The Edmonton Oilers need a spark on the ice, there is no denying that. Lately they’ve been playing with little to no heart, going through the motions and inevitably getting outplayed and losing game after game. They are under performing given the amount of talent on the roster and while they may not resemble a playoff team with the holes on the blue line and in goal, they certainly aren’t a last place team, at least not on paper.
Back to the spark. They need one and desperately. The Oilers are off to a disappointing start and so are the Philadelphia Flyers over in the Eastern Conference. But for the Flyers they may have found their spark that will turn around their season and it came at the hands of the Washington Capitals.
It was last Friday and the Flyers were well on their way to another defeat. The score was 7-0 for the Caps, an embarrassing performance by the home team Flyers and that is when frustration set in. The spark? A line brawl that saw goalie Ray Emery dish out a beating on Braden Holtby. Not to mention the other donny brooks that ensued at the same time. It was old school hockey at it’s finest and could offer a rallying point for the Flyers.
The Flyers, like the Oilers had a busy off-season and were supposed to be one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference; at least on paper. But three games in they fired their coach and now they relish at the bottom of the conference, much like the team in Edmonton.
But the Flyers have struggled to live up to the lofty expectations and they too were looking for something to get their team going. For anybody that has played the game at a junior level or higher knows that a line brawl brings the team closer, both on the ice and in the room. It gives the players something to talk about and bond over.
Those that don’t think fighting belongs in hockey will disagree with me but for those that have experienced such a wild and heart pounding event know what I’m talking about.
Am I advocating fighting in hockey? Well, I do believe it has a place in the game. Am I advocating that the Edmonton Oilers go out and start a line brawl this week against the Florida Panthers? No. My point is that the Flyers rebounded the next night and beat the New Jersey Devils and while it’s too early to tell if the brawl has turned their year around, it could be that spark that ignites the fuse. That is what the Oilers are missing.
It’s old school hockey and the Philadelphia organization is known for it. How do you think the nickname “the Broad Street Bullies” was created? And it’s how they’ve continued to build their teams; rough and tough and not afraid to stand up for themselves. Something again that is lacking with the Oilers.
Every team has it’s boiling point and the Flyers hit theirs. Now, the question becomes if this Oilers team has a boiling point or if they just continue to coast along, playing emotionless hockey.
The Flyers may have found a spark, let’s hope the Oilers can find theirs.