Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

The Oilers net is empty and….

It can be frustrating to watch the Oilers at times, to say the least. At some points, there’s a slow start, followed by desperation towards the end of the game as the clock ticks down.

I’ve gotten used to it this year. You have to, or else you’ll be too frustrated to watch it happen. Last night, the Oilers had to pull their goalie for the extra attacker, but this time I was ready to throw in the towel and change the channel.

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What happened?

With 1:40 left in the third period, the Oilers had a face off in the offensive zone. Going with the common theme, they pulled their goalie with plenty of time left on the clock. The Oilers sent out Draisaitl, Klefbom, Nugent-Hopkins, Maroon, Sekera, and…Russell. Hold the phone — Kris Russell?

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It floored me that Russell was out there. Of all the options, that was the guy TMac wanted out there? To be fair, the shift before had Benning and Klefbom out there, so having them out probably wasn’t going to happen. But what about Adam Larsson? I’m not really too sure what happened with the Swedish defender, but he didn’t play a single shift after there was 6:14 left on the clock in the third.

Shoot your shot

Now that we’ve justified why he was out there, let’s chat about what took place next.

With precious seconds ticking away and the Oilers in full-blown panic mode, they passed the puck around the attacking zone. With arguably the most dynamic player in the world on the ice, you’d think Connor McDavid would try to save the Oilers by firing it at the net. If you thought that was what would happen, you’d be wrong.

So who took the shot to try and tie things up? Nuge, the leading goal scorer? Nope. King Leon? Nope. By now you have to be thinking, it’s Nurse, he’s looked so good all year long! Wrong again. With the puck on Russell’s stick he fired it towards the net. It was easily blocked high in the slot and the Predators were able to ice the puck. In case you were wondering which – men were out there to finish the game after that, the Oilers went with five forwards and Klefbom on the ice.

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If you follow me on Twitter, you know I’m usually a pretty positive person when it comes to games. I’ll try to find positive in anything. Unfortunately, as our playoff hopes have slipped away, so has my patience. I love to watch the team, but this one was a head scratcher for sure. I can understand why number four was on the ice, but for the life of me can’t understand why he would panic and take that shot with time on the clock and options around him. If you were in TMac’s shoes, would’ve you sent Benning out there instead?

Share your thoughts with me below.

  • Ogie Oilthorpe

    Nurse, I don’t understand why he doesn’t get more of a shot on the PP
    or with an extra attacker. I know his slap shot isn’t all there but the kid can move the puck and has a wicked wrister.

    • ShakyDS

      Nurse should have been on the ice and should 100% be getting PP time. He is the best skater of all the Dman and has a great first pass and he is always moving his feet. Plus he is the future so get him his time now. I think everyone agrees on this…well except Gregor who actually said he’d like to see Russell on the PP over Nurse.

  • BorjeSalming-IanTurnbull

    Letestu on the PP is starting to drive me crazy. The coaches jobs are at stake and they do the same thing over and over again. The definition of crazy is doing the same thing over and over again with the same results but hoping for a different result. The article is not taking in the fact that Russell is the best scoring dman on the Oilers. Which is again Crazy.

  • BringitbacklikeSlats

    That shot he made was actually pretty dangerous and he got it through to the net. He does lead the Blueline in points and the coach is obviously rewarding him for that. If you want to complain about personnel on the ice than it should be the omnipresence of Letestu continually getting nothing done.
    Otherwise save that crap for Henderson, Christian, and the holier than though Corsi crowd

  • Leaking5w-30

    I understand the desire to scapegoat….
    But seriously if you are going to write an article about a single shift maybe it’s worth considering that tmac might have russel out there because he is the top scoring d-man the oilers have.

    The oilers didn’t loose the game because russel was out there. Even if they did don’t blame tmac, blame chia for not providing this coach with better talent.

  • Heschultzhescores

    It’s time Nurse got a shot, he is easily the best skating and puck handling defenceman we have, Sekera is and Nurse, that’s our best PP unit, period! Oh, and no Letestu who has had a gazillions opportunes but can’t score with the two best set up men in the game. He clearly has pics of TMac in some compromising positions. Or TMac is stubborn beyond words or outright crazy, I can’t rule those out either.

  • Heschultzhescores

    Seriously though. Would it kill them to try something different on the PP? It makes no sense that they won’t try JP and Nurse on the first unit. At this point they say they want to improve but they do nothing to improve our chances by using the same losing formula over and over.

  • Finnaggled

    you just said “benning and klefbom we’re just out the shift prior”, and then asked if we’d “send benning out instead”. and I’m confused why you’d want Larsson out in that scenario instead, you’ve got to recognize Russell is more of an offensive catalyst than Larsson…right…?

  • Friesenhan

    He likely shot it because what’s the point of passing to any one of a bunch of guys who won’t shoot the puck? The last thing the Oilers need is another passer, especially considering their struggles with that this year. I know the team is better than what they’re showing and all, but I say rip the puck at net and cross your fingers if no one else will

  • crabman

    I am not a member of the Russel fan club but at present believe it or not he has been the teams beat offensive defenseman this year. that is a Chairelli problem. the coach having him out there wasn’t a problem. and the fact that he felt the need to shoot the puck is because the rest of the talented forwards try to pass the puck into the net and don’t take the shot.

    • jultz=2cups!??

