This season has not gone as planned. The Edmonton Oilers have found themselves in a familiar place yet once again this season, ranking 29th in the NHL regular season standings. With a 13-26-5 record, nothing has gone the Edmonton Oilers way this season, from injuries to soft goals to leads getting away. The Oilers seem to be losing their confidence every single game, as if a piece gets ripped apart from them every loss. The players are frustrated, management, the coaching staff and most importantly, the fans.
That’s where I’m going to start. The fans.
As a fan myself, I am really lost for words to describe what has gone wrong with the Oilers. It could be a number of things, such as the crop of defense the Oilers have, the soft goals, the bad back check by the forwards just to name a few from what the fans are saying around social media sites.
While some of those may have good reasoning behind them, the one thing that has popped out in my mind is the way Dallas Eakins has implemented the system he wants the Oilers to play. That system is a defense before offense mentality that Eakins is trying to engrave into the players minds. The belief is, if you play good defense, that leads to offense. That’s true, isn’t it not?
Well, that’s not particularly the case here in Edmonton. With 112 goals for so far this season, and 153 goals against, the whole defense leads to offense mentality isn’t working here. At least at first glimpse it’s not, but when you look at the seasons first 22 games the Oilers went 5-15-2 with 83 GA and 55 GF. In the next 22 series of games, the Oilers went 8-11-3 with 70 GA and 57 GF. There’s progress, not a lot but there’s progress.
The Edmonton Oilers are taking tiny steps with Dallas Eakins system, with a -13 GA difference and a +2 GF difference between the last 22 and the previous 22. The record too has been getting better.
So what does this have to do with fans? It means the fans have to give it a bit more time than originally thought, patience is the key right now. Dallas Eakins and the players are turning a big corner right now, and in time the record, and the whole team will be getting better and better.