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Photo Credit: © Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Sabres 5, Oilers 0 post-game Oil Spills: Dumpster fire

That was painful. Absolutely painful. The Oilers were riding a three-game losing winning streak and had a game against the hapless Buffalo Sabres at home. The table was set for the Oilers to continue their streak and possibly make some noise in the standings prior to the trade deadline.

But if you believe in this team, you’re going to look like a fool. The Oilers got picked apart by a team that only had nine regulation wins and a putrid -58 goal differential heading into the game. I’ll say it again — that was painful.

Highlights

From an Oiler perspective, there weren’t any highlights in that game. When you lose 5-0 to the borderline-AHL-calibre Buffalo Sabres, you didn’t do anything worth mentioning. Instead, here are some highlights from the #HereComeTheOilers hashtag on Twitter last night. It’s a lot more suitable.

By the numbers

The numbers don’t look good for Edmonton in this game, but honestly, they’re a little generous given that performance. The Oilers looked sluggish in the first, and then reached a new low when Buffalo scored a power play goal to take a 1-0 lead. Edmonton didn’t have a single high danger chance at even strength in the first period. Buffalo exploded for four goals in the second period, two of which were on the power play. All told, Edmonton had 62 even strength shot attempts to Buffalo’s 42. But, again, it doesn’t matter if your penalty kill operates at, like, a 50 per cent rate. All you have to do is get this team in the box a few times and you’re bound to score a couple of goals.

Thoughts…

  • Let’s start with some positives. Uhhh…. The third line was pretty solid. They were easily the best trio. Ryan Strome, JJ Khaira, and Anton Slepyshev, who made his return to the lineup, played with a lot of energy and dominated Buffalo in shots when they were on the ice. Al Montoya was also solid in relief. Otherwise? I’m struggling to think of anything.
  • The penalty kill was amazingly bad last night. The Sabres aren’t even good on the power play, currently sitting in 26th in the league in power play efficiency, but they managed to score three goals on four opportunities. Like I said above, Edmonton was OK at even strength. I mean, they didn’t get a hell of a lot of high danger chances on Robin Lehner, but they controlled possession at a decent clip. But it doesn’t matter at all when a team like Buffalo can unload for three power play goals just like that. Sticking with special teams, Edmonton’s power play was also shockingly useless. For a team with high-end skill in Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl plus a big, expensive pest like Milan Lucic to stand in front of the net, it really shouldn’t be this hard to score on a power play. But they can’t even get the puck into the zone properly let alone put together an effective set up.
  • How much leash does Peter Chiarelli have at this point? I get that you have to blame the players to some capacity, in that a lot of guys are underperforming expectations, but the guy building the deeply flawed, inadequate roster is certainly the one at the top of the list of blame. The Oilers just look like death out there. They’re slow and effortless a lot of the time, they struggle to generate high-quality offence despite their good possession numbers, and their blueline doesn’t excel in starting the play from the Oilers’ zone or stopping the other team from working in the offensive zone. It’s amazing that, after giving up so many high quality assets from a position of strength to fill an area of need, both areas are still inadequate. Chiarelli has pissed away a lot of talent in his two-and-a-half years at the helm, and, at this point, can you trust him to pull the trigger on another deal?
  • Rock11

    Not sure how the entire coaching staff doesn’t get fired after a night like that. Its not like they have been demonstrably making this team better and preparation, effort, and special teams are all generally thought of as within the coaches purview. Maybe the firing of Chiarelli is nigh so he wont be allowed to make any major changes but something has to give here as that performance(if we can call it that) was unacceptable.

    • Glencontrolurstik

      I think that Katz is amused that we all have this loyalty to this team & his pocket book??? He can overpay everyone & laugh in the fact it’s still “raking-in”… That seems to be his demented game?

