Tonight, for your viewing pleasure, two NHL teams looking for a savior to rise from these streets. The Edmonton Oilers trail Toronto by quite a bit but the Leafs are free falling with no plans to pull the chute. The Oilers are unlikely to have Taylor Hall or Benoit Pouliot and Toronto may or may not be bloodletting goalies as we speak. Why watch? Car crash! And Connor McDavid, Born to Run!
TALE OF THE TAPE
The Oilers are 11 points behind and poor on the road, but have 8 points in their last 10 games (compared to ONE POINT for the Leafs) and have turned in a 7-7-2 record since Todd Nelson began flying solo.
— HockeyNightInCanada (@hockeynight) February 6, 2015
IS THIS GAME COMPELLING?
Incredibly, yes. Once the puck drops the players on the ice will do their best to prove the team currently under the hood is plenty good enough with a few tweaks and a rubber hammer. Management? They rode out last night to case the promised land and tonight’s two points are best left with the other side. The men high above the ice surface are busily working the backstreets to find a new home for their UFA’s and audition kids from the farm. It is a bizarre time for both franchises.
- Niki Nikitin $4.5M next season before free agency summer 2016
- Justin Schultz $3.675M this year and RFA
- Mark Fayne $3.625M cap hit next season
- Andrew Ference $3.25M cap hit next season
- Oscar Klefbom, just over $1M on his cap hit
Oilers entire roster with cap hits for 15/16 HERE
And a plethora of youth including Martin Marincin who we’ll see tonight. Will the Oilers add a big piece? Phaneuf? Seabrook? OEL???? This defense is miles from being any good at all, with Klefbom and Nurse offering the best chance at delivering a quality top pairing option. How far are they from being capable of heavy lifting? Three years? I’ll say three years.
LAST 10 GAMES
Viktor Fasth has outplayed Ben Scrivens for some time now but Scrivens is the man invested in for next year. It’ll be interesting to see who gets most of the starts on this road trip.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING….
Jonathan Bernier will get the start tonight (likely) but future Oiler James Reimer had this to say last night: “We need to smarten up and play the way we can, with passion
and like men.” Losing is taking its toll in both cities.
— Jason Gregor (@JasonGregor) February 6, 2015
Today should have been a great day. With the Edmonton Oilers in town, it would have been the perfect opportunity to make fun of such a terrible, miserable, no good organization that hasn’t won crap for years and can’t seem to pull themselves out of the NHL’s basement despite first overall pick after first overall pick after first overall pick.
But no. The Toronto Maple Leafs had to go and lose their franchise record eleventh game in a row last night. They’re just as terrible, miserable, and no good an organization than the Oilers. We’ve reached the lowest of lows here, people.
GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers have an extra step late (Leafs played last night) and win the game despite an early 0-2 deficit.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins reminds old timey Leafs fans of Dave Keon. Oilers defense reminds Oilers fans they have a secret weapon in the 2015 tank battle.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers receive a royal tongue-lashing from the commentators and between period folks. We begin to hear the phrase “Leafs deserve McDavid” for the first time on national television.