If there’s a silver-lining to the 5-0 speed-bagging the Edmonton Oilers took from the New York Rangers at Rexall Place Sunday, it’s that coach Dallas Eakins and his team have just seven games remaining in their dumpster fire of a season and only four of those are at home.
While there’s very little new to report in terms of the overall ineptitude and futility that’s been fodder for discussion most of this season, the particulars from this no-show included another feeble night by Edmonton’s power play, which went 0-for-5 and allowed not one but two shorthanded goals, and failure to score a goal of any kind for the ninth time in 2013-14.
Save for the lucky stiff who won $53,250 in the 50-50 draw, the faithful who hung in long enough to see who won the dough headed for the parking lot sour as the Oilers lost their 20th home game and hit 40 losses overall, dropping to 26-40-9, in the final game of a six-game homestand.
With road games in San Jose, Anaheim and Phoenix before they return home to close out the campaign against the Ducks, Colorado, Los Angeles and the Vancouver Canucks, I can’t remember a season – I got to Edmonton in 1989 – in which the fans have been pummeled numb to this degree.
As I wrote that last paragraph, I listened to 630 CHED analyst Rob Brown say he thinks all the changes this off-season will be with players, not with management. All the changes? How many people veered off the road on the drive home when they heard that?
THE WAY I SEE IT . . .
- I don’t know about you, but I feel my stomach contents rushing up my throat every time somebody refers to the Oilers as this young, exciting club loaded with offensive talent (I’ve been guilty of that myself a time or two). The Oilers have scored 184 goals in 75 games. Only three teams, Florida, New Jersey and Buffalo, have scored fewer.
- Eakins, at least, seems to recognize characterizing the Oilers high-powered on the attack is bogus. He addressed it tonight in his post-game availability with media. Addressing it on the ice in the style the team chooses to play is a different matter. Nine shutouts, six of those at home.
- If the Oilers had a power play that ranked in the top five or six in the league, you could at least make an argument that 13 shorthanded goals against isn’t a big deal. When the Oilers are sitting in the bottom third – they’re listed 23rd at 16.2 per cent – all those shorties are a big deal. The Oilers need to get back to the drawing board next season and they need somebody new drawing it up when they do.
WHILE I’M AT IT
- After scoring 17 goals in 48 games last season, Nail Yakupov has 11 in 63 games this year and is out with an ankle fracture. I laughed at people who suggested he’d score 35 this season. I had him pegged for 25, which puts me in the ranks of the over-optimistic as well.
- Speaking of over-optimistic, I wrote after the 41st game that the Oilers would be better in the second half and that I could see them playing at or near .500 (in terms of available points) even with a tough schedule. They’ll need one more to match the 62 they got in 2010-11 under Tom Renney and they hit the road 13 off the 74 they had in 2011-12.
Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.