Time is ticking away on the Oilers season. The next two weeks will probably determine whether they make the playoffs or not. They play 7 games, starting with tonight's game in LA. That's 14 points to be had. Tonight is the second game of a three game road trip. Time to start winning on the road. Their record is 6-11-2. Ouch.
So going into tonight's game, they are seven points behind Vancouver (ouch again) but only three points out of the playoffs. It's definitely in reach, but everyone needs to play better (except Smyth). Everyone else.
Thoresen was recalled from the farm team and Pouliot and Jacques were sent down (finally, a brain is working in MacT). In two games for the farm team, Thoresen had a goal and three assists. Irreverent Oiler Fans talked about this move as a precursor to upcoming trades. We all hope so.
So if trades are to be had, who is coming and who is going? Rumors have been swirling over a possible Torres/Lupul for Pitkanen. Quite a steep price for a defenseman who is having a horrible year with the Flyers. I know very little about this player. Is he a good defenseman? Is he a defensive or offensive kind of D-man? Is is only having a bad year because the Flyers suck so much, it's contagious to all the teammates??
So other trades? I never thought I would say this, but what about Smitty?? He's a free agent after this season, and is not resigned yet. How hard is Kevin Lowe trying to resign him? Is Smitty demanding too much? Do you mortage your team and its future for him? A few months ago I would say hell yes. Now, I'm not so sure. He was offered a good deal before the season started ($4 mill a year for 3 years). He obviously turned it down, but what happened? Why didn't Smitty keep negotiating. He could have countered with his own offer, and got this done. It makes me think he doesn't want to be here. If that's the case, we must trade him before the deadline if he can't be resigned. We'll get some good prospects and probably a first round draft pick (maybe even a player who is NHL ready now?).
Trade deadline is February 27th. So the Oilers have two courses of action: trade now to keep in the playoff race. Trade later to rebuild for next year. Both could possibly happen. We all hope it's the first option and only the first. The last three games, sure two losses (in OT and the shootout) but the team played better. It's a start.
So let's be optimistic for our boys. The playoffs are within reach, put it together Oilers!!!
update: Oilers win 2-1 in OT with rookie Hedja scoring the winning goal. Good victory for the boys. They outchanced LA and dominated the game. Too bad they couldn't snag a few more goals but that 2 points puts us one point out of the playoffs (1 pt behind Minnesota, and tied with Colorado).