NAILING IT IN?

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.

  • Oil Kings

    The 30th place team is due to lose the lottery.. I know, I know, statistically every year its 50/50, but the last place team has retained the first pick four years in a row now. I think CBJ is picking second this year.

    • John Chambers

      I think your right. Until he’s 100 percent, and maybe he will never be, I see him as a 3 rd pairing guy, and a first or second unit PP specialist.

      Im hoping he’s ready next season to log minutes, but he’s been plain brutal in his own zone.

    • John Chambers

      That’s not quite true.

      Last year New Jersey won the draft lottery and moved up from #8 to #4. The Oilers still retained the #1 pick, but they did not win the lottery.

      But I get what you’re saying – finishing last isn’t a guarantee that you’ll pick first, and it’s a pretty dishonorable thing for the organization to attempt.

      Fielding a sub-par club here and there against Montreal and Columbus, however, is in and of itself not a poor strategy move.

  • J-Dogg

    The only mistake bigger than taking more of what we already have at this year’s draft, is taking a D man, who IF he develops into elite talent, is almost assuredly late to the party in doing so.

    Please either take one of the Russians as a more immediately useful talent or shiny trade fodder later on.

    Or better yet, use this year’s first pick in a package to get us the Stud D we all crave.

  • Reality Check to the head

    Is it just me? But I see alot interference out there that isnt being called anymore.

    I do think management is handcuffing Renney with an eye for next year. They also want to see if Peckham will get out of his funk or this the real Theo. They dont need to play Sutton, he is a known entity and signed for next year. The season is over, now it is time for player auditions. I dont mind watching it because as a fan I have a number of questions going forward. However, if management hasnt made a decision on Barker by now then they would be the only ones. Barker shouldnt see another NHL ice surface.

  • So let me get this right. Players can’t gamble, roid-up, or have bounty programs, but organizations are allowed to tank??? That NEVER happens! Does it?

    Yakupov’s game away from the puck is a hot mess, but I’m absolutely in favour of securing one of the top 2 picks. Hang in there season ticket holders.

  • Stack Pad Save

    SO maybe all of the terrible line combinations and odd choices of who sits in the press box and who doesn’t are really not the work of Tom Renny, but are actually the fault of a one Mr. Dithers?

  • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

    Columbus will pass the oilers and then win the lottery. oilers finish 30th and pick 2nd.

    Conspiracy theorists will crawl out of the woodwork.

  • J-Dogg

    As with many other things, it would be interesting to see the conversations that go on in the Oilers’ management. Especially if, as you hint at, they are doing their best to stay out of the win column while window dressing with enough pretext for plausible deniability.

    Basically I wonder who decides it’s time to go full retard and how that message gets conveyed to the right people…..subtly or otherwise.