We’re past the quarter poll now & headed to the middle stretch of games that will determine where this team stacks up vs the rest of the WC (Western Conference). The Oilers currently sit 10th in the WC with 13pts & a win tonight will put them in the middle of a packed playoff race. Goals are at a premium right now, with 3 Ryans struggling to score, 1 injured & tonight there’s 3 Ryans out of the line-up. Last season after 12GP, we had 3 healthy Ryan’s out of 4 playing & playing well..
After 12GP in the 2011-12 season Jones, Smyth & Nugent-Hopkins played every game & had combined for 13G & 14A. The Oilers were 8-2-0-2
After 12GP in the 2012-13 season the trio of Whitney, Smyth & Nugent-Hopkins have scored 1G & 10A. The Oilers are 5-4-2-1
It’s clear, Ryan needs to score in order for the Oilers to win, any of them, anytime now.
Ryan Jones is still out with an eye injury but has recently been given an injury jersey at practice & his timeline is probably 7-10 days away. He will certainly help bolster the PK as well as the bottom 6 & if nothing else give the team some consistency which has been lacking. He’s the prototype lunch pail type player (Junkman) that the Oilers need during the next stretch. Nothing flashy, just goes to all the tough areas as well as the net.
Ryan Smyth has been scratched, forwhat I believe is the first time as a memer of the Oilers. He’s been brutal the last couple of games & instead of leading by example, he’s gone out of his way to take needlss penalties. The game this past Saturday afternoon against Detroit was a good indicator of where his mindset is. After an offside call during a brief Oilers 5-3 PP, we all seen on the video how he really gave it to the officials from the bench & Ralph Krueger some effort to pull him back, trying to reel him in with words. He was assessed a 10min misconduct at the same time Yakupov was assessed a 2min penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. He ended up with 3SOG & only had more TOI than Eager & Petrell. His next game wasnt much better, with 3 lazy penalties away from the defensive end, luckily Paajarvii bailed him out with a SHG that turned into the GWG. At times he’s played well but lately this hasn’t been the case & has earned himself a scratch.
Ryan Whitney, who is scratched for the 2nd time in a week due to poor play. This has come as no surprise to anyone from Edmonton though. He has showed an inability to push himself to a higher level due to his ankle injury & it’s showed in his game. Pundits will argue that Corey Potter has been just as bad but when you think about it, Potter’s been just as good & is 100% healthy which makes the decision easy for coach Krueger who won’t stand for veteran players struggling in his line-up.
Speaking of struggles, does anyone know where Nugent-Hopkins scoring touch went?? To say he has struggled to score is an understatement has struggled to find the net & with 20 SOG through 11 GP he really isnt far off of last years SOG pace. To my count has missed 6 open netters that last year but does have 6A & I’m sure the goals will come. What’s concerned me the most is the puck battles he’s lost & the number of times he’s fallen down. Really needs to work on his overall strength but we can’t lose sight of the fact that he’s only 19yrs old & will have a longer leash than the vets, so long as he contributes something offensively.
All in all, it’s been rough to be a Ryan playing for the Oilers this season but with the majority of the games ahead of us, this should & probably will change for the majority of them, we hope