ABOUT THAT FAST START . . .

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.

  • I don’t mean to sound negative but really, what did we expect?

    The Oilers add two players who have never played an NHL game, and a coach who has never coached in the NHL…

    Yes, the kids are a year older and are doing very good, after that its the same team.

    I’ve said they are picking 6-9, can’t see them getting better.

    • Phixieus666

      I sorry I see this team still being in the bottom 5. You ever watch the interviews after a loss. Seriously the other teams must be thinking, oh right on we are going to play those nice guys in Edmonton. None of them seemed pissed or angry at the loss it was just a whatever, we just have to do better next time. That linesman needed to get his A$$ out of the way because he cost the Oiler’s a point. Does anyone care. NO. This team needs to grow some balls and Kruger seemed to think it was a good game. Give me Tortorella any day at least that guys shows passion.

      • I agree, I don’t see them as a lottery team but close, after this road trip we will know where they stand, with what we have seen in the past as soon as the Oilers are not in the playoff race, I fully expect the veterans to fold up shop for the year.

      • The linesman ass had nothing to do with the Oilers loss. It was the Oilers coaching staff who I blame for this one.The Kings made the adjustments and the Oilers coaching staff failed to respond in kind. Tell me why with a minute to go we are attacking? We get caught with three men up and the a hard luck bounce it winds up behind Bulin. Why isn’t theplay to chip the puck out of the zone and play for OT. No we need to attack and it cost us a valuable point that seems to be what makes or breaks alot of playoff teams. A little 4 back defence spread across the blue line would not hurt once in a while when needed. It dosen’t need to be a Picasso every night.I would have prefer that RK reign in his horses in the last minute rather than the last minute heroics this team seems intent upon.

        • Phixieus666

          Its not like they were going hard on offense at the end of the game. They were just looking for your typical zone entry and the linesman got in the way and created an odd man rush back against the two Oiler defenders. Nothing Picasso about that.

      • Wendy01

        Umm he was an associate (assistant… whatever you want to call it) and would have deferred to Head Coach Renney I believe.
        Sure I’m disappointed, but I’m in the same boat with Walter… what did we really expect? Still the same cast of characters with no size up front and defence that needs more size and toughness as well. I’m saying a trade is coming down the pipe (sorry pipeline guys). Hopefully before it all goes to heck in the next 3 weeks. Fingers crossed.

        • Phixieus666

          I say they sit on their fingers until the trade deadline. But I think they need to make a 2 or 3 for one deal. Oilers have too many useless contracts and makes it hard to acquire positions you need when you have no roster slots.

          • Wendy01

            I agree with the 2 or 3 for one concept, but maybe it will be 2 or 3 and a draft pick for 2?
            Nah…. I’m just dreaming again. Tambo is not that sly to steal a good player out from under the nose of another team. It just might be a long off season again.

      • Running the PP.

        Not being a head coach!

        Are the Oilers playing Renny’s system this year? No.

        Did the players know what to expect prior to coming to camp? Did they know what the lines would be?

        So you were well aware the type of new systems he would use? Nope, you know why? because its his FIRST year.

  • Muji

    The kids (JSchultz, Hall, Eberle, Nuge) ripped it up in the AHL – especially on the powerplay – but that team struggled to win as well.

    By eye, they are playing well and much better than last year, but the margin for error is so small that a bad bounce (like tonight) is the difference between a win and a loss. I’m not saying that they’ve been unlucky; I’m saying that the team still isn’t good enough to be impervious to the fortunes of luck.

  • And hey let’s face it. Our D is marginal by NHL standards and our bottom two lines aren’t much better. This team has to play nuts-out every game to have a chance to win. That level of play is simply not sustainable. They can pull it off for a game or two as we’ve seen, but even the top players can’t summon up the gods every shift, every game, which is about the level they have to play day-in and day-out.

    At the end of the day, the margin for error for this team is almost non-existent. Most good teams can have an off night and still eke out wins. We simply cannot do that.

    • I think it’s a combination of huge expectations brought on by the fans, media and players placed on the top two lines and almost zero support scoring from any of the bottom two lines or the D. Literally, it’s almost ZERO. That puts alot of heat on the top third of the team to carry the entire load.

      Plus, many fans are just now realizing that elite players ripping it up in a league far below their abilities isn’t exactly the most accurate indicator of success. In fact, it’s been mentioned that those guys playing in OKC may have had an adjustment period coming back to the NHL, negating all their supposed advantages of extra playing time.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Brownlee, What do you suggest? If we as fans are truly upset is there anything we can do?

    I don’t think the media in this town holds anyone accountable. But I’m not a media guy, so I don’t really know how that all works. Do you feel the main stream media are hard enough on management? Seems to me like Lowe and Tambo have got a fairly free ride the past 3-4 years.

    Is it because us as fans aren’t hard enough first? I know in a place like Montreal the media would eat the team alive for 10 years of incompetence. But is it because the fans demand it and the media as a whole follow the vibe of the city? Or is it the other way around….. Where the hard ass tone of the media puts the fanbase on edge. I’m honestly asking, I’d be curious to know what you think.

  • A Facebook page or send a tweet, eh.

    That’s about the most lazy-assed, ineffective way to approach anything, isn’t it? Everybody is for the cause as long as they can carry it out at their covenience — “Like” the Tambo must go page. FFS.

    I seem to recall more than 20,000 people signing up for a fire MacTavish FB page. When those who signed up were asked to show up for a rally at Rexall Place before a game, the media got wind of it and sent reporters to cover the protest.

    Less than a dozen people showed up. They were outnumbered by reporters. A similar attempt would have the Oilers LOL, and they should.

    You want change? No chance if your commitment to bring it about stops at anything more taxing than thumb-typing a 140-character message or signing up on FB.