With 33 games remaining in this shortened 48-game NHL season it’s premature for those of us who thought (or hoped) the Edmonton Oilers had an opportunity to make the playoffs to write-off their post-season chances for a seventh straight season, but those so inclined might want to get started.
What those of us – there were many – who picked the Oilers to sneak in based, at least partially, on the feeling that Ralph Krueger’s team would get off to a quick start because so many core players were tearing it up in Oklahoma City and elsewhere, can’t argue is that premise is officially shot to hell now.
The Oilers are 6-6-3 for 15 points after Tuesday’s 3-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings. And, while that leaves them just two points out of a playoff position with 66 points remaining on the table, what we’ve seen so far hardly qualifies as a fast start.
Yes, it’s better than the 4-8-3 record for 11 points they had after 15 games in 2010-11, when they finished 30th, but well off the 20 points (9-4-2) they had last season when they finished, ahem, 29th. It’s a record that’ll likely look a helluva lot worse by the time the "hurry hard" types vacate Rexall Place after the Brier – an event that puts the Oilers on the road for nine straight games.
It oughta be a barrel of laughs around here by March 12.
ARE HAVING FUN YET?
Dissecting why the Oilers find themselves where they are today makes for great copy in the daily sheets and blogs everywhere – and we’ll get a heaping helping of that in coming days and weeks by media types patrolling the rink and those nowhere near it – but the fineries of why, or why not, is wearing mighty thin with fans who expected more. Results, please.
With the fast start angle out the window, one glance at the schedule tells fans yet another season could go south in a hurry. After closing out this homestand against Minnesota and Phoenix, the Oilers embark on that nine-game swing, and it’s hardly a stroll down the garden path.
The fun begins in Chicago (they’re pretty good right now), where they play twice during the trip, and wraps up in Denver, where I’m guessing a weary outfit might have issues with altitude in the Mile High City. The other stops are in Dallas, St. Louis, Minnesota, Columbus, Detroit and Nashville.
I’m not seeing a bushel of easily acquired points on that trip. By the time the Oilers return, they’ll have played 26 games. How many points out of a playoff position might they be by then? Six? Eight? They could be closer to 15th place than eighth by then, no? Fast start my eye.
A real laugh riot, this bunch.
Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.