The Oilers have the day off before getting back on the ice to prepare for the New York Rangers. I wonder what they will do on their off day.
Maybe they should go to the gun range and take shooting practice, because the Oilers either can’t shoot straight or won’t shoot. They have out-shot the opposition a grand total of ONE time in their first 15 games, and that was the first game of the year v. the Flames.
Since then, they have tied in shots twice; 28 apiece in a SO loss to Calgary and 32 a side in a 6-4 win over Columbus. In the other 12 games they have been out-shot and out-chanced significantly. They’ve averaged 23.5 shots while surrendering 35.6 shots a game in those 12 games.
Do they really expect to win when they give up 12 more shots a game?
Shots don’t always reflect how many quality scoring chances a team generates, but the fact is the Oilers don’t generate lots of quality chances, and lately they don’t get garbage goals either.
You have to earn your breaks in the NHL, and the Oilers aren’t doing that.
The defencemen haven’t been able to consistently get shots through from the point. Did you see Brendan Witt’s two goals last night? They weren’t Sourayesque by any stretch. He just put them on net and got lucky.
And the Oiler forwards aren’t winning any battles down low. They haven’t been making smart dump-ins either. They dump the puck when no one is on the forecheck, and it results in an easy turnover for the opposition. Right now the Oilers offensive problems are more because of a lack of brains rather than effort.
How many times does Robert Nilsson have to make a blind back pass to the opposition before he realizes that it’s a low percentage play? Nilsson is now a team worst -9, with one empty-net goal in ten games. He doesn’t play physically, he doesn’t score and he doesn’t want to make the smart play. He isn’t a puppy — being cute won’t warm the hearts of his coaches or the fans.
He just doesn’t seem to understand what he needs to do to contribute in the NHL. If his high-risk plays were working and he was producing, the coaches would still cringe, but they would see results. The fact is he isn’t producing and his cute passes aren’t working.
I think we saw the end of Nilsson last night in Long Island.
Mike Comrie will return to the lineup on Thursday, and barring another flu attack or multiple injuries I don’t see how or why Pat Quinn would put Nilsson back in the lineup.
Steve Staios could play as early as Thursday v. the Rangers, and that’s why Theo Peckham was reassigned to Springfield. Staios has long been a whipping boy for many of you in the Nation, but I’m guessing you’re begging for his return now. He isn’t the best passer, but he competes harder than most of their current blueliners, and his grit, determination and willingness to do anything to win will be a welcome return to the backend.
He won’t help the offensive woes of the Oilers, but he should give them a bit more fight shift-to-shift.
With a woeful 1-5 record on the road, and five of their next six on the road, the Oilers have to find some chemistry quickly, or once again they will find themselves in chase mode in the playoff picture.