January 04 2014 12:03AM
The Oilers come home with 38 games left in the season sitting in 29th place overall. No one should be surprised they lost two games in 27 hours at San Jose and Anaheim, but once again the combination of bad defensive zone coverage and Bryzgalov allowing a weak goal cost them.
Eventually you hope the players make more correct decisions that wrong ones, but right now it is clear they have a long way to go before they can compete with the good teams in the western conference, and specifically in the pacific division.
Here are some thoughts on tonight's game and also some news for Eskimos fans.
- I didn't have a problem earlier in the season when Eakins wanted Yakupov to play better. I felt that was fair. Tonight, however, Eakins' decision to not use Yakupov on the 6-on-3 PP late in the game was very perplexing. The Oilers biggest problem with their top-two lines is they have no diversity, they all offer similar things.
The six players on the PP mirrored that problem. None of them can shoot a one-time like Yakupov, so why wasn't he on that PP? It made no sense. I wonder if Eakins let his stubborness get the best of him tonight? I understand if he wants Yakupov to earn his icetime, but Yakupov was good yesterday and tonight, so why wasn't he rewarded with a spot on the man advantage?|
- The Oilers made some glaring errors on four of the five Ducks goals. RNH had the puck under control but gave it away on first goal. Bryzgalov has to stop the 3rd goal with 4.4 seconds remaining on the clock. Marincin (he is a rookie, so the odd mistake is expected) left Jackman wide open on the 4th goal, while Petry shot the puck directly into Cogliano's shinpads leading to his breakaway.
The Oilers have to find ways to cut down on those mistakes, or they will never improve.
- The Oilers top-six had an average weight of 192 pounds, while the Ducks top-six was 212 pounds. They are giving up 60 pounds every shift. The Oilers will never be able to compete with the big, heavy, skilled teams in the Pacific until they add some size in their top-six. (When I say in their top-six, I assume most people realize that means skilled players. We shouldn't have to add "size with skill" every time we mention the need for size. When I mention top-six, I believe that skill is a given part of the equation.)
The Oilers have too many of the same players right now. That isn't a knock on them, and doesn't mean they aren't good, but they are all the same and there is no diversity within their top-six. Size is needed.
- No one can be shocked the Oilers lost back-to-back games in the two toughest road rinks in the league. It is disappointing, but these two losses should not cause massive uproar. The Oilers aren't close to the top teams in the league, especially on the road in San Jose and Anaheim.
The Eskimos have been rather quiet about their coaching staff, but it seems like Chris Jones is getting closer to naming his staff.
Look for Stephen McAdoo to be the offensive coordinator. My sources tell me he hasn't re-signed with the Argos. McAdoo has been with the Argos for four seasons as the O-Line coach and run game coordinator, and prior to that he was the offensive line/running back coach in Montreal from 2003-2005 and then added co-offensive coordinator title in 2006.
This would be McAdoo' first OC job, but he has 15 years of coaching experience. McAdoo and Jones have worked together in Montreal (2003-2006) and in Toronto (2012-2013). They have a history together.
My sources also state that Jarious Jackson will be the quarterbacks/passing game coach. The Eskimos desperately need a former QB to work with the Mike Reilly, and the Esks are close or have already signed him to a deal. Jackson played 8 seasons in the CFL and was the QB coach in BC last season. He will help Reilly and the other QBs. He also should add some insight into pass patterns. Last season the Eskimos ran too many intermediate routes, but never had any safety/under routes that Reilly could dump off to if no one was open downfield.
I'm also hearing that Kevin Strasser could be added as the receivers coach. He has worked with Jones in the past and previously worked with the Eskimos. Sources say the Strasser signing isn't confirmed, but he is a candidate for that job. The main concern is if he would be a distraction. (My apologies for sending out an erroneous tweet earlier today that said he was in the running for the OC job, when it clearly was for WR coach. Stupid mistake on my part.)
McAdoo and Jackson look to be solid additions. McAdoo has a lot of experience while Jackson fills a huge void on the coaching staff.