After a weekend of sharing the same bed with Wanye in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, I have a lot of catching up to do. Please forgive me for being a couple days behind, I’m still haunted by the awkward leg touches as I’m sure many of you are haunted from the Oilers weekend. I figure I’ll weigh in with my two cents even if I’m behind.
Not much on the ice has changed in "Oilerland" I see, just more of the same inconsistencies, and no results. I’m not going to dive back into each game and dissect them because it’s the same things that are costing them. To many turnovers, poor defensive zone play, and a lack of any physical element to their game. It’s tough to win in this league with those deficiencies.
I struggled a bit with seeing Ladi Smid moved. In past years I’ve never gotten to watch many Oiler games but I remember playing Smid and he was always a nuisance if you were in and around the Oiler net. He was annoying during and after the play.
Nothing was different this year from that standpoint. I saw him as the only guy that made it tough to be in front of the net or got in someone’s face when a teammate needed. He wasn’t the toughest or scariest guy in the world but he was the only guy that I saw that was willing to do it every night on this blue line. A willingness to compete and be uncomfortable for your teammates is a great thing in any dressing room.
This team needs a shakeup no doubt and I know with the Bryzgalov addition something had to give but when the main concern people have with this team is the makeup and the Oilers having too much soft small skill, why ship out the only guy on the back end that didn’t play a soft game?
I have seen some who are concerned with the Ilya Byzgalov addition to this locker room and I can understand the concern. I just don’t see at this point how can it get any worse?
The team is a mile below .500 and whatever is happening in that dressing room at the moment would appear to be rock bottom. It’s not all Dubnyk’s fault, he’s played great at times and struggled during other stretches but if there is a cheap opportunity out there to potentially get better, I think at this point you take it.
The hope is this guy has learned from his antics in Philly and can provide some depth at the position and maybe the Oil get a bargain moving forward. Thinking somehow this guy is going to come in and hurt a locker room that was 4-11-2 and has since chalked up 2 more losses, I don’t quite understand.
Many goalies are a little different to begin with, if he’s a problem in the room or hurting the focus of young players on the importance of winning then it’s a one year deal and you move on. He can still be sent to the minors or sent home if things get stupid this year as well.
They aren’t winning as is, so I don’t mind the gamble at all. I just wish they didn’t move Smid to do it.
He’s slowly starting to catch some heat here for the start to the season he’s had. Coming off his injury, it obviously hasn’t been the start to his already shortened season that he envisioned but what did you really expect? Struds did a piece on him at the start of the year and how behind the eight ball he would be coming back from this injury and the awful timing of it to boot.
TO PLAY OR NOT TO PLAY
This is such a tough decision for players. The majority of athletes will do whatever it takes to be with their team even if they are not 100% healthy. This leaves players very vulnerable to scrutiny if they are not performing. Lost in it all is the fact he’s hungry to play and willing to sacrifice his body for his teammates.
The players know what he is enduring and I’m sure they love him for it. I’ve played with several guys that had to be 100% healthy for 2 weeks before suiting up. This didn’t always sit well inside the walls of a dressing room because rarely is anyone that healthy during the season.
It’s easy to pile on guys right now when things are going bad and things haven’t been good for Ganger so far, but let’s give the guy some credit. How easy would it have been for him to sit back and say “boy things are going rough around here, I’m just going to let the boys handle this rough patch and I’ll sit up here in this cozy press box for a couple more weeks, till things settle down.” Some guys would do that.
This is a guy that’s still clearly hurting, you can see it on the bench when he takes any kind of hit and instead of taking the easy route he chose to dive head first into this fire with his teammates.
He’s another small skilled guy and who knows what the future may hold for him and others on this squad the way things are going but I applaud him for his gutsiness even if things haven’t started that great. I wouldn’t have expected much else from a guy with a shattered jaw, injuries take time.
BATTLE OF THE BLADES
If you missed it, please don’t forget to vote for our friend Struds who was in the final last night on CBC. If he wins, a nice chunk of change will be donated to a local charity here in Edmonton, The Inner City Children’s Program.
With as much losing that is going on around here, let’s all step up to get a big win for Struds and a great local charity. It’s not too late, please vote here.