Mighty Oil need quality scoring chances

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.

Insanity

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.

Staios improving

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.

  • Benhur

    Even with Staois back in the lineup there will be minimal improvement. Staois is slow and contributes as much as any of the current D (except Lubo) to defensive turnovers. He has not demonstrated a lot of team leadership so I don't see his return pulling the Oil D up by their boot(skate) straps!
    The team has to learn how to take care of their own end before they will be able to develop offensive pressure….Quinn & co. know that. But you need the talent and grit to do this. The Oil are still weak in this area compared to a lot of other teams…as has been noted in the territorial advantages of the opposition.
    At the beginning of the year when they had more grit in the lineup they did much better.

  • Hahaha. Tha day before the H1N1 vaccine was no longer available to the public at large, the Flames got it sans lineup in a private clinic under the direction of Alberta Health Services. Oops. That one might be a PR problem for Alberta Health Services.

    But why oh why did anyone in the organization let Regehr comment on this? Anybody would see this as AHS's screw-up, but Regehr has to go and say:

    "I don't think any of the players knew that there was going to be a shortage. And at the point in time where we as players had the option to do it, I think there wasn't that scare yet of not enough"

    The day before Health Canada suspended distribution due to a vaccine shortage. Do the players really have that little idea of what's going on around them? It almost sounds defensive, and kinda like a lie. He shoulda just said, "They told us to go get the shot. So we went and got the shot."

    If Alberta Health Services showed up at my office, that's what I would say. Not "Oh no. A shortage??? Really? Daaaaaaamn."

  • I don't think we've seen the best from Cogliano so offering him up as tradebait is a liitle premature. I would hardly call Moreau and Stortini putting Cogliano in a position to succeed. Same goes for comparing him to Gagner as their draft pedigree is quite different.

  • Librarian Mike

    As a preemptive statement, I would like to say that if the Oilers had jumped the line, I would be just as disgusted with them as I am with the Flames right now.

    Hey, hockey's hockey, and I'm all for friendly rivalry. However, I have a wife who's 9 months pregnant, i.e. RIGHT IN THE HIGH RISK GROUP, and she has to wait so some mouth-breathing jock can get his shot early.

  • Chris.

    MacTavish said, "When the players want new coaches and the coaches want new players: a change has to be made"…

    We got a new coach… Maybe it's time for some new players. If a no-name AHLer like Stone can land in the top six out of camp, make an immediate impact, and later be badly missed; What does that say about our overall talent level?

    I don't need another twenty games: this basic core has played over a hundred: Blow it up!

  • Shaun Doe

    Hey Gregor or Brownlee:

    What is the vibe from the players after these most recent losses? Is there a sense of "woe is me" in face of the flu and injuries or are they owning up to their lack of scoring and structure? I was just curious as to what the players are saying right now since the fans tend to be most focused on the flu/injuries as the cause for our current woes. How about the Coaching staff? Do they give the impression they feel the roster is capable of providing more?

  • I'm on the side of happy to see Staios returning… if he's actually back Thursday. I'm not sure how anyone can not be though. At the very least he's a big upgrade on Strudwick… and when paired with the right guy (i.e. not Smid, for whatever reason) he can be pretty solid still.