GDB 27: Confusion and snow

It’s awfully quiet right now in the Nation. Some would say TOO quiet.

Perhaps one could chalk it up to the confusing play of the Oilers of late. Coming off two big wins — one against the Kings in which they dang near gassed a three-goal lead and one against the Sharks where they were outshot an astounding 231-5 but managed to win — you could expect a lot of cheering and excitement from the Citizens of the OilersNation.

Yet that is hardly the case.

If you believe some of the hallowed writers covering the team this squad has been the vicitim of the schedule makers in NYC so far this year. Still others believe that a rodeo-induced road trip is hardly to blame for a 13-11-2 record that falls far short of the optimism that surrounded the team going into the year.

Maybe that’s why Oilers fans aren’t quick to throw their full support behind this latest two (edit THREE) -game winning streak. Or perhaps it’s the mild weather which has messed with all of our biological clocks. It’s Dec 11, Nation. Usually we’re sitting under a foot of snow and are burning old furniture to keep warm. Instead we’re experiencing a lovely spring — completely unheard of in the month of December.

Whatever the case may be, tonight’s game against the Panthers is sort of one of those “damned if you do and damned if you don’t” type games. Lose to the Panthers and all the pent-up thunder that has been silenced in the past seven days will return with vigor. Calls for MacT’s head will return, fantastical trade proposals will be drafted with breathtaking speed and complexity. Win against the Panthers with anything less than a 3- or 4-goal output and people will be saying “so what?” And Florida is currently on a 4-1-0 winning streak — by no means are they the terrible team the Oilers coaching staff would have hoped to see fly into town.

For you see Florida hasn’t won in RX1 in almost 13 years. That’s right — it was January 5, 1996 the last time the Panthers managed to win a game in Edmonton. Craig MacTavish was only six years old at the time, but managed to take most of the heat for the loss at the hands of a 19-year-old Robin Brownlee who was looking to make a name for himself at the time.

As much as the 27th game of the year between two struggling teams can be pressure packed — this is it.

DING DING!

Big ups again to Dryden Roesch for the cartoon. Also, have you voted for Souray today? You should.

  • Chris

    That was a BORING game. Never before have I watched an Oilers team take 41 shots on net and leave me with the feeling that: a) They were never really robbed. b) If the game could have continued for another 60 minutes they still wouldn't have scored. Kevin Lowe has iced a lineup that is incapable of generating any energy or positive momentum through physical play. I've seen worse teams under this regime but never a worse on ice product. That was two and a half hours of my life that I will never have back.

  • 44 year old Chris Anderson continues to dominate the league. The scorers are getting younger and the goalies are getting older.
    And Eric Cole is never going to score another goal all year. It's science fact!

  • …oh…and this was bound to happen…

    I mean, hockey karma states that you don't roll into the top team in the league's house 5 days earlier, get heavily outshot, have your goalie steal a win, get a lucky bounce in OT, break their winning streak and not expect some hockey god interference down the road. I'm just glad the gods got this out of the way.

  • Gord

    @ The Towel Boy:
    You make it sounds like you are sure that the hockey gods are done punishing us for the SJ win. It takes a lot more than a loss to FLA to pay for the win we got in the Shark Tank.

  • @ Gord:

    Normally, I'd agree with the assesment that FLA is not a worthy enough opponent to affect hockey karma. But since FLA is has now won 5 of their last 6…I think they were sufficient enough opponents for the hockey gods to count this one as a legitimate sacrifice.

  • Chris

    This isn't karma…this is poor offensive execution. 41 shots= 3 or four scoring oppertunities. San Jose seemed like they were poised to score a bundle and win…Last night the Oilers had none of that!

  • @ Chris:

    OK, fine…no karma then…I'll definitely agree there was poor execution.

    Lots of perimiter crap shots without anyone in front to screen or mop up. Shots right into Anderson's logo…easy to swallow. The 10 shots that went high or wide didn't help either. And what's with the hanging on to the puck to look for a pass that's not there instead of taking the shot that was there?

    No grit. No tenacity. No nothin. Uninspired.

  • Chris

    When you lose your touch around the net it's time to bang and crash…I honestly believe the Oilers CAN'T do that. They try, but top to bottom the forward lines are too small to execute a power game. This is serious and difficult to address. I'm starting to suspect Brownlee was right and this team will miss the playoffs…AGAIN!