Jan 082010


Wow, did I have to put up with a brutal night last night. I am not sure which pain was worse. The pain that comes after the freezing wears off after having a wisdom tooth extracted and tooth next to it getting drilled and rebuilt or the pain of having to endure the Edmonton Oilers play their game against an equally inept Columbus Blue Jackets team.

Let’s face it. There are some serious issues with this version of the Edmonton Oilers. What team, (a) knowing their golfing weekend had been cancelled due to lack of effort, (b) having to deal with wives/girlfriends who were looking forward to going to warm California and are probably pissed at them, (c) wanting to prove that they were better than they had been playing and thus making the upcoming mini-camp a little easier on themselves, comes out against an equally bad team who hadn’t won on the road for 13 games and lays an egg like the Oilers did last night. I am sorry to say that the 4 day mini-camp that starts today is not going to make one bit of difference. They might (just might) win the first game or 2 afterwards but the last 37 games will be back to normal.

The team proved last night it doesn’t have the leadership to take this team forward. The leadership on this team clearly showed last night that they don’t have the heart, soul, want or desire to make this team better. Leaders, like Mark Messier, would take the team on his shoulders and show the rest of the team the want, desire and way they needed to play the game. He would also make that you followed his example or you paid the price. The Oilers get none of that from any of the guys who wear the “C” or the “A”. And, the guys not wearing those letters are either too small, too young and inexperienced or not talented enough to lead this team; at least at the present time.

So what did the team do last night besides lose the game 4-2. Did I mention that the Blue Jackets were on a 13 game road losing streak. It is the second time in a couple of weeks that the 15th place Oilers played the 14th place team and got their butts handed to them. The Oilers were outshot 29-26 and only blocked 6 shots compared to the Jacket’s 19. They had 11 giveaways and I am sure that was being generous. It is not hard getting outshot when the opposition blocks a third of your attempts (means the shooter isn’t paying attention to where they are shooting), miss the net with another third of their attempts leaving only one third of their shots hitting the target. Not acceptable and it won’t win you many games. The hits they made were half hearted and weren’t made to punish the opposition.

Is it possible that the Oilers had the right players before but just got rid of them for one reason or another. Columbus had 4 ex-Oilers in the line-up last night with three of them getting a point each and being a combined plus 2 and the other got the win in net. 2 of those players also combined for 10 blocked shots…4 more than the entire Oilers team.

So what is the mini-camp the next 4 days going to accomplish? At this point of the year does it matter? I am as big a fan as the next Oiler fan and it bugs me to see them lose but they are at a point now that maybe it is time to clean house. Get rid of players not performing, buy out contracts of those you can’t get rid of and look at how the rest of the players play as they earn jobs for next year. This will also give the coaching staff a better idea of what the young guys can do and where they fit into next years plans. A mini-camp at this time of the year is useless. If the players haven’t don’t know what to do by this point of the season then maybe they should be looking for new professions. If I went through the motions at my job for half a year I surely wouldn’t be employed. It is time to clean house on the Oiler team and build for the future. Putting a run together like they did a couple of years ago and missing the playoffs is the worse thing that could happen to this team long term. Most Oiler fans would be happy with finishing last if it meant getting a player to build this team around. It worked for the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Chicago Black Hawks, why can’t it work for us?

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