The Edmonton Oilers take to the ice against a famous opponent tonight. Some of the grandest scripts in franchise history were written against the men from Philly and one day a game like tonight might mean something for both sides. Tonight? Running out the string. Important things can happen during these times and for the Oilers it’s all about good health for Chance and the developing department of youth.
There are higher quality videos of the goal available online but I like this one. It shows—effectively—just how long ago it was, when giants walked among us. The Flyers and Oilers have roamed the NHL since that day with varying degrees of success but since 1990 spring it’s been a terrible dry spell. Philadelphia lost in the finals in 1997 and 2010, the Oilers made it all the way back in 2006 but fell short against the Carolina Hurricanes.
WILL WE GET BACK AGAIN?
In the long history of a company or sports franchise, there are actually precious few major moments of change or shuffle. For good reason, the organization aims for stability and tries to reach a repeatable success. If we look at the Oilers and divide by era, we get:
- The Boys on The Bus (1979-1990)
- The Boys on The Bus Coda (1991-1993)
- The Weight Era (1994-1999)
- The Boys on The Bus Storm the Main Office (2000-06)
- The Boys on The Bus Submarine the Brand (2007-2014)
Is that about right? I think it is. There are two ways out of this:
- Craig MacTavish follows his plan to build via youth and the draft (which, by the way, is always the right plan—building with youth procurement)
- Replacing the management group and hiring someone like Jim Nill to run the show.
Fair warning on that second option: The new guy, if he’s worth his salt, is going to tell you that there is no quick fix and that trading youth is the definition of insane. The mistakes of the past are the mistakes of the past, but I don’t see any benefit in trading Taylor Hall for 60 cents on the dollar in an effort to improve the defense of this team.
Which is far different than saying the Oilers should stay the course with this management group. I think it’s important to remember a smart, veteran GM might in fact do the same thing Craig MacTavish is going to do this summer: Keep his powder dry.
RYAN JONES SAYS….
Former Oilers winger Ryan Jones had a few interesting words about the Oilers situation currently and the frustration felt by all:
“That rebuild word.. I’ve always hated it, even when I was there. It
just means that you’re giving up on that year. Rebuild, they’ve used it
for a few years and it was almost a write off for that current year.
They need to get away from that. They’re not rebuilding anything
anymore. The organisation has so much history, it’s won so many games,
they don’t have to rebuild much, they just have to find a way to win
hockey games“ Source
Ryan Jones says they’re not rebuilding but if that’s the case, how do you justify trading David Perron and Jeff Petry for role players and picks? They’re still rebuilding, folks. I’ll be very interested to see if the club deals that Penguins pick at the draft. It’s one thing to have that in mind, it’s another to get full value and quite another to pass on a draft pick that may deliver something very good. If your scouting director tells you the player available when the Pittsburgh pick pops up, what then?
The draft is going to be incredible drama this summer. Craig MacTavish has repeated what previous Oilers’ GMs have done: Go to the draft, discuss Coburn or Schneider, but come home with draft picks. We hoped for the best but it turned out the same.
TALE OF THE TAPE
The Oilers played very well earlier in the week against Columbus. If they bring the same level against the Flyers it’ll be a W and many Oilers fans will be happy (and almost as many will be devastated because McEichel).
- C Connor McDavid, Erie Otters (OHL) 46GP, 43-75-118 (2.57)
- C Jack Eichel, Boston U (NCAA) 35GP, 22-41-63 (1.80)
- R Mitch Marner, London Knights (OHL) 63GP, 44-82-126 (2.00)
- D Noah Hanifin, Boston College (NCAA) 36GP, 5-18-23 (.639)
- C Dylan Strome, Erie Otters (OHL) 66GP, 40-81-121 (1.83)
There’s your top of the draft ladies and men, who do you like at No. 3?
Top Scorers Last 10 games:
- Jordan Eberle 10GP, 4-11-15
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 10GP, 4-10-14
- Benoit Pouliot 9GP, 5-2-7
- Nail Yakupov 9GP, 3-4-7
- Justin Schultz 10GP, 1-5-6
The projected lineup from DailyFaceoff.com
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…
In the final match of a four-game road trip through Canada, Craig Berube’s Philadelphia Flyers (29-29-15) will take on Todd Nelson’s Edmonton Oilers (19-39-13). Game tie at Rexall Place is 10:00 p.m. EDT. The game will be televised locally on CSN Philadelphia.
This is the second of two meetings between the inter-conference teams this season, and the lone game in Edmonton. On Nov. 4, the Flyers earned a 4-1 home win over the Oilers.
The Flyers played on Tuesday night in Vancouver and Thursday in Calgary. Following this game, which is the team’s 11th in 21 days, the Flyers will have three nights off and just one game in five nights in a stretch that will the club play just twice over the remainder of March. Six of the Flyers’ final eight games are at home.
The Oilers are in the third game of a six-game homestand. They hosted the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday and Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday before back-to-back idle nights. On Monday of next week, the homestand continues with a game against the Winnipeg Jets.
GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers have their legs from the start and build a quick (and unusual) 3-0 lead. Taylor Hall scores early. Yadda yadda yadda, the game goes to overtime.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: HNIC broadcast calls Ryan Nugent-Hopkins a “10th-line center” just because they can!
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: HNIC broadcast doesn’t actually mention the Oilers during any of the intermission segments of the game.