SOME HABITS ARE HARD TO BREAK

For the second consecutive preseason home game, Oiler fans and Tom Renney must have felt like they were in a time warp. And not the cool type of time warp/machine that Marty McFly got to use in Back to the Future. Last night was a trip down memory lane that many never want to see again, or at least not regularly.

On Tuesday we saw Nikolai Khabibulin fighting the puck.

Sure, it was only a preseason game, but it’s a trend we’ve seen in Edmonton for over a year.

Last night the Oilers didn’t shoot the puck, and outside of dropping the gloves early, they didn’t seem ready to play.

Sure, it was only a preseason game, but it’s a trend we’ve seen in Edmonton for the past five seasons.

For stretches the Oilers controlled the puck, threw it around like they knew what they were doing, but rarely did it result in shots on goal or scoring chances.

Outside of Tyler Pitlick, the other eight forwards will more than likely make up the top-three lines on opening night, but last night they could barely muster any quality chances against an AHL lineup.

They didn’t drive to the net consistently.
They passed instead of shooting when they were in a good shooting lane.
Outside of a nifty pass from Nugent-Hopkins to Eberle, they kept the puck on the perimeter during the PP.
They stood still too often on the PP.

Sure, it was only a preseason game, but you’ve seen this movie at Rexall Place frequently the past few seasons.

Renney has seen this before and he wasn’t impressed.

"It’s not rocket science when it comes to scoring. You have to get to the hard places, and we didn’t do that enough."

I did a quick glance at some of last season’s post-game comments from Renney, and he used a variation of that line at least ten times by my count. It likely was more, but the point is, while this group of forwards have another year of experience, excluding RNH, they exhibited the same bad habits again last night.

Linus Omark was invisible, except for meanlessly running a Canuck at the end of the game. I didn’t expect this team to learn how to be more consistent over the summer, but these two home games have been a harsh reminder of how far this team needs to go before they become competitive.

STARTS AT HOME

Last season the Oilers accumulated 32  points of a possible 82 at Rexall. The eight playoff teams registered 59, 55, 48, 54, 56, 49, 53 and 48. In 2010 the Oilers were a bit better picking up 40 home points, but the playoff teams were better as well racking up 62, 62, 63, 60, 56, 50, 51 and 51.

The Oilers need to be better in many areas, but it’s imperative that they learn to show up and be consistent at home.

Sure, it was only a preseason game, but dominating at home as been an issue the past few seasons.

MORE CUTS

Renney trimmed his roster down to 48 players today, sending five guys to OKC:

David LeNeveu
Cameron Abney
Mark Arcobello
Johan Motin
Hunter Tremblay

And they sent two more players back to junior.

Travis Ewanyk is back with the Edmonton Oil Kings, and Drew Czerwonka heads to Kootenay. Ewanyk requires shoulder surgery and his likely out until the New Year.

Ryan Lowery has signed a minor-league deal with OKC. He won’t be eligible to play in Edmonton, unless he signs an NHL contract in the future, but he’ll be in their system.

A SINCERE THANK YOU

Thanks to all of you for your kind words, well-wishes and words of advice on how to survive in marriage. I did chuckle at some of the guesses as to what Sir Bronte was hinting at. The comments made watching the Oiler game much more enjoyable last night.

Thanks again, and screw you Brownlee…

 

  • RexLibris

    I was able to watch the first 2 periods and it was average at best.

    Gagner looks very improved in my eyes was pleased with how he was on offense.

    Pitlick didnt standout with any flash or anything but he seems rather poised to hold his own in OKC if there is going to be a spot.

    Peckham looks weird wearing Staios old number

    Hordichuk is going to get suspended once this year but is going to be a crowd favorite when he plays

    Smytty standing up to Hall was awesome

    Nugget Hopkins has absolutely sick vision. I was never to sure with him playing for the Oil this year after the rookie tourny but now when playing with skilled and established players he stands out more

    Hall is getting meaner by the game and I love it

    Dubbie played solid

    Alex Plante is in a very awkward position. I really hope we see Tuebert play so we know which of the two is better. My guess is Tuebert cause Plantes skating has gotten better but still isnt NHL calibre and his decision making is still very far behind

    Omark didnt standout like he usually does but he often came out of the corner with the puck which is great to see

    MPS reminds me of a Datysuk. Obviously he isnt going to be as skilled as Datysuk but experts and fans often say Dats could have 90-100+ points a year if he didnt focus on defense as much. Well MPS probably could have 2 or 3 breakaways a game if he wasnt so dedicated to defense. Its a nice thing to see a rookie with that kind of skill on defense but makes me wonder if he could pass Eberle or even Hall if he was just purely about offense.

