January 18 2016 05:10PM
Todd McLellan is getting closer to having a healthy roster for the first time this season. Matt Hendricks returns to the lineup tonight after serving a three-game suspension, leaving Oscar Klefbom and Connor McDavid as two main pieces still not available.
Both will miss four games this week, but McDavid should be ready to go on February 2nd, the Oilers' first game after the All-Star break, and during an incredible brief exchange with Klefbom Saturday night in the bowels of Rexall Place he said, "It is getting better," with a smile on his face.
January 14 2016 01:43PM
I went through the schedule over the last five seasons and I couldn't find a three-game stretch where the Oilers lost three games they easily could have won. Bad luck -- three own-goals in one period -- hurt them versus the Lighting, and big errors cost them versus the Panthers and Coyotes.
The Oilers controlled much of the play during the past three games, but only managed one point. We've all witnessed them play bad hockey, or simply get outplayed by better teams the past five seasons, but I'm not sure this team has had three more consecutive frustrating results when they play well.
Some will say: who cares? They still lost. Others will see progress in that they aren't getting dominated.
January 12 2016 01:15PM
Tonight is the beginning of what could be the most important twelve days of the Edmonton Oilers' season. They play seven games (five on the road) during this span and they need to get some wins to stay within striking distance of the third place Vancouver Canucks in the Pacific division.
Vancouver ended Florida's 12-game winning streak last night and are now seven points ahead of the Oilers, with a game in hand. The goal for the Oilers was to play meaningful games down the stretch, but if they don't win some games before the All-Star break they could be 10+ points out of the race by the end of the month.
January 11 2016 02:00PM
The Oilers are 3-8-1 in their last 12 games, but due to a hot streak at the beginning of December the Oilers are still above .500 in their last 18 games (9-8-1). Considering they won their first five games in December without Connor McDavid, Nail Yakupov and Benoit Pouliot, and then lost Oscar Klefbom in the fifth game and still won their sixth, was rather remarkable.
I'd argue Klefbom's injury has impacted the team more than McDavid's (I will explain later), and his injury combined with an atrocious powerplay and some bad luck this past weekend has the Oilers once again on the brink of falling out of the playoff race.
January 08 2016 10:11AM
We are eight games away from the official halfway point of the NHL season, but 607 games (49.3%) is close enough in my eyes to look at how the first half has unfolded.
The Oilers have played half their games, and despite a ten-point improvement over last year they are still in the basement of the Pacific Division. The good news is they are only four points out of a playoff spot compared to being 20 points behind after 41 games last year.
There have been a multitude of surprises, both positive and negative, thus far across the NHL. Here is what has stood out for me.