Edmonton Oilers Waste Opportunity In 3-0 Loss To Toronto


Edmonton Oilers fans don’t need to take lessons from Toronto Maple Leafs fans. Any franchise that pretends that it wasn’t presided over by the biggest circus act in hockey history (in the person of Harold Ballard) aught not throw stones from their glass houses. But do those fans become just that much more annoying after a loss like THAT one? Absolutely. 3-0 Leafs.

9 Things:

9. The Edmonton Oilers aren’t blessed with a lot of depth. But they should NOT be a 1-line team. And again Monday night, that’s exactly what they were: Taylor Hall, Leon Draisaitl, Teddy Purcell…and not a hell of a lot else. I think that “soft” tag on Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is crap, but he and Jordan Eberle DO have to show up sooner or later.

8. I’ve yet to hear the “official” on Brandon Davidson, but given how well he has been playing as of late, losing him for any stretch won’t be good. One wonders if, provided the injury is more than just a nick, Griffin Reinhart comes back up, or if a combination of Eric Gryba and Andrew Ference will fill in, instead?

7. It is not MORE painful that the Edmonton Oilers handed rookie netminder Garret Sparks a shut-out in his first NHL game, for the first time in Toronto Maple Leafs history. Who cares. That’s their history, not Edmonton’s, so get over it. What’s painful is that the Oilers just waved passively at a possible two points in the standings.

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6. Taylor Hall is 2nd in shots in their entire NHL, with 105. That is 13 behind Alex Ovechkin, and remember…Over had 15 of those IN ONE GAME! I mention the Hall stat tonight to just remind people that while this situation is NOT good…this isn’t one, grand tire-fire. Good things are still happening. Sometimes.

5. I know all Edmonton Oilers fans have been saying of Connor McDavid and his injury that he can’t come back fast enough. Well, I can update that sentiment, after tonight’s effort: “Connor…Mess says YOU CAN’T COME BACK FAST ENOUGH!!”. Boy, that pre-season vibe in Edmonton has sure died off, hey?

4. The Hall line aside, I thought the Andrej Sekera pairing with Darnell Nurse was by far the club’s best on D, Monday night. Sekera continues to round him game into form, and looks more and more like the guy we signed. And while Nurse makes the odd mistake, he looks good and pissed off when he does. And that’s a little more G.A.S. that many of his teammates appear to have, right about now.

3. Anders Nilsson is not one of the Edmonton Oilers that I was upset with, tonight. He allowed two goals on 26 shots, well above the league average, and both were tips that most goaltenders aren’t going to have much of a chance on. This feels a little bit like the start of the season, again, where the offence is dry, and the goaltending is solid. Would you run him back out there against Boston?

2. I thought Mark Letestu put it the best, post-game: “We were out-competed most of the night against a hungry team”. Yes, they were. And sure…it was the Edmonton Oilers 3rd game in 4 nights, on the road. That’s a factor, and will be for most teams. But fatigue I can accept. What I did not see Monday night was a team prepared and willing to fight through that fatigue. And that is not a good recipe for a winning team.

1. It was easier for me to distance myself from the emotion of this loss tonight, as I was travelling, and caught the game in bits and pieces, some in real-time, some via PVR, and none of it with the broadcast crew that was apparently a real piece of work, Monday night. So rather than re-say all of the things most of you have already said about that display, I’ll ask you if you have considered this: Peter Chiarelli is not going to do much of anything to this hockey team until he sees the key pieces all together, at one time.

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That means, after Christmas, when both McDavid and Nail Yakupov are back. I know that wait may seem painful to you, right now, but in all honesty? It’s probably the absolute right play.

In the meantime, bring on the Boston Bruins. Unless of course, they have a rookie netminder ready start his very first NHL game.

Kidding. Sheesh. Tough room.