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Three Key Things: I think the Oilers forgot they played yesterday

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Photo credit:Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
baggedmilk
6 months ago
With other writers set to handle most of the Wrap Ups this season  — I’ll still be grabbing some of them occasionally — I decided to do something a little different with my post-game coverage this year. Instead of cranking out game summaries as I have for most of the last 10 years, I want to zero in on a few key moments from every game and spend more time on something specific. To kick off the series after opening night, I’m looking at what the hell went wrong and why the Oilers looked so bad in their first game of the year.

THE OILERS WERE SLOPPY FOR 60 MINUTES

I don’t care what anyone says: the Oilers were so bad last night that it almost looked like they were still rolling out the pre-season B-squad. Whether they were trying to break out of their own zone or struggling to put passes together on the power play, the Oilers looked like they were still playing pre-season games. The execution was poor, the game plan was shoddy, and at the end of the day, the Oilers looked utterly disinterested in competing for the win. Put another way, Edmonton looked like they completely forgot that they were supposed to play last night, which is a tough scene given how much hype surrounds the club this year. I guess the confusing part on my end was why the Oilers looked so tentative and just generally unsure of themselves. Losing the season opener is what it is — Gord knows there’s plenty of hockey left to be played — but the way they lost that was completely shattering, and I hope there were some long looks in the mirror from everyone wearing white jerseys. Awful performance.

JACK CAMPBELL GOT THE HOOK

I know many people are mad about Jack Campbell after the way last night ended, but let’s be honest: the team in front of him wasn’t much better. Frankly, blaming Soup is the easy way out. Yeah, you could absolutely say that Campbell would have liked to have a goal or two back, but I also think it’s completely ridiculous if we ignore the “laissez-faire” attitude from the team in front of him. From start to finish, the Oilers looked like anything but Cup contenders and blaming the goalie(s) for what happened last night feels like an admission that you didn’t watch the game. That said, I’m not here to defend how his night went, and the genuine concern from my side of the computer screen is how this affects him moving forward. We know that Campbell is a sensitive guy who can be extremely hard on himself, and I’m worried that he will spiral again if the start of his year doesn’t go as hoped. That said, getting a .750 save% from both of our goalies on night one isn’t exactly a big confidence builder for either guy or the fanbase. 

THE PENALTY KILL IS STILL KILLING US

For as good as the power play was last season, the penalty kill was equally bad, and the boys didn’t get off to a great start on night one against the Canucks. At 50% on the evening, the Oilers were only able to kill off three of the six penalties they took, and it’s pretty damned hard to win hockey games when you’re spotting teams power play goals like they’re Thanksgiving leftovers. I mean, the Oilers are the ones that are supposed to be killing people on the power play, but one night against Vancouver, the shoe was definitely on the other foot. And even though I know the PK will get better than a coin flip — I hope so anyway — I’d be lying if I said it didn’t bother me that the lack of PK success was already a significant story on night one.

BONUS KEY THING: YOU GUYS ARE AMAZING

We held our Season Launch Party at Greta last night, and it was a blast from start to finish. Even though our boys failed to pick up their first win of the season, we used the night as an excuse to get together while raising some money for KidSport anyway. And when I walked into the bar shortly before puck drop, I was once again blown away by your support and willingness to attend an event that was admittedly not at the most convenient time of the week. Late start be damned, we packed Greta to the rafters, packed away $2 hot dogs, and kicked off the year in a way that only Nation Citizens can do.
You’d think after doing this for a decade that I’d be used to how the community surrounding this website rallies in the name of charity, but it still blows my mind every single time, and last night was no exception. That’s why I had to say a quick thank you so much to everyone who bought tickets, came down to Greta for a good time, got in on the raffle, and helped us raise money for a great cause. Even though I’m not feeling my freshest this morning, I wouldn’t change it for the world. Thank you for a great night, Nation. I can’t wait for the next one.

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