It’ll take a lot of indifferent play, breaking curfew many nights and daydreaming all the time. However, the Edmonton Oilers–if they really don’t try–might end up finishing 30th. AGAIN! The prize: the world’s most valuable Nail.
Edmonton ranks 29th in the NHL this morning, and Columbus is still a mile back at 30th. Two things would have to happen: Edmonton continues to lose and the Jackets stay hot. Here’s how things look right now:
- 30th: Columbus 51 points in 67 games
- 29th: Edmonton 58 points in 67 games
I know, it sounds like a lot. However, the two teams play each other twice down the stretch, and if C-Bus wins both the gap becomes three points. Add that to the fact that Columbus is on a 4 game winning streak and Edmonton can’t get out of its own way and the "trifecta" is in sight for the hapless Oilers.
NEEDS MORE COWBELL!
Of course I kid. The Edmonton Oilers will try to win every game from here to the end of the season, and will no doubt win enough to stay clear of Columbus. Hell, they can still catch Montreal and finish in 28th if they get on one of their mini-streaks.
However, the Oilers are not playing their 19 best every night. If they were, Andy Sutton would be in the lineup along with Smid, Petry and Schultz (the club’s 4 most reliable defenders currently) and we’d see Devan Dubnyk every game (DD’s SP in 2012 is .912; NK’s is .885).
Are they looking at talent and evaluating? I’m sure they are at some level. But the decision to play Nikolai Khabibulin when Dubnyk has been outplaying him for 2.5 months now is curious and sitting Andy Sutton puts the team’s defense in a big hole from the opening faceoff.
These are not men nursing injuries, these are self inflicted Denver-boots and implies the Oilers management have one eye on the draft and another on the loss column.
No matter what you think of Tom Renney as a coach, evaluating him during this time is impossible. As bizarre as some of these decisions may appear to be, we really have no idea if this is a coach’s decision or management "evaluating" talents like Theo Peckham–a man they have seen in about 150 NHL games now.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
The top prospect is Nail Yakupov and no one is going to catch Columbus. Right?
Nation Radio hits the airwaves today at noon on Team 1260. Scheduled to appear:
- Brad McPherson–Blue Bullet–and we’ll talk about his legendary draft list and which players he sees as being good value this summer. I’ll also ask about the gap between Yakupov and everyone else.
- Jeff Krushell–from the Krush Health Show–is a wonderful resource on all kinds of matters. We’ll talk about Ales Hemsky’s injury, recovery time and long term impact. Plus–since he’s a baseball nut too–we’ll talk some Blue Jays and Nationals.
- Jonathan Willis–always an interesting read–and I’ll ask about his recent article on Dustin Penner and we’ll discuss Edmonton’s roster and management decisions this summer.
- Kent Wilson–another outstanding writer and observer of the game–will touch base in regard to the Flames and their playoff run, what NHL teams look for when procuring winning players and if we have time discuss the value of EV save percentage as a measuring stick.
- Jeff Angus from Canucks Army. We’ll talk about the Canucks trade deadline moves, this Tanev kid and I’ll ask Jeff if the Canucks are a better team this year than they were one year ago.
Hope you can join us, and if not don’t forget the entire show will be on the Nations soonafter.