With only 2 wins in the last 11 games and 5 in the last 19, Oil Country is very, very frustrated. On the heels of lats nights 3-2 loss to the Detroit Redwings, The Coaching Staff held a brief 20 minute practice. 20 minutes! Is this the way the Oilers are going to improve? I think not. Personally I feel this team, if not several specific players need a good old fashioned bag skate.
The other good news is that Ryan Whitney, Shawn Horcoff, and Sam Gagner were not present at practice today. The assumption is that these players are banged up and are healing for the game on Thursday against the Wild. ***Update*** Sam Gagner has whiplash according to Tom Renney this morning.
The effort last night from the Oilers was much improved from what we’ve seen the last few games, and at least they were skating. There were a few bright spots from last night tat need to be metioned here.
Now I want to get down to the players I feel need that bag skate…
Ales Hemsky has not had a point now in 6 games. this is the second time in his career that this has occurred. Normally he’s a pretty consistent point producer, but last night and for the last few games, he’s been disinterested, lethargic, and is turning over the puck almost every shift. It seems to me that he’s just not that into it anymore. He’s not skating, he’s not carrying the puck into the offensive zone like he used to, and he looks scared to shoot. Bag Skate.
Ryan Whitney has been returning from injury now for what seems like forever with no improvement in his game. No disrespect to Corey Potter, but when Potter gets Whitney’s spot on the first unit PP time…this tells me the Coach just doesn’t have any confidence in Whitney. Before you get on my case about giving him a break because he hasn’t played for a year…maybe he should’ve went to OKC on a conditioning stint and Tuebert should’ve stayed.
Tom Gilbert needs to fight for the puck a lot harder in his own end and get back to the physical game he was playing to start the year. He’s just stopped doing the things that were making him successful to start the year.
Taylor Hall was a force to be reckoned with last night for sure. Any doubt he may have had about the shoulder being 100% is obviously non-existent. He was trying to beat guys one-on-one, driving to the net hard, and fast as all get out. Not to mention got another point for his effort on the Eberle PP goal. You could tell that Hall was trying to put his tam on his back and get them going all game long. Mark my words, this Kid will be Captain of the Oil one day.
Jordan Eberle as usual, was clutch. he scored with .5 seconds to go in the second period to tie the game at 2-2. This kid is a pure sniper. He continues to produce points and offence every shift. In the immortal words of Wanye Gretz “Squeee!”
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Enough said.
Ryan Jones was as good as I’ve seen him play to date. He’s the only forward not on the top line that is scoring consistently right now. His goal last night was so awesome it brought Rexall to it’s feet. Check it out…
I loved the celebration afterwards!
Now the Oilers face the best in the Northwest Division…maybe they’ll get that bag skate tomorrow.
GO Oilers GO!