The Oilers got dominated 5-1 by Toronto, the 24th place team in the league, on Saturday night. After Wednesday’s lacklustre performance vs. the Penguins, Todd Nelson expected his team’s effort to be better, but it wasn’t. In fact, it was worse.
We’ve seen that type of effort far too often the past few seasons, and I’m curious to see how Nelson reacts if his team is flat again tonight against the 23rd ranked team in the league.
Dallas Eakins never showed his frustration publicly, unless he got squirted by a tossed water bottle, and I wonder if Nelson follows the same path, or if he has the “snap factor” in his coaching repertoire. I don’t expect him to pull a Mike Yeo and go on a profanity-laced tirade, but Tom Renney, Ralph Krueger and Eakins were more patient teachers than disciplinarians.
That approached hasn’t garnered much success, granted the talent they had was not close to playoff caliber teams, but the Oilers work ethic has not been consistent enough during the previous five seasons. I wonder if a more hard-ass coaching approach would at least increase the team’s effort on a nightly basis?
The Devils are not a dominant team, and even though the Oilers are without their two fastest wingers, Taylor Hall and Benoit Pouliot, the Oilers must find a way to at least be competitive.
The first 15 games under Nelson’s watch the Oilers were in every game, but the last two games their effort was non-existent. They at least need to show up tonight.
The only line up change will be in goal. The speed of the Oilers forward group is very average without Pouliot and Hall. It illustrates another weakness in the organization. They need to improve their defence, goaltending, centre position and overall team speed.
- The entire team was terrible in Toronto so it is difficult to get a good read on any player, but I didn’t see improvements in the areas that Marincin needs to improve. He can move the puck well, and I expect him to do that, but watch him closely when he defends. He needs to improve the angles he takes to attack the forward and, as Gerry Fleming mentioned, he needs to recognize when to use one hand or two hands when engaging in a battle. The biggest difference between Marincin and Oscar Klefbom is that Klefbom can separate the man from the puck. Marincin has a long reach and decent stick, but he needs to improve his intensity when he engages in on-one-one battles.
If he can do this, then I believe he can become an impactful player for the Oilers. If not, then I don’t see him helping them out long term. He has NHL talent, but he, like many young players, needs to develop NHL work ethic and competitiveness.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…
From John Fisher at In Lou We Trust…
It’s going to be fun to see what the attendance will be for a Devils-Oilers game on a Monday night. Not that it was ever going to be hot ticket, but with the Devils being bad and the Oilers being even worse, I’m not expecting a full house. I’m sure the sales team is looking forward to it. Pro-tip for the suits on the business side: this isn’t Edmonton, the fans will not keep showing up for crappy hockey for close to a decade. Especially as you are raising ticket prices for at least parts of the arena.
GAME DAY PREDICTION: Oilers effort will be better, but they pick up their 31st regulation loss of the season with a 3-1 loss.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The ageless wonder Jaromir Jagr scores his 30th point of the season. That gives him more points than every Oiler except Hall, RNH and Eberle.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers have four players in the lineup tonight with more than 13 points, yet some still claim Edmonton is a skilled team. Even if Hall and Pouliot were dressed they’d only have six players with 14 points or more, yet at some point in the broadcast someone will mention how the Devils are a defensive team and the Oilers forte is playing a skilled, uptempo game.
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