      To me the fact that Russell has the most points is a klefbom problem. Something oilersnation doesn’t seem to wanna talk about. Because you guys love him. What’s wrong with him. Was he an overacheaver last year. I’m starting to think so…..

  • LenM

    Let us compare notes on Russell, Klefbom, and Larrson. Every game Kris Russell shows up to play. Last time I looked at the player stats Russell had GP 44, 16pts, plus1, ATOI 18:41. Klefbom GP 40, 10pts, -12, ATOI 22.36. Now let’s look at Larrson, GP 36, 4pts, -6, ATOI 21:38. It would be interesting to see the number of shots blocked by Klefbom and Larrson. I totally get it you have a man crush for Larrson. Instead of thrashing Russell on a regular basis why don”t you put your application into Chia for the head coaching position when it becomes vacant.

  • Connor McFly

    What puzzled me was the fact TMac didn’t have Puli out there. Especially after the coach said Puli was his most dngerous winger. The coach is lacking judgement IMO.

    • Fist is for tards

      Also all the guys out there were left handed shots, Puli is a right handed shot. McD setup Letestu in the slot but he needed to re-adjust the shot since it had to go across his body to get it off rather than a 1 timer a RW could do. TMac is suspect as a coach.

  • McRaj

    Seems like hating on Russell is a common theme among bloggers on this website. Baggedmilk, why won’t you give me an opportunity to blog? I can pump out blogs like this speaking my mind too.
    I agree Russ should not be out there but in my opinion neither should Maroon or Letestu or Lucic. Drai, Nuge, Connor, Puju, Klefbom, and Nurse are the 6 I’d want out there.

  • camdog

    The Oilers have had one good shift, maybe 2 with the goalie pulled all year. It’s been bad. In case people are wondering none of the Oilers d-man have looked good 6 on 5 and no d-man have looked good on the powerplay. You do have to question the hockey IQ of Oiler bloggers that think Adam Larsson brings more offence than any of the other Oiler d-man.

  • Snoop Scottie Dogg

    It’s time to face it….the Oilers are the Avs from a few years ago. Lots a talent upfront with a breakout season only to have “normal” follow up the next season. With Maroon and Letestu gone at he deadline at least there will be some new blood on the PP next year (where you guessed it; the Oilers will be terrible again).

    I’ve been a life long Oilers fan (I’m 40). Last year was weird for me. I watched the standings daily. I tracked the division like a hawk. I was alway super excited at game time. I even cried during the national anthem at their first home playoff game. Oh well, things are back to normal. I haven’t looked at the standings all year. When I watch the games it’s on PVR after the wife and kids are in bed. When things go bad I watch in 3x fast forward to limit the suffering and save some time. 🙁

    • ET

      You can’t call yourself a fan if you do not stick with your team come hell or high water. You sound like a bandwagon jumping Flames or Canucks fan, geez louise…yes I too am very frustrated with this season, I don’t think much of the work Chia has done, I too question TMac and a lot of his decisions but the Oil are my team and I will stand behind them win or lose. Come on Oil fans, let’s be true fans.

  • El Connor mcdaddy

    i love how we are all complaining that we dont have a big right shot. but Pool party has an amazing shot, and shoots right. stop looking for a quarterbacking defensmen and put pool party on the right point, on the PP or a 6X5 situation

    • Odanada

      They all need to work on their shots. Goals are scored in the top corners and up under the cross bar. Shots at the goalie’s chest run up the shot clock, but not the score.

  • TKB2677

    I don’t get a lot of decisions the coaching staff is doing lately. The PP isn’t working, it hasn’t worked for most of the season with Leon, McDavid, Letestu and Klefbom being 4 of the 5 that is usually out there. Why not give Nurse a shot in Klefbom’s spot? Whether it’s because he’s hurt, nursing and injury, a bad year or a combination of all of them, he’s not getting it done on the PP this year. So what harm can come from trying out Nurse in his spot. What’s the worst that can happen, it not score?

    Same goes for Letestu and Puljujarvi. Last year Letestu was magic and it just worked. This year it’s not. It doesn’t matter what he did last year, it’s not working this year. So try someone else. PLUS Letestu is a UFA, there is no guarantee you will bring him back or he wants to come back. So wouldn’t it make sense to put Puljujarvi in his spot now so we can get used to things so he can logically take it over full time next season and hit the groudn running?

    The Oilers are 11 pts out, the playoffs are gone. So use this time to set yourself up for next year. Figure out the best 5 to be on the PP and get a system in place that works with who you are going to have next year. Rather than trotting out the same 5, some of whom won’t be here with the team (Maroon & Letestu most likely) and using the same system and setup that isn’t working. Same goes for the PK. In my opinion, I think the issue isn’t so much the PK system doesn’t work. I say that because if it didn’t work completely, the PK wouldn’t be good on the road and so bad at home. The fact that they are so different even though the same system and same players are being used tells me that the system can work it just comes down to maybe the players not understanding it well enough to do it consistently. So take this time to change it, dumb it down or do whatever it takes so the players you have can understand it and execute it game after game consistently.

  • oilerjed

    Who in their right mind wants Benning on the ice with less then 5 minutes left in the game? Benning is a consistent turn over machine who hasn’t shown that he can either shut down the opposition or pile up some points. He should be the odd man out every night with Davidson drawing in for him. Personally I would have him back with the Barons for the rest of the season to get his game together and let Gryba sit in the pressbox.