On Saturday night the Edmonton Oilers embarrassed themselves and their fan base with a dismal showing at home against the Detroit Red Wings who were playing their third game in four nights. From all accounts it was the worst outing of the season for the Oilers and the lack of effort by the team is a HUGE issue and red flag for management. The Oilers showed little in the way of a compete level and an unwillingness to play the “right way”.
There are obviously a lot of issues with this team:
They’re soft on the puck. When was the last time an Oiler won a 50-50 battle?
Turnovers are Bantom turnovers. Turnovers at either blueline , trying a toe drag just inside the offensive blueline, etc.
They simply don’t compete hard enough to win. I`ve watched other teams play and their effort level is miles beyond that of the Oilers. It’s because of these reasons, and many more, why they lose on a nightly basis.
The good news is that the team has extremely talented players, three if which were the most talented 18yr old`s in the world in their draft year They are the supreme of their draft years the best players in the WORLD at 18. The elite of the elite! The team had to finish in the basement a lot in order for this to happen but most team can`t say they have this level of talent at their disposal.
The team refuses to compete hard enough and refuses to play the “right way” but if and when they figure out to compete hard enough and to play the “right way” they will be a good(ish) team. If and only then. They have to be able to learn to do that don’t they? How can they not learn to compete really hard and to not do toe drags and not turn pucks over, etc? Shouldn’t that be attainable??? It’s gotta be easier than asking a player to see the ice like Nuge or to shoot like Yakupov doesn’t it? These are two issues that a player and a team can and should be willing to learn and develop into. And once they do…playoffs should be a lock on a yearly basis.
I get that there are other deficiencies in the team such as goaltending, the defence group and too many small forwards. I really do! In the salary cap era, ever team has deficiencies. I truly believe that even with these holes in the line up, a supremely talented forward group, who has learned to compete hard enough and that has learned to play the “right way ” is a good enough group to make the playoffs year in and year out. I`m not saying it`s good enough to win Lord Stanley`s Cup but it certainly should be good enough to make the playoffs yearly.
What does it mean if they can’t learn how to compete hard enough for the NHL and to play the game the right way? Does it mean that they don’t care enough? They’re dumb? They’re selfish? I want to believe that it doesn’t mean any of those things. I want to believe that they can and will learn to play like a winning team. I want to believe that when that happens…they will win more than they lose.
Or as Curtis says…maybe I`m just a delusional Oilers fan.
Keep the Faith!