A Comedy of Errors

On Tuesday night, the Edmonton Oilers lost a game by a 4-3 score, falling in overtime to the Phoenix Coyotes. The score and standings point flatter Edmonton, but the comedy of errors on the final goal was something not to be missed.

The Chain of Screaming

We set the scene with 17 seconds left in overtime. Jeff Petry (2) has the puck and is in a bit of trouble, but Anton Belov (77) is in good position to cover him and Petry is about to dump the puck along the boards to where Jordan Eberle (14) can recover it. Provided he does so successfully, the Oilers will have possession in the Phoenix zone with barely any time left.

Two seconds later, all is well. Eberle is under pressure from Radim Vrbata (17) and Keith Yandle (3), but he has possession and even if he somehow loses the puck Yandle is going to need to beat two defencemen back to the Oilers net. Besides which, if Eberle gets into trouble he can dump the puck along the boards and Sam Gagner (89) will be in decent position to recover it.

Well, Eberle doesn’t get it deep and worse gets cut off by Yandle after coughing up the puck. Oh well, no worries; Yandle has to beat two defencemen and he isn’t totally clear of Eberle yet. Good luck with that.

Uh oh. Petry has pinched to hold the puck in, and it’s gone off his skate. Eberle isn’t moving his legs, so he’s out of the play. Suddenly Petry’s vulnerable, Eberle’s irrelevant and Belov is the only player standing between Yandle and Bryzgalov. It shouldn’t be a problem, though, because Belov sees what’s happening and has a lead on Yandle.

Petry’s out of the play and Eberle’s somehow almost as far out of things as Gagner, who started much further back. And suddenly Belov’s lead on Yandle is looking a lot less impressive.

At this point, Petry’s in position to take the second Phoenix attacker, and Belov is in position to take Yandle. There are less than 10 seconds left. Despite some gains made by Yandle on Belov, Petry’s inability to hold the line and Eberle’s inexplicable disappearance from the frame, there’s no problem here that Belov can’t solve.

Oops. Belov went from a slight lead to neck-and-neck to being cleanly beat by Yandle. Oh well, with 8.5 seconds left he might as well wrap Yandle up in a big bear hug and let Bryzgalov get set for a penalty shot.

Or I guess Belov could let Yandle shoot. That’s not what I would have advised, personally.

Recently by Jonathan Willis

  • That loss falls 100% on Eakins. Argue whatever you want about mistakes in the game, but the line he had come out with a minute left and a defensive zone draw is laughable. Gordon (ok), Hemsky (??) and Smyth(?????????). How do we not have 2 more defensive fourth liners that can shut down for 60 seconds? Unbelievable. I was against changing coaches again for this season, because of the optics, but I might be fine with another change this summer. Unforgivable to dump 3 points like that.

  • Randaman

    Eakins has been a disaster! KLowe and his rookie assistants have been an ongoing disaster. Nero ( Katz) fiddles while Rome burns. If there is a god he will let this season end tomorrow.

    • Fossil

      You sound like a nut job. Yeah, we all get it. When Kevin Lowe was the GM he screwed this team up royally. However, where is the proof that he swayed any decision Tambo or MacT has made in the last few years? Its know it alls like yourself with no insight into what goes on in the front office that chats on the internet all day playing pretend GM that p!sses off anyone with a brain.

      • JonSwift

        Lowe’s massive ego would never let him be hands off with this team. He wants to be the guy to take the credit when things finally turn around. If he really was not involved, he would have no reason to brag about his past winning as a player to the media like he did last year and act like it has some relevance to what he is doing today.

      • JonSwift

        Actually the point I was trying to get across was that Katz is responsible for letting the madness continue by not making the changes necessary ie. getting rid of KLowe and Bucky and Smith. I would suggest that you improve your reading comprehension. Nero was a Roman Emperor who according to legend allowed Rome to burn. Inwould suggest you improve your history. And in conclusion it is obvious that you are a hypocrite by posting your insight and condemning others. What a wanker!

        • Byks

          I’m not sure if you understand the definition of hypocrite. You seem to be the one condemning others (wanker?)

          Anyways, why even reference Lowe if your point is about Katz not cleaning house? At this point, what would getting rid of Lowe do? According to you (and the other know it alls), he’s telling MacT what to do daily. Does that mean, according to your job chart, that MacT is telling Eakins how to coach the team every practice and game? Of course not. Lowe was removed from his position as GM years ago and does not call the shots anymore, he simply still has a job with the team because his buddy is the owner. So unless you have some insider info or first hand experience with evidence that you work in the organization, your opinion is moot.
          Improve your reading comprehension. My post clearly said that there is no proof that Lowe has no say in the work of the GM these days so getting rid of him would do nothing in the improvement of the team.
          Thanks for the history lesson though. I should spend less time correcting armchair hockey managers like yourself I suppose.

          • camdog

            You hit the nail on the head. I am an armchair GM. That is exactly why this site exists. So armchair critics like myself have a place to offer opinions. Now that you have joined the site I suppose that I will stop posting since you have all the answers. I await you higher than thou opinions. And ya you are still a wanker.

          • Bryzarro World

            Im just an “armchair GM” like the rest of us on here, but JustThink has a valid argument that mentioning Kevin Lowe in any house clearing scenario is redundant at this point. Hes like that upper management guy at every job whos just collecting a pay cheque at this point while he wears rose coloured glasses because he thinks his company has better assets than they actually do. The Oilers are a business afterall haha.

            That did get awkward for a bit. Seems like a couple of people on here can’t see each others point of view without it getting heated haha

      • camdog

        On the Oilers official website it states that Lowe was “integral part of the scouting/ management team that selected Hall, RNH and Yakopov.”

        On the Oilers official website it admits that Lowe was heavily involved. Now the question bigs, where else was Lowe involved in other decisions surrounding the team? If he was involved in drafting, he surely was involved in other aspects of team management, one would think…

    • Byks

      Lol, sad but probably true! Let’s hope MacT had Jan.1 circled on his calender with a list of resolutions (trades & aquisitions) he plans on following through on soon.

  • joey_10

    I watched the game off an on. Oiler’s were lucky the game wasn’t over in the first period.

    What burned me more was their power play in the OT. 4 on 3 should be an automatic goal. I know it is for teams playing against the Oilers.

    Or at least some tremendous saves provided by the opposition goalie.
    The Phoenix goal typified the Oiler season.

    thanks for doing this Jonathon and I expect all the Eberle haters out there will change their tune once he gets out of this funk . . . and he will.

  • Byks

    I couldn’t believe what I saw there. Harmless looking series of events turned into an overtime loss pretty quickly. In fact I didn’t even really notice the other breakdowns until I watched the replay (save for Belov, who caused me to scream at the TV in real time). Maybe my expectations are too high – you know, asking a defender to…defend???

    Belov’s “backcheck” has to be up there as one of the worst efforts I’ve ever seen. He just chose to let Yandle go. Maybe he was hoping it would help Yandle make team USA. Well that didn’t work either.

    I’ve been saying it for a while. It sucks to watch a perpetual loser, but it’s easier to stomach when they’re leaving it all on the ice and coming up short. It’s a totally different story when night in and night out the main story is “lack of effort”. I’m so tired of hearing that phrase. Enough is enough. How about “no forecheck, no backcheck, no paycheque”? That’ll be the day.