I'm not even sure how much it's worth talking about tonight's game but I'm gonna do so anyway. We've all seen this movie before; I can't believe I am writing about it twice in three games but that's where we are.
I'd like to start by talking about the coaching tonight which, even though the players played very badly, is central to why we lost the game tonight. Tom Renney is either trying to lose hockey games or has no idea how to deploy players he has. Starting the game with the line he had Eberle on was a joke. The fact that he plays the fourth line after nearly every goal is a joke. And finally pulling the goalie when his team had absolutely no chance to come back and win is a joke. I don't know what this man thinks he's doing. Either way he should not be the coach of this hockey team any longer. He has simply not shown enough skill at the job. I also heard his explanation of the play at the end of the first period...brutal. How can you not know how much time is left on the clock?
To lose to Calgary in this way on Hockey Night in Canada is nothing short of embarrassing. None of the lines put forward a strong effort but I think the first line still had the best game of a sad lot. The thing is, this line gets broken up on the power play and the key elements, that being 83 and 4 get broken up. This disrupts any flow they might have and leads to a whole lot of nothing.
It is not as if Calgary played an exceptionally strong game. They took a very small amount of shots they did not pressure us very hard. The generally struggled to establish a flow just like us. It was almost as if their players were kind of laughing at the success they were having tonight.
Where we go from here I really don't know. Our defense is so bad and allowed so many five-star chances tonight even though Calgary did not really play all that well, they could have very well scored 10. Our goaltending is horrible and I don't believe either of these men should be trusted to keep net for us in the future. Please trade 35 while he still has some value from the strong numbers he put up early.
This game was never really a contest. We weren't ready to play and by the time anyone cared or was organized enough to do anything, we were already well behind. Momentum seemed to be changing, not enough to win but enough to make it respectable in the third period. Then of course Hordichuk went and took a bonehead penalty as he does (he also hid like a damn coward behind the refs rather than confront the CGY defenders. Pathetic). I am really sick of our fourth line acting like they're superstars with guaranteed jobs. These boneheads go out, don't hit anyone and try to play the game like they have the skill that our young stars have. What a joke. If they did anything at all maybe there'd be some excuse for the way they're playing the game but they are contributing negatively every single night and if at all possible should be shipped out immediately. There's one thing worse than no toughness and that is stupid, useless toughness. I honestly can't believe any coaching method that would see these players come out after goals for or against has any chance of succeeding. I have never seen a good or even bad team do it. Why are we doing it?
The thing about the atmosphere in the building is that people don't know how to react anymore. I found myself getting angry at my fellow fans for cheering the first and second goals that we scored tonight as the team on the ice did not deserve to be cheered at all at any point during the game. I was upset that they were cheered when they returned to the ice in a second. In the third, they did not receive a cheer as they took the ice which was telling. They were also roundly booed as they left the ice. This squad had better get used to that kind of reaction from the crowd if they intend to put out efforts like the one we saw. We are not a great team it is certainly true but that is no excuse for being unprepared unready and playing such a sloppy game.
Belanger should find himself in the press box next game. Just because he's back from injury does not guarantee him ice time. He is the black hole where scoring chances, good passes, and any good hockey play go to die. I don't know what is wrong with him this year, but I don't see him fixing it or putting in any effort to fix it. He has played the same game, every game since he came to this team and that game is unacceptable. There are more worthy players playing on the third line in Oklahoma City.
I cannot believe that Jordan Eberle had to put up with those linemates. The one shift he got on a decent line he set up a goal. Other than that, he was completely on his own. How a good coach doesn't recognize this I have no idea, and to reach the NHL, our coach should be good.
What I keep coming back to is how horrible an experience this was as an Oilers fan. I'm really sick of this garbage. There needs to be some improvement; any improvement even as the game goes on if the team can improve it would be helpful. Instead it just gets worse. The frustration level must be high, but that is no excuse for the sloppy disgusting passes, skating, and everything else that is on display in our old old barn on a given night. I'm really sick of trying to retell the narrative after these games which seemed to make up about half of those I'm attending right now. Where do we go from here as fans?
You want to see his team succeed, you believe in some of the players and you believe in the idea of the organization but that is really all you have left.
I find it disgusting that before these games the journalists covering the Oilers mock the Flames, when as of tonight I believe they are in a playoff spot. Just because you don't finish first overall does not mean you're a failure doomed to lose out of the playoffs. How these guys continue to justify the approach that management has taken and believe (if they even really do) that success is the inevitable result I have no idea. Their eyes should tell them differently. Their brains should also tell them differently after watching the injuries and generally freak occurrences the Oilers have experienced for the past number of years. I don't know what else to really do as a fan; I mean I could yell until I'm blue in the face, I can boo, I can have a complete hope that things will be alright, but I don't know if there's anything that will bring any satisfaction or joy right now. This team is simply not improving.
When it comes to the players again I really don't think it isn't any value to highlight the individual efforts tonight. They were mostly bad save for a very select group. The defense specifically was horrendous. Is there really any point in spending any more energy on it than to say that? We could have acquired depth when the team was playing well early in the year to backstop injuries and prevent THIS. We didn't
I hope maybe some of you are a able to provide some answers as to where we all go from here, but I don't know if you're going to be able to. This team is just so bad and has sacrificed such a promising start (even if it were based on some crazy percentages). Doesn't mean that you can't change the game as you go forward. I truly cannot believe that wasting 400 games, which is what five seasons adds up to, will be worth it at this stage. There are no signs that is the case and that things will work out perfectly. If anything we've come to understand that things can go horribly horribly wrong.
Lastly, these guys need to cease pumping the tires of Taylor Hall. He's excellent and he's putting out an effort, but the attempt to gloss over horrible performances by talking about one good player (while totally ignoring our best player, #14) and continuing to make excuse after excuse after excuse for management is disgusting. Lumping Taylor into that narrative does him a disservice.
So, that's that. Another horrible loss to Calgary. Another wasted Saturday night. Another national embarrassment.