All kinds of changes during the off season and two games in, it’s fair to say not much has changed for the Edmonton Oilers.
The Oilers looked much like the team people had hoped for the first thirty minutes of the season and have looked all too familiar the last ninety.
I don’t think there is one good thing they can take out of that Vancouver game. It was a sloppy effort all over the ice. Way too many turn overs, too many soft plays, questionable goaltending and the end result is another loss.
If this team is going to get better it has to start in their own end. It’s not just Dubnyk. Yes he has struggled but the entire team needs to make the defensive zone a priority.
This is somewhat hard to do with players that had the freedom to grow offensively and play a wide open style with few consequences in their early years but if they are going to become a winning team they have to take care of their own end.
Before Monday I’m sure Dallas Eakins will stress that compete level and attention to details like turnovers and defensive zone will need to sky rocket. The best way to fix this is by taking away a player’s ice time. I think you will start to see this happen very soon.
I’ve read and heard things throughout camp about the Oilers wanting to be a puck possession team. Right now all I see is a team that is careless with the puck all over the ice. Regardless if they don’t want to be called young anymore, this is a very unproven group that needs to make better decisions with the puck.
If there is no play to be made, they need to get the puck into safe areas and fight to get it back. A good puck possession team doesn’t mean hold onto it until you find a play or just turn it over.
Right now things are being forced and it’s a big reason the end result is a 44-23 shot differential in Vancouver and a 0-2 start.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is back and there are eighty games left.
While it’s not the start everyone wanted, there is plenty of time to resurrect the season. It’s been two games, all is not lost.
There are many things that Eakins surely wants to see changed but its way to early to think that he has been able to put his stamp on this team. Habits and tendencies that are deep rooted sadly don’t just change after four weeks of training camp. It will take time to see his type of team.
You’ve heard it before that in times of struggles or early in a season it can be nice for a team to get on the road.
It’s no sure thing but it’s funny how sometimes an extended road trip can help get some positive vibes going. You get to spend time with just your teammates and escape some of the media scrutiny. Often this can help guys relax and simplify their game.
I can’t think of a better time for a “roady” than right now.