EDMONTON - N/A
St. Louis - 6
I'm starting to think that most everyone has no clue what's actually going on with this team. I would have thought that everyone watched the Ottawa Senators on their epic adventure from horrendous to decent hockey team that won nothing. At this stage, even that would be a victory for the Edmonton Oilers.
Eakins certainly doesn't get it. The guy with a worse record than George Burnett when he got canned only got two questions from the sad sack Edmonton press core tonight and in his answers managed to reveal that he's wandering in the woods at this point. When you've reached the point of only having questions and no answers, you might as well be done. He also praised the team's play in the first. Sure, they were pretty good. The thing is, if your game plan when played to perfection results in zero goals for and in fact you come out of the period losing, there's something very wrong. It might be that your team is much worse than you think - might be that your plan is wrong - might be that you prioritize the wrong things. No matter which of those or other possibilities it could be, you are not on the right page.
Looking at the first goal against, which effectively was the game (which might be the saddest thing about this "team"), Eakins couldn't even get the analysis of that right...everyone is looking at a bad change. Sure, you don't want to make bad changes. It doesn't come up if Eakins doesn't have Andrew Ference on the PP. This is bonehead-stupid for a myriad of reasons, but mainly because Ference is a bad shooter and passer. Of course he forced an inappropriate shot that rang the boards and went directly to the STL player coming out of the box. He then went back in front of his own net and effectively did nothing while the Blues scored. That choice by the coach and sequence by the captain was the problem. Neither seems interested in taking much responsibility for anything. Eakins is always either silly-positive or asking pointless questions, and Ference can do nothing but talk about the fact that "some guys here have been losing for a long time" despite the fact that he can't play D effectively.
Watching the Oilers play against strong teams this year, specifically those with a strong defensive system that keeps opposition forwards out of the middle, has been amazingly frustrating. There is a complete and utter inability by the Oilers offensive players to break down the defensive walls, and ZERO adjustments in strategy from the coaching staff. The plan is either to hope for a massive breakdown or fire idiotic shots at the opposition's legs all night. Tonight it was the latter. I'm sure some Blues players have mild shin bruising. What a victory...
You knew this one was over at 2-0 if you didn't at 1-0. The way the team had no idea how to respond...as if they knew they must be perfect to beat the Blues...you cannot approach a game that way. Even last year, the team was capable for a decent amount of the season of having an offensive outburst that would bail them out. How many times has that happened this year? How many times at home? Maybe one?
The powerplay is a sad joke at this point. I don't know of another team that shoots so badly from the blue line yet continues to attempt the strategy. The team also won't set up a shot from the middle (which is easier to tip as well as put on net), won't set up in the faceoff circles and won't drive the net. I'm not sure how exactly you hope to score without doing one of those three things. That they also allow so many SH goals is just amazing. I've never seen a team so skilled at letting the puck escape the zone without control while outnumbering the opposition.
In case you haven't figure it out yet, no player reviews tonight. There is no point. Everyone was varying degrees of terrible.
Tonight was one of maybe two or three games I've ever been to where I thought of leaving early. I seriously considered leaving with about 17 minutes to go. I suspect if my wife and son weren't on their pre-Christmas family tour of southern Alberta I probably would have headed out. There's just very little point wasting any time after the first period right now. This is not a team that knows how to win with 10 great minutes. Or 30 decent ones. They have no clue how to swing the pendulum.
I'm seriously considering the status of my season tickets at this point. If you know how bad things have been for the past number of years, you know how far gone things seem to me. It is one thing to sit through bad hockey with some light at the end of the tunnel. I see none right now. I see an organization completely adrift, poisoning any good that comes its way. I highly doubt the high draft picks management is relying on to take them to the top will stick it out much longer. Why would they? With the way that "top line" got beaten on tonight, I don't think they can take anyone to the promised land for quite some time if ever. Why stick it out here?
You know what I miss? The team that scraped and clawed to get in every year. Why? Because the only reason that team didn't improve and win was salary constraints. It had nothing to do with not having #1 draft picks in the lineup. In today's system that team could add in the offseason and the deadline, while keeping good players and challenge for the cup. This embarrassment we must watch cannot. I seriously question whether it ever will.
Not looking forward to Monday.