So it hasn’t been the start us Oiler fans were hoping for. Should we be surprised? Not really. Not because this is the same team as previous years but because of other factors. New coach. New systems. New players. Only one opening day centre with NHL centre position experience. Ouch! We often let the pre-season results disguise themselves as an indication of potential team success. But more often than not that’s just not true. If we were to ignore the pre-season and objectively compare the Oilers starting day line up (minus RNH and Gagner) to other teams in their conference I can’t say that I would rate the Oilers probability of success very high. That was the unfortunate reality. So again, should we be surprised at how the first few games have gone. No.
Fortunately, the season is young and tonight marks the return of RNH. Significant? Yes! I suspect that Hall will be flying on the wing once again. Eberle as well. And though RNH may be rusty that line will want to prove that they can carry the mail for the Oilers. Hopefully, the other lines will feed off of this energy.
Trying Hall at centre was not a bad idea. But the timing was not good. Tough to learn on the job when the weight of the Oiler’s universe is resting on your shoulders. RNH will ease Hall’s pain. And together they will pull Eberle along as well.
I suspect a high intensity game from the Oilers tonight. I think RNH will inject some much needed confidence into Hall and Eberle. Together this trio is going to get this thing pointed in the right direction and hopefully pull all the others along.