  • 99CupsofCoffey

    Amazing ineptitude on the PP. The whole team just shuts down. The coaches are the first to blame. for a while, it was 3 for 3 PP goals for the Sabres, 0 for 2 PP goals Oilers. That just cannot happen, but the powers that be have let it go on ALL YEAR.

  • That's My Point

    Start with the PP. Get coaches who have more than one plan when setting up. Other teams know what the Oilers do, so why not change it up. Keep it simple. Screen the goalie to tip and get rebounds. Shoot from the point not the beside the net in the corners where there is no angle for the puck to go in.

    On the PK try playing the box and if the opposition adjusts, play the diamond or some other formation but keep box keep changing if the opposition adjusts. Skate hard, block the passing lanes, take the man and shoot it down the ice.

    On 5×5: try checking the other team by taking them out of the play. Skate hard with short shifts until you get some breaks where the Oilers skill might come out. Not getting a player to play with McDavid isn’t working. He passes it to himself along the boards and will wear himself out if the GM doesn’t get immediate help.

    • Hemmercules

      There was an article back in late November wondering why they don’t change up the PP a bit. Try something different, new mindset. Almost 2 months later and the same conversation………..I get the feeling management doesn’t really care at this point and the players are starting to follow suit.

  • Dapper Dan 3099

    I watched my dog take a poop in the cold yesterday and watched it steam in the cold….as i sat there looking at it through my window, it reminded me of this “team”, and in the end it that was still less crappy and more entertaining than the game (or this season has been)…

    on a serious note, for the rest of the year can we just automatically credit the other team a goal when we take a penalty and not waste our time, just give them a goal and keep playing 5 on 5…

    …I am officially scared for the offseason, something that has this crap level will typically cause the organization to make another bad move to try and fix it……I’m calling it now, Gretzky will be our GM at the draft….and the circus continues….

  • LAKID

    The coaching staff has to be shaken up and someone has to be held accountable. The coaches play who they are given so Chia better get some magic done before he is terminated and I would think he cannot make trades on his own without approval now (one would hope). The players, get rid of Lucic at all cost and sign Maroon to a 3 year deal. Trade Talbot and put Montoya on waivers before he reaches 7 games and we lose our 4th round pick in the deepest draft class in recent years. trade for or sign a legitimate # 1 goalie that does require leg braces to stand up, the entire NHL shoots high on Talbot and score! The season is lost so call up Ellis and LB and make the charge to last 5.

        • LAKID

          One more thing to add to getting rid of Lucic and his contract is to do it with the firing of Chia and do it when they are on the road and do classy like Florida send them both home on a Greyhound!

          • NoBuBlackOPS

            @ Lakid I can’t reply to your reply for some reason. Waivers are a no go cause you only get like 960k of cap relief. That being said if we placed him on waivers as he cleared he’s still a 5mil cap hit even if he’s in the minors.

        • NoBuBlackOPS

          Only problem with that is any offer we get for looch is going to anchor the team down even more. Doing a one for one trade for a equally bad contract doesn’t help seems like a sideways move. Trading him for anything remotely positive will have us retaining a portion of his salary most likely the max allowed 3mil. With poos buyout and possibly retaining half of loochs contract that’s close to 4.5mil of dead cap space for the next three years. That sounds like a really bad idea to me especially giving the new contracts needed this summer. I don’t see anyone signing off on trading him for a 3+ rounder just to dump the contract. Not to mention that very few teams would be willing to take on a virtually buyout proof contract or have the cap space to do it.

          • LAKID

            I totally agree NoBu, there has to be away to get rid of him, Waivers? I doubt anyone takes on that contract but Lucic isn’t bringing anything to the team right now and has not for most of the season. Can you fire him?

          • Stallions #35

            Only way… if these teams are desperate and crazy enough to take on Looch…find a team that is a cap bottom and sweeten the pot to entice them to take Looch.

