Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Battle for the Basement

It has been a bitch of a January so far in Edmonton.  We've had a lot of snow; roughly 45-50 cm in the past two weeks.  It's snowmageddon around here.

However, we can always count on our Edmonton Oilers to perk up our spirits.  What?  They have won only 2 games in their last 8?  Yikes.  They also haven't scored on the PP in 11 games going 0/37 during that stretch. There have been some hard games to watch but in the same breath, there has been some exciting hockey.

Exciting last place hockey?  The Oilers are fighting for last place with the Devils and Islanders.  Who will win?  I have no problem with our Oilers finishing last one more time.  This team was only six points out of a playoff spot in early December but are now solidly in the bottom three.  There have been injuries (Whitney, Horcoff, Eberle), inconsistency, poor goaltending (Khabibulin who is winless in his last eight) and an anemic powerplay.

The games against the Ducks on Sunday is a prime example of the problems of this team:  failure to show up until the second period, getting down early in a game (3-0), mounting a big comeback (2 quick goals), exciting hockey, and failure to score on the powerplay (which included a 6-3 in the final minute).

This is typical of a rebuilding team.  I do not want to excuse this team for their poor play at times but this is going to happen over the next year or two.  Tambellini needs to provide a better supporting cast.  He did a good job this past summer but never found his third line center who can win faceoffs and kill penalties.  He did not find a good shutdown defenseman.  What will happen with the goalie situation?  Is Dubnyk the man?  He needs to play more games at the very least so the coaching staff can get a better idea of the future possibility.

Fans are very supportive of this rebuild.  They understand it cannot happen overnight but are seeing small steps forward already.

Here is my latest article for The Fourth Period which I submitted before xmas.  Time to get going on the next one.

Do not trade Hemsky or Penner.  I really want Tambellini to make sure he does not cock this up.  They are only traded IF IF IF IF they do not sign an extension this summer.  I will keep advocating for both these players as I feel they are necessary to this rebuild.

p.s.  Happy Birthday Mark Messier.....my favorite hockey player!  I adore thee!

2 comments:

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