Showing posts with label McDavid. Show all posts
Showing posts with label McDavid. Show all posts

Monday, January 17, 2022

Finally the leaders of the team step up

Over a month ago before this skid turned into a train wreck, I had hoped the Oilers leadership group would hold a team meeting and work this out on their own. It was needed, and today, that meeting happened before practice. 
The Oilers spent today going over battle drills. 2 on 1, 2 on 2 and 1 on 1. They made a conscious effort to really battle hard. At one point Koekkoek got a hard shoulder in on Sceviour and tempers boiled over. Sceviour smashed his stick over the boards in frustration. Which is good. This is exactly what the team needs today to move forward out of this slump. 
Coach Tippett had this to say, "That's not something that I design, that's something that they design and that's the way they want it. To me, that's good leadership."

McDavid and Nurse battled hard against each other, then Draisaitl and Keith matched the intensity. It paved the way for the rest of the players and set the tone. 

Despite all the rage for firing coaches and trading for goalies, this is a very, very good sign for fans of the Oilers. All I can say, it’s about damn time! 

***This is a must listen from Perlini. 

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

One thing this Oilers team doesn’t have


I’ve been waiting for someone on this hockey club to stand up and be accountable this year. Nobody has. Not one. 

Character drives a team. The great leaders like Messier didn’t put up with nonsense. If he was terrible, he owned it. He wasn’t afraid to step up to a microphone and admit when he could be better. He was also never afraid to let the boys have it if they weren’t pulling their weight. I know players like McDavid, well this isn’t their strong suit. But right now, it would be a good time to have him or Draisaitl or Nurse or whomever, step up, own what’s going on and rectify some of the damage that’s been done. 

Coach Tippett came out and said that goalie Mikko Koskinen wasn’t very good last game. Let’s be honest, he was horrible. Justified words from the coach? Yes, it was. However, Koskinen had his own reply. 

”It’s not nice being thrown under the bus. I have to be better but at the same time we scored 7 goals in my last 6 losses. I can’t score goals.” 

Shots fired. 

While I’ll agree with Koskinen on his observation, he should have just owned his own failures. That’s more respectable than saying what he said. 

As of right now the leaders on the current Oilers are McDavid, Draisaitl, Nurse, Nugent-Hopkins and Keith. Tippett has said Keith finds himself more comfortable on the team and in recent weeks he’s become more of a leader in the dressing room and on the bench. Awesome. However, public accountability goes a long way to ease the pain the Oilers fans are currently feeling. Would we feel better if McDavid said, “I haven’t been playing to the level I know I can play. I know I can be better. I know as the captain it’s my job to help carry this team to get out of this slump. I called a players only meeting and we are going to sort this out.” At least if this was said, we would all be a little less pissed off right now. 

Speaking of players only meetings. It’s about time one is called. I figured when they went on the first skid that one would have been called then. But alas, there wasn’t that we know of. 

So what now? 

Smith is back and will start tonight vs the Leafs. McDavid, Ryan and Barrie are out and have been placed in Covid protocol. Nugent-Hopkins is still out as well. 

Tonight will be a tough game, and even more so without these 4 guys. 

Monday, December 20, 2021

Goodbye Olympic dreams for 2022

With nearly a quarter of NHL currently shut down due to the recent Covid outbreak breezing through the NHL, word is starting to spread about how the NHL and NHLPA is about to pull out of the 2022 Winter Olympics.

As a fan of hockey, this saddens me a lot. I've been waiting for this Olympics for a while. Seeing McDavid, Crosby and Mackinnon out on the ice together was going to be a wonderful dream. Sadly, it wasn't meant to be this year. Quite simply, this sucks. This could have been the greatest Canadian team ever battling one of the best American teams ever.

I've seen the topic of pushing the Olympics back a year like they did for the Summer Olympics. At this point, I could see this happening and not just cause I'm selfish about hockey. But, for all sports and the betterment of the games as a whole. Guess we will have to wait and see. Fingers crossed.

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Positive Covid Case for Oilers

Devin Shore has tested positive for Covid. This after Bouchard, Koekkoek, McDavid and Shore spent some time doing video chats with the local hospitals. I’m expecting more cases to follow.

Sunday, December 12, 2021

Area’s of concern

The skid has increased to 5 games… Now what? 

Depending on how you view the team, there is a few concerns that seem to be smacking us fans right in the face. Some areas definitely need to be addressed sooner rather than later. 


