Based on the reaction to tonight’s game on Twitter, I’ve arrived at an inescapable conclusion: the season is over. Thanks, Craig MacTavish, for trying to fix the Oilers, but now you need to go back to the drawing board. The good news is that you have just under 12 months to completely overhaul the team before the 2014-15 season starts.
In All Seriousness
Devan Dubnyk has now had two very bad games. It’s fair to note that, it’s fair to say that he needs to be better, and it’s fair to be concerned about what happens next. What’s crazy is writing him off after two bad games.
If the last 20 years of NHL history have shown us anything, it’s that people judging goalies based on their short-term results are going to be burned very, very badly. Brian Boucher has the NHL record for the longest consecutive minutes without allowing a goal – longer than Patrick Roy or Dominik Hasek or Martin Brodeur. He didn’t do it during a good run, either – the record came in Phoenix, where Boucher was (outside of those five games) miserable for two and a half years.
Oilers fans can probably recall something similar – Jeff Deslauriers’ miracle run in 2009-10. He went 5-0 on a five-game road trip, posting a 0.938 save percentage. He posted a 0.895 save percentage the rest of the way. Last year, he was a 0.902 save percentage goalie in the ECHL.
It works the other way, too. Henrik Lundqvist is one of the best goalies in the game – a guy with a far better track record than Dubnyk – and through two games with New York last year he had a 0.865 save percentage.
These runs happen. They’re basically meaningless.
While judging individuals like Dubnyk or Taylor Hall – playing out of position – over a pair of games is foolhardy, that doesn’t mean it’s too early to say a few things.
For one, Vancouver’s casual dominance in almost every category stands out. The Canucks out-shot Edmonton 44-to-23, and when the game was still in question the ratio was 22-to-8. If it was close, we might say things like ‘it was close’ and ‘the Canucks are a good team.’ But when one club ragdolls another like that, it seems reasonably clear that what’s going on right now isn’t working and isn’t likely to work.
Dallas Eakins has time – I’m not sure Twitter knows this, but there’s something like 80 games left in the season – and on Monday he gets Ryan Nugent-Hopkins back. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.