Round two starts tonight in Anaheim as the Edmonton Oilers take on the Anaheim Ducks which looks to make for an exciting, hard hitting, action packed series that I can’t wait so see unfold. Both teams are big, aggressive and like to play a physical game. This series is pretty much the opposite of the Oilers and Sharks series where the Sharks played a passive game trying not to wake up the Oilers bigger and stronger forwards. As a fan it should make for more entertaining hockey as both teams will be pushing forward, finishing every check and trying to get under one another’s skin.
Well the Edmonton Oilers knocked off the defending Western Conference Champions and now head back to California to take on the Anaheim Ducks in round two. Sure the Sharks had some bad injuries to key players but you can only beat who is in front of you and Oilers did just that. This should be a hard-fought series against a bigger and tougher Ducks team. Both teams have size and both play a gritty style game so this could be a fantastic series for the fans to watch. I expect to see a banging and crashing series and can not wait to see it unfold!!! Here are my thoughts on the Oilers and from the first round:
Last night the Edmonton Oilers were thoroughly embarrassed 7-0 in San Jose tying the series 2-2. It started badly right from the outset. Todd Mclellan put Connor Mcdavid on the ice for a defensive zone faceoff just 15 seconds into the game where he proceeded to lose the draw and the Sharks scored just seconds later. It was all downhill from there. I’m not one to criticize N.H.L. coaching but it seems odd to put Mcdavid out early for a dzone faceoff. Just an odd choice in my opinion.
GAME DAY BITCHES!!!!! Here we go! Another day to roam around in Orange and high-five random strangers and honk my horn and drive with my car flags flapping proudly. Here we are, in the middle of April, a legit contender. Up 2-1 against the defending Champions of the West, dominating them physically, backing down from nothing, our best player doing very little in the way of offense and being led by a reclamation project and being backstopped by Glen Sather’s last favour to the Oilers.
The reality of the playoff possibility for the Oilers sunk in for me about 2 weeks ago. But last night, as it became official, joy and relief swept through my body. I have been defending Chiarelli and his moves since the beginning. The moves I liked, the moves I didn’t like, the moves I understood and the moves I didn’t understand. And now, here we are.
Since the transition to the Bob Nicholson era, things have been heading in the right direction. The hiring of an experienced GM coupled with an experienced head coach was a signal that the Oilers were going to do things the right way. A statement by the new CEO that everything hockey would report to him. McTavish and Lowe are still in the wings and while at times their fingerprints are visible on some of the moves that are made, the reigns have clearly been turned over.
Halfway through last season I wrote a blog about changing the culture of the team and it looks as though Chiarelli and McLellan have done that through trades, expectations and most of all – winning. We don’t need to re-hash the trades and the moves. There were some winners and there were some losers. But, they all came together to make the recipe that is a team going to the playoffs. Some difficult decisions were made and there was some blood shed, but here we are, on the way to the 2nd season.
Since coming off a bad weekend 8 games ago, the Oilers have really stepped on the gas. After dropping that 4-1 to Montreal, they Oilers have posted an impressive 7-1 record, including 3 games where they scored 7. We haven’t seen a stretch like this since 39 was patrolling the middle. It is perfect timing and the Oilers are picking up steam at the right time. With two games left against San Jose and one against Anaheim, their fate rests solely in the hands of the Oilers. The remaining 3 games are against bottom feeders LA and Vancouver and should be winnable games. Even if they finish 0.500 – they will still have finished the season with an impressive 10-4 record. Calgary has a similar finish to the season as does Anaheim and San Jose. So, it will come down to the interdivision games that make up the next week and a half. Trying to predict who will finish where is a difficult task and no matter how it shakes out, it will be a difficult road.
Hot Talbot, the League’s top scorer and 4 lines that are all chipping in…anything is possible. In 2006 I had one mantra that I said over and over in the dying days of the season and the first couple of playoff games – Believe! Believe in this team until they give you a reason not to.
Last night in Anaheim the Edmonton Oilers played arguably their biggest game of the season. Stud goalie Cam Talbot had a rough night but no one should go hard on him as he has been a horse this year and played well almost every night. He’s allowed to have an off night. The real reason the Oilers lost , in my opinion, is because they decided not to gap up…on every single goal. Let’s break it down goal by goal.