There’s no excuse for the performance we saw last night. Instead
of making a statement about the future of this club, the Oilers opted to leave
the fans with a scrap-book with cut-outs of failures a decade in the making.
Remember those times none of us showed up to play?
Remember those times we made replacement level goaltenders
look like All-Stars?
Remember those times we traded quality defensemen for magic
Remember all the fears you had about our sieve-like goaltending?
Remember them? Do you? Guys?
Yeah, we remember. Thanks for taking the opportunity to
remind us again though. Not sure it was needed, but no Oiler season is complete
without breaking our hearts in April. Mission Accomplished!
The mood of the fans after the game was foul. The frustration
was palpable enough that a lot of people gave their permission to the team (not
that it was needed, though it was given anyway) to trade everybody not named
Connor. Can you blame them? The second last home game of the year against the
city’s natural rival and they lay an egg. Pathetic.
It wasn’t just the fans who were angry about the way the
game unfolded. Todd McLellan had an epic rant about the bullshit (his word)
that his team has been up to for the entire season.
Took the liberty of transcribing Todd McLellan’s rant. It’s possibly more impressive in text form: pic.twitter.com/LHTJLF1ck0
— Mike Halford (@HalfordPHT) April 3, 2016
He was clearly embarrassed by the effort the players gave. Again,
who wouldn’t be?
Still, it’s times like this where I’m glad the Trade
Deadline has passed. Lord knows if a lot of people had their way the Oilers
would tear this whole thing down and start over. Trade Hall. Trade RNH. Trade
Eberle. Trade them all.
The Edmonton Oilers are in danger of throwing out the baby
with this filthy bath water. And make no mistake, this bath water is truly
rank and there are a lot of babies.
We’re looking around for people to blame this performance on
because surely someone has to bear the responsibility for this mess. And it’s
true, the players themselves have no excuse for their effort last night, but
let’s not confuse last night’s game with this whole season.
Jordan Eberle is to blame for that wretched attempt at a
back-check, but he didn’t assemble this defense. He didn’t injure all of his
most skilled teammates. There’s a lot of wrong with this team but the biggest
problems are about who’s not on the roster more so than who’s on it.
Going into this season there were a lot of outsiders looking
at the defense wondering how success was at all possible. On the most
optimistic evaluation of the blueline the Oilers still needed at least one more
When Schultz failed to take a step forward, that one more
impact defender quickly turned into two more impact defenders needed. Then
Oscar Klefbom goes down to a broken hand and follows up with a nasty staph
infection. All of a sudden the Oilers are down three impact defenders.
There’s no long term success down that many quality
blueliners. As a quick reminder, the only two Oiler defensemen in last night’s
lineup who HAVENT spent time in the AHL this year were Sekera and Pardy – And Pardy
has only played 21 games.
It’s important that we separate the individual game from the
entire season. The two are not one and the same. Blast Hall. Blast Eberle.
Blast Nugent-Hopkins. Blast everyone involved in last night’s tragedy of a
game. But let’s take a minute to remember that it hasn’t been this bad all year.
Just the other day, McLellan was talking about how he was
happy that his team wasn’t “folding their hand” at the first sign of adversity.
I know it’s not popular to say this right now, but the Oilers don’t need to rip
down this rebuild and start over just because of a bad Saturday night game.
They need to make changes. They need to move someone who is very talented up
front to fill more pressing holes on defense, but that’s not the same thing.
Change is coming to the Edmonton Oilers. They can’t keep
going forward as is and hope to be a Stanley Cup contender. We knew that before
the team wasted my Saturday night playing the role of Spoiler to any possible
nostalgia I might have experienced.