4 last year. In short, Ken Holland has acquired good players and kept them. I see no evidence that he missed the fastball that helped win those Cups in Detroit.
In the age of the cap system, Ken may need to start mixing up a slider and changeup to get this stick to the top. He will have to be willing to take the bait before the players don’t win their contracts. He’ll need to make some money (even when Kane returns) to create the space he needs. And he’ll probably have to part with some picks and/or prospects to bring in the pieces this team needs. Yes, “pieces”, plural. After Saturday, does anyone think he’s a player away?
And the time is now. As Jay Woodcroft said the other day…it’s 2023. McDavid and Draisaitl’s contracts won’t last any longer. Patience has been a virtue of Ken Holland’s time here. And that has been underestimated in Edmonton. But having lost 6 of their last 7 at home, where the matchups should be in their favour, 4 of them 2-goal leads that went “poof” and this club held on for a wild card spot…
…perhaps the time has come for some of that patience to run out?
Find me on Twitter @KurtLeavins, on Instagram at LeavinsOnHockey and now on Mastodon at KurtLeavins@mstdn.social
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