This will be an attempt to register my disgust without blowing up the internet.
Who cares what the score was. We lost and it wasn't close.
The team we played is currently behind in the standings. I don't think that will last very long as we appear to have singlehandedly kickstarted just about every slumping player on the their squad.
I'm even angrier than usual because I had nearly perfect seats for this one (bottom of the second deck, center ice) and was ready to really watch some competitive hockey and pick up on the interesting things that happen. Even a game like the last against the Devils had so much to it...this one had nearly nothing.
When your coach has the attitude that you need to play exceptionally well, and get lucky in order to win, you're not going to win too much. It's not THE problem, it's just one of them but there's no reason to add that to the mix. "Hi boys, we've got to be perfect tonight and still get lucky or we're probably gonna lose! Let's GO!". UGH.
It is true that we stink right now. Moreso than usual. A lot of that is on the players but a lot is on management as well. There are no reinforcements available to this team. We've got two lines worth of players who WILL NOT score on almost every night...then one line is expected to carry an entire game and another is just way too damn tired.
I guess the first line gave an effort at least. There were shots and some iffy chances. They had a lot of trouble but at least it took them until the third to get really pissed and frustrated. You weren't worried about whether they were trying, but they were still bad as a unit. Every shot was visible for Hiller and no rebounds were grabbed.
That was a key thing tonight...none of the Oilers shots were particularly good and Hiller could see all of them. ANA did an interesting thing...after they'd realized the Oilers weakness at the blue and in terms of some of the shooters, they backed their defensive positioning off to about the top of the faceoff circle and let the Oilers miss and/or throw weak, unscreened shots on the net all night. Because the team wasn't rebounding, this meant that a turnover to ANA and subsequent chance to move up ice was virtually guaranteed. This pretty much went on all night.
I know we're understaffed on D with what was already a below par core of guys...but that means you get beat by good plays that good teams make...it doesn't mean you spend the game making mistakes, giving the puck away, and getting caught up ice. I'm not sure I've ever seen a stupider game from the Oilers defence...and I've seen some BAD hockey in that rink. This was among the worst stinkers.
Our goaltending certainly didn't help any as both of our tenders were horrible. Any night when the puck is going directly through your keeper on a clear shot that isn't an absolute rocket is going to be a bad night. The thing is, this game would have been just as bad if we'd lost 2-0. I must say I think I'm at the point where I'd cast aside Dubnyk. I was never his biggest fan to be sure, but he is showing little to no ability to step up and improve his game. The first goal he allowed, awkwardly waving his glove and giving up a gift rebound was utterly embarassing. Khabibulin has obviously peaked for the season...even though he was getting more help from the D before as chances weren't very good, he's still playing back at the subpar level we know.
Coming back to the riddle of our forwards...I guess it is not that complicated. Josh Green won't score...we know that. He's not good enough to be here and is proving that each night he's in the lineup. Tonight was certainly no exception. Ben Eager apparently can't be bothered to hit anyone or contribute in any meaningful way. Why he can't go out and get under people's skin suddenly I have no idea. He absolutely refuses to do much of anything. While I appreciate that Anton Lander had an okay game...he's in over his head. He should be in OKC learning more about the game. Mr O'Marra is great at missing the net. I suppose he at least went hard to the crease a couple times...but again, it is all about execution in this league and he had none. Blind try is useless. Magnus might be on the comeback trail as there were at least signs tonight...but he cannot put a team on his back at this stage. The fact that he's playing with an old guy who suddenly forgot how to score and now shoots every single thing into the goalie's pads is probably not helping. I can't believe some of the decisions Belanger makes...there was a pass in the third that got him booed pretty harshly...you could tell he had no thought of being able to score whatsoever despite being wide open, carrying speed and ready to fire.
Our second line could make or break a lot of games for us. If they're effective, they can plug up the other team's scoring and really make it tough. They're not going to do that when Ryan Jones is the best player on the line and #s 10 and 94 absolutely stink the joint out. Both accomplished absolutely nothing tonight. It was sad to watch their shifts really. I wonder very strongly if Horcoff is injured. He's got no speed. Smyth is dead tired already and has started to play dumb chase hockey that he's not capable of.
So what do you do with a squad that can't compete with the 29th place team in the league? I'm not sure. Well, that's not entirely true. I would blow out the coaching and management staffs (save for the AM scouts) and start fresh. Then I'd blow out a bunch of the bottom line talent and if I couldn't find replacements right now, I'd run goons for the rest of the year and make other teams HATE coming to Edmonton. At least then we'd accomplish something.
It makes me sick to have to write this way. There's no reason this has to happen, and there is absolutely no guarantee that it will work out in the end. If it doesn't...we'll be begging for the days of finishing 6th-8th. Some of us already are. Dynasties and perennial contenders aren't built by multiple years of nights like this. You had to see how frustrated the players were tonight...that can't go on for anybody. You lose your passion for what you do and then bad bad BAD things start to happen. What kind of irreparable damage are we doing right now?
This didn't even have to happen within the context of this year. When we went on our run at the beginning, it should have been obvious that we had an opportunity if there were reinforcements acquired for when some players came back to earth. This doesn't compromise any process or set us back or any of that other stuff. It just would have made it so THIS wouldn't be such a familiar feeling.
I'm going to go try to forget about this one so that Sunday doesn't seem like a disaster waiting to happen. I thought we were done with this crap. Get it together guys.