    Thats my take on some of the players I saw last game. And if you read this whole thing thanks haha

    • Shaun Doe

      No worries I think MPS is going to be a mister everything. He can play pk, pp, and match with top lines while not playing on the top line himself. He will be a very important player down the line and is going to save some games for the oilers. Also Plante and Chorney should be let go, I have no worries about Teubert out performing both of them by a mile and I think with the additions to the defensive depth and there being some many highly ranked defensman in the upcoming draft that those two need to be gone and the sooner the better.

    • Shaun Doe

      agreed Hall does look meaner and agressive. with that tho he can’t and shouldn’t expect his teammates to deal with the result of that anger/agressiveness. i doubt that he will, the boy can play and has the strength to back it up…ala messier and iginla.

    • RexLibris

      I’m at least hoping it’s because we win the lottery and move UP this time, though.

      It’d be pretty funny if they were to move Hemsky to make room for Omark only to end up adding Yakupov a few months later.

      If we are picking in the top 5 this year, outside Yakupov I think I’d go for Murray next. I don’t like taking D-men that high but he has been consistenly compared to Scott Niedermeyer and that’s about as high praise as you can find and worth the pick.

      • Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate

        RexLibris wrote

        “I’m at least hoping it’s because we win the lottery and move UP this time, though.”

        Moving up in the lottery is exactly what I meant there Rex. I dont think we are bad enough to be last again this year (FLA).

    • ~Which is clearly evident after a couple of pre-seaon games with lines full of guys who won’t be on the opening night roster. Hell, we might as well skip the season and get right to the draft.~

  • OutDoorRink

    After seeing the score and some hi-lights, it caused me to ponder the question; “How bad does a game have to be in order for you to be glad that you missed it?”

    I mean, I had a choir practice for frack sakes, and I was happy that it enabled me to miss the game.

  • O.C.

    Bah,

    It’s preseason. I counted no less than three, easy, sure fire goals that the forwards swung and missed.

    I swore Krappyboozeman was in net for goal 2 for Van.

    Think of it as something slightly better than a practice.

    People who seemed off were Horcoff and Omark… The D was below average at puck movement.

    PP work was promising. Just connect on the cross ice back door please,

    Gagner wasn’t great, that is how he should always play, or better. He has to force the play on the rush, not slow down and give the opponent time.

  • Shaun Doe

    I totally agree that the first 2 preseason games are a bad sign for the year. Sure, it’s only exhibition, but I have been waiting 2 years for this team to show some grit and there is still NO SIGN OF GRIT on this team.

    The younger players have to be taught how to play a clean, physical game. Finish your checks. Crash the net. Pin the puck to the boards then wrestle your way out with it.

    Fighting is not grit. Getting into shoving and wrestling matches after the whistle is not grit. That is Tom Renney’s shoddy coaching rearing its ugly head. I saw this same garbage when he coached the Canucks and Rangers. His top 6 forwards get bullied for 40 minutes, then by the time the game is out of reach here come the goons to start fighting and “wake up the team”. This team is getting nowhere with Renney.

    Someone needs to talk to each player here and give his head a shake. Do you want this team to score 200 pretty goals or 300 ugly ones? Just throw the freaking puck on net and bang in some rebounds!

  • O.C.

    Renney is not the guy to coach this group. Gretz should coach ! ok maybe not but damn that would be cool. He could not do worse than Renney. Just yapping, its too early to think straight. Slap the flames tonight boys !

  • O.C.

    I think Renney should rewatch John Mucklers interview with TSN after game 3 in the 1990 semi’s versus the Blackhawks, after the Oilers were down 2-1 in the series. He said something to the effect that his best players were getting too cutsie with the puck trying to make the perfect play, instead of shooting it. If memory strikes me, it was a stab at Glenn Anderson. Anyways the oilers went on to win the series and the cup, but that was the turn around game after thewy got shlacked in the old Chicago madhouse 5-1.

  • RexLibris

    In terms of the wedding plans> Fate has a certain way of biting you in the ass. My thought for the EMCEE for the reception> Let me think. Oh its Robin Brownlee. Now that would not only be payback,but it also would make for a helluv a wedding reception with him at the mic. Tell your future wife that he should be the guy to do the announcments. He apparently is good at it don’t you think.

  • Little Buttcheeks

    Smyth needs to be on the PP and Harski needs to be up here sooner than later. As much skill as a Hall, RNH and Eberle trio brings to the table, it is going to be wasted as long as the goaltender can see the puck and we rely on tic-tac-toeing the puck into the net.