When the bottom 6 hasn’t scored a goal in 10 games, that’s a huge reason for this skid the Oilers are on right now. Lack of production of the secondary scoring hurts when you simply just bank on McDavid and Draisaitl to lead the way. When this happens it’s just not sustainable. Players like Kassian, Foegele, McLeod, Shore, Ryan, Sceviour and Benson are guilty of slacking for secondary scoring. Teams, never mind Stanley Cup championship teams, all need balanced scoring. It’s not an option. It’s a must have. 

You might be thinking, you are missing Yamamoto. While he’s not a bottom 6 player this year, he’s definitely included on being at fault as well for little to no productivity. I’m shocked he still plays that right wing on that second line after all this time. He checks well and plays gritty the best he can for a little guy, but with only 5 points patrolling the ice with Draisaitl and Nugent-Hopkins, that’s a concern and a head scratcher. It needs to be changed, fixed and corrected ASAP.


Mikko Koskinen had good games (his record looks ok) and bad (when he’s bad he’s bad in front of your eyes). For the most part I think he’s a decent goalie, but he has flaws. Letting in a fluffer early in a game is the most obvious. We all know that one. It’s frustrating as all hell watching it happen game after game. 

He’s not a full time #1 goalie, but much like before, he’s depended on again to be the starter due to Mike Smith being out of action. I’m not psychologist, but he seems to have confidence issues that stick in his head. Once the fluffers started to happen, I believe he mentally over thought it before each game and somehow subconsciously lets it happen even when he tries not to. 

While at this moment I’m not on the bandwagon to jump on the “fire the coach train” or join the “make a massive trade” group, I do feel like it’s time to move on with the Dustin Schwartz era. It’s run it’s course. Koskinen needs a different whisper in his ear to help him battle the mental demons that fill a goalies head once in a while. Will be tough to move Koskinen before the end of the season and I expect Holland to ride out his contract, so the next best move is to move on from Schwartz and perhaps it can help moving forward with the goalie situation in Edmonton for all the goalies, not just Koskinen. 


4 rookies have patrolled the blue line this year for the Oilers. Bouchard isn’t exactly a rookie per se, but he’s young and inexperienced and I still view him as a rookie. When the vets started to drop like flies, the Oilers had to lean on some kids from the farm team. Niemelainen, Broberg and Lagesson all came up and were thrown into the fire. This has made the coaches jobs a little harder as you can’t shelter the rookies like you can when you only have one rookie in the lineup. It’s tough. They had to fill in on all three pairings. 

All in all I don’t really have a lot of complaints about the rookies. They had to learn in a hurry how to adjust to the NHL pace. I can’t even imagine being in their shoes. Now that Ceci and Nurse are back, and once Keith and Russell are back, I suspect the defence woes to fade away. That was a lot of pressure on the kids, but hopefully soon it’s only one in the lineup at a time and not three at a time. That veteran presence is desperately needed again on the back end and a lot of the Oilers problems will go away once that happens. 


All of this said, I believe that a players only meeting could fix a lot of the Oilers woes right now. I had mentioned it after the 2 game slide to some friends and while at that point it really wasn’t needed. I do believe it needs to happen now. There is something more when it comes from your peers and not by management. I truly believe for the most part this team is and can be good. The lineup is bolstered by a pretty darn good group of hockey players. They just need to figure out that they need to step up their games to new levels for their own styles. Even the dynasty Oilers era learned valuable lessons from others. But they also grew from those lessons. This era of Oilers need to do the same. 

They need to hear McDavid and Draisaitl and try and match their efforts and work ethic. Put in the extra time. Work harder. Play with a purpose. 

They need to listen to a vet like Duncan Keith. He’s been a winner. He knows what it takes. If Keith speaks, people better listen. I’d trust his advice. 

Same goes for Mike Smith. He’s been around the block. He’s played in the NHL for quite some time and has been in a lot of different situations. He is vocal in the dressing room and his presence has been sorely missed since he’s been injured. I fully believe the Oilers would be in a different position if he wasn’t hurt. He’s integral to the core of the team. 


The Oilers were lucky to pile up the wins at the start of the season to provide a slight cushion to absorb this 5 game slump. Fans are calling for heads so the pressure is on all over the organization. 

I suspect once the team can reduce the amount of rookies on the blue line, get Smith back and shuffle the forward lines up a bit, the Oilers will get back on track. 

While I expect Holland to be a buyer at the trade deadline, I don’t see any knee jerk reaction trades to happen anytime soon. However, like I said above, the Schwartz era needs to end. Make that happen Holland. 


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