Friday, January 26, 2007

That Time of Year Again

It's after the All-Star break, or as I refer to it: Snoozapalooza 2007. It's always boring, but usually the skills competition is fun to watch. However, I was bored out of my mind. I'm beginning to think the All-Star game is completely useless. They need to revamp it up or something. But when your hard-core fan from Canada finds it boring, how are you ever going to get the interst of those casual American fans?

Oilers play San Jose tonight. It's that time of year, where the Oilers find their game and struggle to get into the playoffs. They usually limp into the playoffs (last year) or can be the hottest team down the stretch and miss the playoffs. So get limping boys......

I seriously do not know if this team can put it together. But they have the experience of playoff runs before, so you think the pressure should not get to them. Been there, done that....right? They've had the Sharks number all year and last, so I'm predicting a nice victory for the Oilers. Let's say 4-2, hat trick to Sykora. He's due.

Update: Another horrible game. Oilers lose again 13-0 (okay, 5-1 but does it matter?). Not sure what can fix this team, or what can help this current group of players to actually show up each night and play. Of course it doesn't help when the game is called one-sided. How many hooking penalties did the Oilers take (actually were given, cause sure there was some hooking but on both sides. Guess who got most of the calls? Yup, your Oilers. Almost every game I go to, this is the story).

Yes they need a puck moving defenseman. But I think the issue has more to do with coaching. The current personnel should be able to get the job done. Obviously they need to take some blame. However, watching tonight's game (hell, any Oilers game), you notice something lacking. No passion, no drive....nothing. Not everyone is floating out there. Tonight, Stoll was a one-man show, skating hard and trying to get this team going. If only the rest of the team could get motivated.

So MacT.....what's going on? You can't seem to get this team motivated. Also, the coaching strategy is interesting. Everyone is screaming for a puck-moving d-man, but if you even got one, I'm sure no passes would be made and they'd be ringing it around the boards to get it out. Practically every single time, they ring it around the boards. Again and again. The amount that they do that, it has to be coming from the coach. MAC, IT'S NOT WORKING. It's not only the defensemen, the forwards do it also. MacT, let's try something radical. I know it's cutting edge, but here goes: Pass the puck. Oooooh, don't get freaked out. All the other teams are doing it. I know you're scared, scared of giving up the puck, scared of missing the pass but let's just give it a try. One game, let's make some passes. Or something even crazier: let the d-man skate with the puck out of the zone. I know, this is radical thinking. Bergeron has all this speed, but never uses it. Make him. Light a fire under him.

Okay, once they get it into the offensive zone, they can't sustain the pressure. Where is the forecheck? Where is the physical play? Use the body, turnovers occur and voila, you have a scoring chance. The forwards, other than Stoll (and Horcoff tonight), are just floating out there. Yeah, I'm talking to you again Lupul. Even Sykora and Hemsky are out of sorts. Maybe this is the time to bring out the blender. Yes, during a losing streak, not a winning streak.

It'll be interesting to see what Kevin Lowe can do. I read somewhere that Lowe does a great job with trades, unless he's forced into it. I'm beginning to agree (pronger, weight, comrie). He's being forced here, in a way. But who the hell wants any of our players? Does anyone really want a Lupul right now, with the way he's playing? He's the invisible man. I forget he's on this team practically on a nightly basis. I'm being serious. Half way through the game, I notice #15 is on the ice, and I'm like, oh shit, he's playing. I'd love for Lowe to trade him, but does anyone really want him?

Maybe tonight's game was due to the All-Star break, coming out sluggish. Maybe tomorrow they'll get their legs going and get into the game. It's hard to be optimistic right now. I'm having a hard time seeing them make the playoffs, and that's hard to think about. If anyone can put it together down the stretch, I believe they can. Yup, been there and done that. They know it can be done. They just need some confidence. I hope they find some.....soon.

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