If you ask Craig MacTavish, the Edmonton Oilers re-build is on track. At least that’s what the rookie GM told the media yesterday when addressing the teams woes of late. Whether he needs to tell himself that to keep his job or if he truly believes that, Oilers fans aren’t likely buying what Mac-T is selling.
How could they? It’s year eight of this alleged re-build, but that’s the hard part; pegging down a number of how long it truly has been.
An article on Sportsnet earlier this week claims that it’s year four of the project in northern Alberta, while some fans will say it’s been longer. Regardless, whatever year it’s in, is it progressing according to plan?
Here sits a team with a record of 4-14-2 and have the unenviable task of hosting the powerful San Jose Sharks tonight at Rexall. It’s your typical David versus Goliath and barring an upset of the year, you can move the loss number to 15. Last place in the West, all but out of the playoffs and it’s only mid-November. One more Buffalo Sabres win before the Oilers get a victory and they’ll be dead last in the league. I ask again. Is the re-build on track?
Let’s say it is year four of what is becoming the brunt of many jokes around the league on how not to re-build a hockey team. Shouldn’t this team be competing on a nightly basis if the team was showing progress like MacTavish claims? Maybe the playoffs wouldn’t be in the cards this year but a team that was playing meaningful hockey up until April would sure be nice. That would be a great indication that this team is heading in the right direction.
The Oilers have to play over .600 hockey for the next 62 games just to have a sniff and if you’re thinking you like those odds, stop. It won’t happen. It rarely does over that many games.
There is a core group of players in Edmonton that should be leading this team and MacTavish did acknowledge that he has failed his part to surround them with veterans that can provide the proper support. Again, not exactly what you should be saying if this bus was still on the road and following the laid out map.
Rather, it’s a mental picture of a bus with a flat tire, pulled over on the side of the road. All passengers are standing around, staring at the flat and no one wants to take the lead and fix the damn thing. They know how, but nobody wants to step up to the challenge and be a leader. That’s what this Oilers club resembles and that is far from being a team that is heading in the right direction.
The talent is here. That core group that Mac-T speaks of is enough to resemble of what a winning hockey team should look like. Yet here they are fumbling their way through the basement of the league, yet again and a draft lottery victory appears possible once again. It would be the fourth time in five years of having the first overall pick and technically that would resemble a dynasty, but not the one you wish to be known for.
In this fans humble opinion, no Mr. MacTavish, this Oilers re-build is not on track. Not even close. So please do something to fix it. Whether it be a move now or one down the road that will help this team for year’s to come, just do something because standing at the podium stating you’re seeing progress is an unfair statement to the suffering fans. We don’t see the progress when our beloved team is again considered bottom feeders, again. Winning hockey games is progress. Then and only then can you firmly say that the re-build is on track. Until then……..