    • Dougie_Sharms

      Mr. Lakid, what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this forum is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

      • LAKID

        Not even one? I mean 1 point for participating? You know the 1 point that Chia and Lucic’s Oiler’s cannot even achieve against the Sabres, the 30th place team in the league not even a tie? Dougie_Sharms I will wrestle with this your opinion until ……wait it’s over.

    • Kneedroptalbot

      LAKID, I agree with you. Lucic and that terrible contract will be near impossible to move though. Good thing we only have 1 more yr on Talbot’s contract, don’t know how much he’s worth right now. He is 41st in NHL in sv% and GAA. Think about that for a moment… only 31 teams. 10 backups (qualified goalies) have better stats right now than Cam Talbot. Maroon does everything Lucic does, similar age and stats at less than half the cost too. I wonder if there is any way Antti Raanta is available from Ariz.? His stats are decent on a team that gives up a ton of shots.

  • Oil Vice

    So tired of defending this team. Somebody do something…anybody do anything…last year was like we as fans were released from solitary confinement after the dreaded DOD. Then after a hot shower and good meal they tossed us back in…we don’t even have any movable assets to acquire anything that can positively impact this team. I now blame scouting and whoever hired those scouts.
    Unfortunately it’s dated back further than Chiarelli’s hiring. The playoff appearance just made everyone forget it for a year.

    • Glencontrolurstik

      You want the epitome of embarrassment????
      I took my daughter to the Canucks / Kings game last night…
      Wore my Oilers cap (because, I really can’t wear anything Canucks,… it burns), Anyway, (and I’m sure all of you can feel my pain)… “Out of town scoreboards are from the Devil”… The Canucks Fans??? OMG… I had to take one on the chin for all of us…
      I felt like I was sitting there dressed up like a chicken…
      The things we go through, being fans of this team… and what for???

      Anyway?

    • corky

      It is normal. Team overachieves. Opponents figure overachievers out. Team believes hype written about them and thinks wins will come easy. Things dont go to plan.

      • Dapper Dan 3099

        I agree man….but holy GOD!!! we have the best player in the NHL, we have a decent offense (on paper) and seeing what happened last year….how do our special teams plummet to a HISTORICALLY record setting low….im at a loss on even giving suggestions on how to fix this….I just worry McDavid doesn’t say f*ck this, I’m out!

        • corky

          Which circles us around to why the Oilers didnt address special teams awhile ago with a specialist. Add the english lessons for JP too. Why do the Oilers always have to be reactive and never proactive? Get ahead of the curve once in awhile Oilers!

          • Dapper Dan 3099

            once again I agree….I honestly don’t see a solution to this mess with some of the contracts we are stuck with….ie Lucic, Russell….I just don’t get it, im just hoping to wake up and find out this is just a bad dream….honestly the only hope is that this is an off year….kind of like Colorado, Winnipeg last year….

  • Derian Hatcher

    I may be wrong, and feel free to tell me if I am, but where is the players accountability in all of this? The coaches don’t tell 27 to give the puck to the other team every shift. I’m sure they don’t tell 91 to make sure he glides in on the forecheck when he’s F-1. They don’t coach 19 to NOT cover his D-man when he pinches and then do a lazy backcheck. How about 83 and his weak backhands up the boards. I could go on and on but we all see the same putrid lack of effort and dismal execution every game.
    Yes the coaching has been brutal but the effort level of most of the players is embarassing – or should be.

  • Spydyr

    Expect coach Coffey and GM Gretzky along with assistant Gm Messier to be announced after the season because Katz. We all know how well this has worked in the past.

    • Rock11

      That is probably the first comment you have ever made that I agree with. Even a blind squirrel right? Nicholson needs to prove he is more than a yes man, fire Chia and hire the assistant GM from Nashville who seems to be the industry consensus as the next great GM. Let that GM hire his own coach and tell the boys on the bus to go sit in the back and play some cards with the owner.

    • Hemmercules

      The team is in the basement. Coffee, Mess and 99 can’t do any worse can they??

