This Is Fine

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This is fine.

The Oilers lost Connor McDavid on Tuesday. Breaking his left
clavicle after careening into the boards dangerously, the timetable for
McDavid’s return is “Months”. Plural. The team lost the most dynamic skater on
the roster, maybe the most dynamic skater in the league. His skill is
undeniable, his speed is breathtaking, but how will his absence affect the
club?

The good news is that the Oilers happen have a little bit of
depth when it comes to high-end young offensive players. Connor McDavid is
leaving the Oilers but Jordan Eberle is coming back. It’s not a one for one swap,
but at least it’s a top sixer for another top sixer.

Jordan Eberle has been Edmonton’s most consistent offensive
performer for several years. He’s a 60 point player in a league where 60 point
players aren’t all that common. He finished the last season in the top 40 in league
scoring, hovering around the the likes of Jeff Carter, Marian
Hossa, and Zach Parise.

Eberle’s return to the Oilers is a boost of NHL experience
on a team driven now more than ever by kids. He’s 25 years old and has less
than 400 games played in the NHL, but he’s a leader on the club and in the
prime of his career. He’s been carrying mail for the hockey club since he started. If there’s someone ready to handle the pressure of trying to
make up for the loss of a Connor McDavid, it’s Jordan Eberle.

I’m OK with the events that are unfolding currently.

is

Leon Draisaitl has stepped into the NHL this season and done
absolutely nothing except rip up the league. I’ve been bullish on Draisaitl for
a while now and you can see why. He has the combination of size and skill that every team in the
Western Conference needs. He’s going to be a star in the NHL. I really believe
that.

In the 37 games he played last year he mustered only nine points. In three games
this year he already has seven. Last year he was also Edmonton’s top possession
performer. It’s a tiny sample size but he’s number one again right now. Just like
his offensive numbers we can’t go projecting an entire season of dominance
based on three games, but it’s a hell of a start.

Leon Draisaitl is the reigning Memorial Cup MVP, Western
Hockey League playoff MVP, and can solve the Rubik’s Cube in under a minute.
What we’ve seen so far is that he can be a one-shot scorer on a line with
skilled players like Hall and Nugent-Hopkins. Right now it looks like he’s going to be
the centre on that top line, at least for Friday’s game.

The big German forward can play every forward position and from rookie camp all the way through training camp he looked fantastic. The desire to have him “over-percolate” in the minors was valiant, but misguided. He has the skill, size, and desire to play in the NHL. He doesn’t need to learn how to beat AHL defenders. He doesn’t need to learn how to score on AHL goaltenders. The lessons he needs to learn are taught in the NHL only.

He wasn’t ready a year ago. Today he’s going to prove he can
shoulder the load.

That’s, Okay. Things are going to be Okay.

fine

The Pacific Division is terrible. The Oilers lost the last
generational player to enter the league in 10 years, but this is also probably
the worst their division has looked in 10 years. If there’s any season in which
this kind of a loss could be handled, it’s this one.

The best team in the Pacific so far is Los Angeles and they
are only six points up on the Oilers. That’s it. After the Kings it’s the Canucks, who
aren’t convincing anyone that they’re actually any good. The San Jose Sharks
follow them and are somehow less scary than ever before. Arizona is shockingly still a franchise but that could change at any moment.

Then we get to Edmonton. No, seriously.

The Oilers today are ahead of the Flames and the Ducks. If
you think the Oilers are completely out of the race for a playoff spot already
you would be sorely mistaken. The division they play in is so dreadful that
even the Oilers could still claw their way up to third.

Connor McDavid needed surgery to repair his collarbone, but
it’s fine. Everything is fine. The Oilers can still pull this off.

The season isn’t over.

It’s fine.

This is fine.

  • LibrarianMike

    It sucks that McDavid got hurt but I also do not think its as bad for the team as some people are claiming. The fact is that McDavid was a massive bonus for the franchise, but there is a ton of skill on this team already. The problem was and is defense. Goaltending has improved. Defense appears to be improving. This team should be able to pull off some wins despite losing McDavid.

  • LibrarianMike

    If the Oilers ever want to make the play offs, they have to make it as a team. Meaning, the D / Bottom 6 can’t just stand around waiting for the elite players like Hall, Eberle, Nuge, McDavid and Drasatil to carry them. In my opinion, the only way to really make this happen is to remove those players from the equation.

    Yes, it sucks, that the very exciting, dynamic, intelligent, highly likeable and quite possibly the second best player on the team has a massive injury that’s going to sideline him for months. But if the Oilers can pull their sh*t together and start winning with out him, imagine how sweet it will be when he comes back.

    • Tony Montana

      I would say there are probably two schools of thought on that.

      .500 hockey is either

      A)Wins >= losses and overtime losses

      or

      B) Wins >= losses with loser points effectively being viewed as the same thing as a tie.

      For all intents and purposes B is probably correct from the context of possible points you could have earned in those games. However I would consider A to be .500 hockey.

    • Jay (not J)

      It’s not 4 points in 4 games anymore, is it? Well I guess it might be, but it could also be 6 in 4, or 5 for that matter…
      I never had a problem with the tie games before, but I wasn’t polled.

  • Danglishish

    Yes losing CMD is a bummer but I think it gives the rest of the team a chance at the spotlight. All the hype surrounding Connor casts a large shadow on the other stars on this team. I’m hoping that this setback helps to get these guys to gel better and start becoming a “team” instead of individual players. Start having each other’s backs more in scrums and having EBS back will definitely help. I think Hall tries to do it all on his own when he gets the puck, not sure if it’s tunnel vision or he thinks he has to carry the play or that he’s just a puck hog. I don’t think there’s anything wrong w/the goaltending we’ve got from Talbot either. He’s kept us in a lot of the games so far this year, the oilers D gives up so many quality chances it would be ridiculous to blame any of the losses solely on Talbot. Yea he let in a couple softies vs Calgary and his giveaway from behind the net had me thinking about sievens last year but he’s been pretty solid. The defence is getting better…patience, they’re coming along. My two cents.

    • Jay (not J)

      Yeah, but what does ‘.500’ mean? As I understand it, it means that you have WON 50% of your games, not earned 50% of the available points. Sports that don’t use points in the standings but just a win/loss refer to a team which has won half of its games as a .500 team.

  • LibrarianMike

    500 hockey is when you have earned the same amount of points as your opponent has, ie a 0-0-82 record means you have won no games and lost no games . You have received 82 ( loser) points but your opponent has garnered 164 points.