The Edmonton Oilers are in Calgary tonight for the Battle of Alberta. The northern town’s fanbase has been so beaten down expectations are low, low, low. There is a flicker of hope, a puncher’s chance but the hockey Gods have been most unkind to Oilers Nation. Is tonight a night when good things happen?
The problem tonight’s game presents for Oilers fans is this: We can get up for the game, throw on a blessed jersey, dance like idiots and party all night, but what happens if the team doesn’t show up? Or if the team GIVES up after another softie?
Andrew Ference: “The best thing for this
team would be some wins. I’m sure it’s nice for guys to maybe get away
from the rink for a couple of days, but it’s not what’s needed to turn
the season around or make you a better hockey player.” Source
Oilers need to be better and they need their
captain to play better. I have been onside with Andrew Ference’s
signing because, frankly, I like veteran defensemen. Having said that,
the man who chose Ference as captain is no longer the coach and this would be a very good night to have a strong performance from the lettermen. Coach Nelson
- December 16 @ARI 22:50 (3:56 SH, rest at evens)
- December 18 @SJS 19:45 (2:17 SH, rest at evens)
- December 21 vDAL 22:19 (0:52 SH, rest at evens)
- December 23 vARI 15:05 (0:52 SH, 0:13 PP, rest at evens)
And Ference has tried to get this team out of the ditch:
are letting their guard down, and we’re in no position to be doing that
— to be taking a rest and relaxing. We start the period with a power
play and we’re looking for some jump. You’re looking for some momentum
and it’s a matter of falling into old habits, floating around and
expecting the other team to lie down because you’re so great.” Source
hit the news December 2nd, Edmonton’s record at that time was 6-15-4 for 16 points in 25 games. Since then, the team is 1-6-3 for a
total of 7-21-7. That could be construed as
- the “great” players tuning
out the captain
- the “great” players exposing how entitled they are
What’s the answer? I don’t know. A fan’s opinion doesn’t count as a true assessment because there’s so much we don’t know. All we can really do is speculate and hope things get better. I think that’s probably why Craig MacTavish wanted to go eyeball-to-eyeball with the group, to see if the heart of rock and roll is still beating (thanks Huey Lewis) in the crew.
NO TIMETABLE FOR MACT TO CLIMB THE STAIRS
As Nelson alluded to, plan was for Mac-t to come off bench for 27th, but am told he is likely to stay for the time being. No timeline set.
— Ryan Rishaug (@TSNRyanRishaug) December 26, 2014
Dad’s driving again so the party isn’t going to be the same. Lots of ‘lights back on’ and ‘hand check’ moments for the kids tonight. Oh well. I do feel a little for Todd Nelson though, you’d think the man would love the chance to make a difference in his own right.
OILERS SCORING LAST 10
Good arrows? Well, Teddy Purcell has enjoyed a good stretch and Justin Schultz appears to be bleeding goals-against less often. Brad Hunt is scoring well and Steve Pinizzotto is doing his job. After that? Well, I’ll ask you to have a lash: What did I miss? It sure isn’t Jordan Eberle.
- Oilers simply have to get some goaltending. If they don’t give up a soft goal maybe they can get some luck or someone comes to play. I know, I know, but it has seriously come to this.
- There are reports that Niki Nikitin will draw in. It would be very good if he could play well. I mean, the cheques cash anyway, but…..
Todd Nelson: “It’s disappointing and I understand the fans are frustrated. All I can say is that it’s a really good time for a break to get
away from the game for a while.” Source
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Mark Giordano: “Johnny Hockey turned the show on. A couple of great goals by him. For all the bad things, luck-wise, that have happened to
us lately, I think we deserved a break and we got one.” Source
- See what they’re saying about tonight over at Flamesnation
GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers play well for 9 full seconds but a Johnny Gaudreau shot off the score clock cuts through Viktor Fasth’s mask—cures cancer—and then lands in the net. 10 seconds into the game. 5-1 Calgary.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Young Flames players skate circles around Oilers youth, who are described by HNIC as an “old 23” during the broadcast.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers board a school bus after the game and drive the Greyhound milk route home as punishment.