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Seravalli: Jay Woodcroft’s leash as Edmonton Oilers head coach ‘getting shorter by the day’
By Zach Laing3 months ago
Just days after the topic of Edmonton Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft’s role behind the bench was in jeopardy, another hockey insider saw the temperatures rising.
Saturday saw the likes of Sportsnet’s Mark Spector making a note about a potential firing being on the table, while TSN’s Ryan Rishaug went so far as to say things are reaching critical mass.
And on Monday morning, Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli, who is very connected to the Oilers organization, said Woodcroft’s leash is “getting shorter by the day.”
“I think you see an effort Saturday against the Preds, and that really raises some red flags,” Seravalli said on Monday’s edition of Daily Faceoff Live. “There were a few other ones that raised some red flags earlier this season.
“It’s really tough because we just briefly talked off the top about how atrocious the Oilers’ goaltending has been to this point, and you say, ‘Jay Woodcroft certainly wouldn’t be the first head coach to pay a significant price for a goaltending tandem that’s hit a rut.’
“But when I look at this team, it feels like a lot more than just the goaltending. Yeah, there’s been a few nights I think they’ve been unlucky, and I think there’s a few stats you can point to — especially their 5v5 play and maybe some expected goals — where you say, ‘This is a team who probably should have better results right now than they do.'”
As Seravalli noted, and as I’ve opined in recent columns, those numbers do, in fact, show the Oilers should have better results than they do. Among all teams at 5v5, they’re second best in the league at controlling shot attempts with 57.42 percent of the share, the fifth best scoring chances share at 56.88, the second best high danger scoring chance share at 61.78, yet, they own the fifth worst goal share at 40.48 percent even with their expected goal share at 57.35 percent.
But in Seravalli’s eyes, that can only get Woodcroft and this team so far.
“They’re at 10 games played, and I know Connor McDavid referenced the idea they started 7-3 last year, and after 20 games were 10-10,” he said. “Can they get to that point where they’re 10-10? Yeah, I think they could, and they could find themselves squarely back in the mix.
“But to borrow a phrase from Yogi Berra, it’s getting late early here. The Oilers have exactly 10 games to figure this out, no more than that, before it become a mathematical equation they won’t be able to solve for in the final 62 games of the year.
“It’s crunch time, it’s go time, and it begins with some teams they’re looking up at in the standings and chasing when you’ve got Vancouver, Seattle, San Jose, other teams they need to pile up points against. All of a sudden, you look up and it’s 14 points, or 16 points down to the Canucks, and that’s a team a lot of people saw as a wild card team to start. There’s a lot of work to do, and that seat is only getting hotter and hotter.”
Edmonton looks to get back on track tonight taking on the Vancouver Canucks.
You can listen to the full episode of Daily Faceoff Live below.
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Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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