The other week I had guessed, along with many others, the Oilers had finely hit rock bottom. It seemingly could not have possibly continued to get worse. Right? Wrong. The faint shimmer of hope that presented itself in Florida was quickly erased from all conscience thought when the Oilers followed up that victory with 3 straight road losses. To add to this most recent on-ice disappointment we then had to endure the mounting Yakupov soap opera. Common on. Really? Surely, this is now rock bottom. Unfortunately, I have an uncomfortable suspicion that the fall may continue. Why so? Let’s look at this week. To begin, it is quite probable that Horcoff will triumphantly return tonight. Friday, we are host to the Sharks. Sharks good, Oilers bad. Then the real topping to the week, the Flames. Would not a loss to the Flames at this point be the real dagger to the heart. I am preparing just in case. I am not going to let that one catch me unsuspectingly.
So, how does thing finally turn around? At this point, take your pick. Everything has seemingly gone bad all at once. I keep hoping one of the core players will take ownership and lead the turn around. But who? Who in that group has the emotional ability to lead this group. We can talk, and have talked about the skill of this group seemingly forever. But really, we need some emotional leadership from our core. We need someone who looks pissed off and plays pissed off. Our core needs to be reminded that they are playing for the Stanley Cup and not the Lady Byng.
Until this team learns to play with an emotional attachment to each game the results will continue to be the same. The frustrating thing about the Oilers current situation is back in the early 2000’s I would have been writing about the flip side. All effort and heart but no skill. This organization has been so hell bent on finding skill that they forgot to stop and check the pulse along the way.
I hope I am wrong about this week. Oilers please prove me wrong.