THE STRUGGLES I’VE SEEN

I don’t want the title of this piece to insinuate that I am not extremely happy with The Oilers season thus far. I have just been noticing some tell-tale signs of things that need to be nipped in the bud quickly, so as not to affect the rest of year moving forward.

Taylor Hall has been frustrating to watch lately. In the last 5-6 games, it seems to me that he is trying to pull off the kind of moves that he got away with in junior with ease. Even Tom renney has mentioned that he’s trying to do too much because he wants to be a difference maker every shift.

That’s all well and good but, Hall needs to realize that he’s not in junior anymore, and that not every dipsy-doodle that worked then, will fool wily, veteran defenceman of the NHL.

Hall has unbelieveable speed and hands, but he is still only 19 years old, and his maturity level is not quite there yet. I will say this…his physical game has been much better thus far. He is starting to finish checks more often and even rubbing guys out like he did in Montreal. I tried to find the video of this hit, but to no avail.

Devan Dubnyk’s play in Boston was adequate and was definitely not the reason we lost the game. But, he certainly didn’t play the way we are used to seeing so far this year. On three of the six goals in Boston, he was screened and had no chnace in my opinion. The other three however needed a little more effort out of the 6′ 5″ Goalie.

I would get into the selfish penalty by Cam Barker and the horrendous give away by Ben Eager in the Boston game, but since that is old news now, I will say that I applaud Tom Renney for pulling Eager in lieu of Magnus Paajarvi for the game in Detroit last night. Eager has not registerd a hit in his last six games. This is the reason he was brought here in the first place. If he can’t get it together and learn his role, I see a trip to OKC in his future or a trade.

Speaking of the Detroit game last night, I never expected that we would get shut-out. We were getting some very quality scoring opportunities, and I was sure we were going to break the shut-out, if not tie the game. I was very impressed with Lennart Petrell standing up for Magnus Paajarvi who got rocked with a late hit. Pettrell grabbed Abdelkader of the Red Wings and started throwing down. Unfortunately Petrell got a 4 min penalty due to being the instigator while wearing a visor?? I had no idea this was in the rule book.

Nikolai Khabibulin’s first period was very good. He made some unbelieveable saves. See the highlights below. The loss in Detroit can not be blamed on bad goaltending.

What to do moving forward is the big question. The Oilers will have to decide what to do with some fairly key players like Sam Gagner and Linus Omark. Both of these players seem to be floundering somewhat, and not in the best positions to succeed or develop properly. I would like to see a trade happen if these players are not going to be part of the Oilers plans going forward, then why wait for the inevitable.

Here’s to hoping the Oilers can pull one out in Chicago to come home .500 for the trip.

GO Oilers GO!

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