Fantastic! Yes, it is only pre-season. But that was fun to watch. Not just because the Oilers won, but for the showcasing of their proven and potential NHL skill. Some might say that Vancouver looked flat and disinterested. Perhaps, but they still iced a team of veterans and players trying to make the NHL. If their veterans were not fully engaged in the game then it’s too bad for the rookie or journeyman trying to make a good impression. I actually wonder how most established players feel about pre-season games. It is an interesting situation. Do you do your best to help showcase the skills of a potential teammate? What if that player is competing for your job? Anyway, I digress. Bottom line is the Oilers used their skill to create opportunities and exploit Vancouver’s weaknesses or lack of effort.
As I watched the game last night I found it refreshing to think that the Oilers may actually have enough depth at most positions that rushing any of the younger players into starting roles is not required. Of course, if their talent dictates they should be a starter, then start. But having just watched the growing pains of several of our young starters, the progression from rookie to consistent producer is a difficult process. The ebb and flow of a full NHL schedule can at times, deflate a rookies confidence. To compound the problem, try playing on team that has not been in the playoffs for seemingly ever and image the pressure to perform brilliantly every night.
Overall, the combination of players the Oilers had on the ice last night looked encouraging. Yes, it’s early, but the results were positive and that’s a good thing.