      I say do it. The team is already a joke, might as well take it all the way. I actually cant wait to see Mess back there. Get Huddy back there too, maybe Bucky and Mact running practice. Fuhr goalie coach. Get the old boys all back together, why just stop at a couple?

    • Derian Hatcher

      Maybe Mess can go into the room and look at every one of those pretenders and challenge them to have some pride in themselves. If he got in their grills most of them would pi$$ their pants. Effortless, overpaid, entitled, prima-donnas.

  • Big Jacks Meat

    At this point I am not sure the best hockey team in this city plays in the NHL.
    I watched Minor Hockey week , Oil Kings and more. Just Saying. Tired of the talk of don’t panic and make a drastic move. I don’t care if its the assistant coaches, someone needs to go. Chia , you are on my list as #1.
    You fluked off a cup.

    • Glencontrolurstik

      Couldn’t agree more,… been that way for a few years…
      Definitely more affordable… And much greater value in watching players actually work & are wanting to be on the ice… (Go Wheatie’s Go)…

  • T&A4Flames

    I wonder, now, with this terrible season for the Oil, will the mouthy arrogant trolls that like to think they know everything still come over to FN and pretend they are poised to win a cup this coming summer? Will you idiots finally learn that an approach of caution and maybe slight optimism and not spouting off about your “greatness” might be a better approach?

    • MrBung

      As for the trolls…pot meet kettle.

      The problem was the players and management buying into the hype and losing objectivity. I think TMac was worried given his early season interviews.

    • McDavid's Comet

      You come here to b!tch and whine about Oiler fans trolling, yet here you are… we too have a share of fLames losers trolling here. Go cry to Mama Moderator on FN dumba$$.

      • T&A4Flames

        So nothing learned. Won another lottery, troll flames fans and act all high and mighty again that ‘this’ will be the prospect that puts over the top.
        Enjoy your lottery party and kick ass GM. BOYZ ?

        • McDavid's Comet

          Hmmm… not sure what’s to be learned here, don’t see anyone on ON “acting all high and mighty” however, I do see you crying and whining about trolls and yet you are here. Once again, if you have a problem with trolling on FN then go cry to Mama Moderator and perhaps she will change your diaper for you, stop being a baby or don’t read the trolls posts. ??

  • Svart kaffe

    Who’s the harshest m-f-ing old school a-hole of a coach available at this point? I want that guy behind the bench. Seriously. And I despise that kind of coaching but this team deserves it.

  • I do not wish anyone to get fired, but I was expecting (Or wishful thinking) that someone, anyone was fired. When I watch this club, I do not see desire, passion, urgency, NOTHING. Something has to change…now. Send some players down, sit some players in the Press Box and I am not talking your usual suspects…this is total B.S.

  • GK1980

    Crazy thought and will never happen but imagine if they just sat McDavid the rest of the year and then they can really see what kind of team they really have. Good way to assess for next season.

  • Rick Carriere

    Chiarelli has to go….lets see..Taylor Hall,Jorden Eberle and Matthew Barzel(New York Islanders)for Larson,Strome and Reinhart???…are you kidding me??..I could do better….and that is only a part of it..he did nothing during the summer to address obvious needs…who will ever trust him for a trade again???……no one I hope…

  • DannyGallivan

    It is Hockey Cancer. Goes throughout most of the organization and is on display when the fans watch the on-ice product. What makes me sad is the players don’t seem to care – there is no work ethic. Thank God we won the McDavid Lottery. We have arguably the best player in the world and the team is pathetic. Imagine if we had not won that lottery. The snake rots from the head down, CHIA HAS GOT TO GO. I don’t understand why TM can’t get the players to give a S&*%. In this team the difference between winning and losing is 5% more effort. This season is done. Time for more change….did I mention Chia. The sad part, I don’t care if they beat Calgary as it doesn’t matter anymore….. we made Jan 24 before we knew we had virtually not chance at the playoffs: Woot Woot!