So did anyone expect a different result tonight? I know I didn’t. I said in the last post that the mini-camp wouldn’t be successful because the end result was the same players and the same team leadership (or lack thereof). I was right. The Nashville Predators beat the Edmonton Oilers 5-3 which was flattering to the Oilers in the end.
It appears that many of the Blue and Copper faithful are feeling the same way. I usually follow Oilers tweets on Twitter during the games and it was pretty consensual tonight that most fans didn’t expect any difference. Many had similar reasons; others were just hoping the Oilers continue losing to get the best chance at the first pick this summer in the NHL entry draft.
If I remember correctly, there are 2 terms going around for this idea. The “Fall for Hall” was one and the other was the “Dive for a Top 5”. I think I like the “Fall for Hall” the best. If this is the way you are thinking right now then you will be happy to know that the Carolina Hurricanes won tonight leaving them only 2 points back of the Oilers for dead last in the league.
Do the Oilers have a chance now to make the playoffs this season? As I said before, only if and when the sun starts rising in the west.
I did expect, at least, the Oilers to come out for the first 1 or 2 games and play like they had learned something in the mini-camp before they fell back into their old habits. It actually only took 5 minutes for those old habits to creep back into their game and by the 5:27 mark, 2 giveaways and some weak goaltending and they were down 2-0. That was pretty much it.
The team played scared again and looked exactly like the pre mini-camp team that had lost 11 of their last 12. The team didn’t play with the crust that was needed to win. In fact that is rather disturbing, Andrew Cogliano had 3 hits in the game, second only to Jean-Francois Jacques 6. The smallest player on the team out hit guys like Sheldon Souray, Shawn Horcoff, Ethan Moreau, Zach Stortini, Dustin Penner, Ryan Stone, Ryan Potulny and others that are expected to lay on the body. Potulny can be forgiven though as he was busy taking care of the scoring side tonight. A pathetic display to say the least. The team needs to make it tough to play at Rexall Place but playing hockey with the contact of figure skating isn’t going to win many games.
The one interesting stat from the game was the faceoffs. The Oilers supposed best faceoff guy, Shawn Horcoff goes 10W and 20L for a 33% success rate. The rest of the team went 24W and 13L for a 65% success rate. Maybe it is time to start using some of the others in critical situations to see how they perform because Horcoff is obviously not doing what he was supposed to do best.
The Oilers also didn’t learn how to shoot during the mini-camp as they had another 25 shots blocked meaning they don’t pay attention to where they are shooting or don’t know how to change the shooting lane. They also missed 15 more shots. Had they been on target with all their shots they could have had 81 shots on net. Even still they had 41 shots on goal and still only scored 3 times. Lack of finishing, lack of bodies in front of the net. That’s how you only get 3 goals on 41 shots.
Leadership that is sadly lacking and questionable goaltending continue to haunt the team and something needs to be done here but that is another post (soon).
One of my favorite quotes on winning seems to be very fitting with this team.
“Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all time thing. You don’t win once in a while, you don’t do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time. Winning is habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.” ~ Vince Lombardi