In what was a hard fought and chippy affair, the Minnesota Wild managed to end their season high eight game losing streak by defeating the Edmonton Oilers by a score of 4-3. Edmonton now sits at 0-2 to start their season high seven game road trip and have a record of 2-8 in their last ten games.
With the midway point of the season just around the corner and the Edmonton Oilers mired in a slump that has seen them fall to thirteenth place in the Western Conference, the time has come to look towards the upcoming trade deadline and try and predict what pieces of the puzzle Steve Tambellini would be willing to move. More often then not, the players that are brought up most in trade talks are Ales Hemsky, Sam Gagner and Linus Omark. All three could possibly be moved by the deadline and I would say there is a good chance that two of three will have a new home by the deadline. That being said, the Oilers might just have a card to dangle to teams that are looking to make that move that will put them over the top. That card being goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin.
With Ryan Whitney once again on the sidelines, the time has come for the Edmonton Oilers to seriously contemplate what their next move should be with the talented defenceman. There is no question this team badly needs a healthy Whitney in their lineup but that likely won't happen until next season. As poor as the former Pittsburgh Penguin has played this year, he still remains the teams third or fourth best option on the blueline...which says a lot about the current state of the Oilers defence.
Not only was last night Ryan Nugent-Hopkins first regular season game in his home province but it was also a chance for two young ladies to try and win over the Edmonton Oilers other two young star forwards. Not sure if the two fazed the visitors but it certainly had no effect on the Vancouver Canucks. They seemed determined to come out and rebound from a less then stellar performance in their last game, before the Christmas break. An undermanned Edmonton side were simply no match for the red hot Canucks, who defeated their division rival by a score of 5-3, in what has become a yearly event for the two sides. Vancouver now sits atop the Northwest Division while the struggling Oilers are comfortably nestled in the division cellar.
The Edmonton Oilers were given an early Christmas present on Thursday night, when they had the good fortune of taking on a team that has been struggling even more then they have. Typically a match up against the Minnesota Wild is not a good situation for this team to breakout of slump but last night was a different story. Earlier this season, Edmonton broke their seventeen game losing streak against the Wild in Minnesota and yesterday they managed to defeat their division rivals one more time, this time by a score of 4-1. Jordan Eberle continued his torrid pace, picking up two more goals and Ryan Smyth scored his first in twelve games. Goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin was solid, making 30 saves in earning his eleventh victory of the season.
With the Edmonton Oilers losers of their past four games and owners of a 7-14-1 mark since November 1st, the club is clearly in free fall mode. This team sat at the top of the Western Conference with a 7-2-2 record at the end of October. Fast forward to the present and the Oilers are now thirteenth in the West. Yes they got off to a great start that everyone knew they would not be able to maintain. Having said that, the total collapse that they have managed in just seven weeks later is staggering. While they have had a number of injuries and under performing players to deal with, the question needs to be asked:
Edmonton Oilers colour man Bob Stauffer, ran an interview he did with Oklahoma City Barons head coach Todd Nelson, on Monday's edition of Oilers Now. During the interview, Nelson hinted that winger Linus Omark is no where near being ready to return to action for the first place Barons.
The Edmonton Oilers returned home from a tough two game road trip to face one of the leagues best and hottest clubs, the Detroit Red Wings. The Oilers played the mighty Wings tough from the opening whistle to the final buzzer but in the end, it was all for not. Detroit was simply too much for Edmonton to handle and the result was another one goal loss, this time by a score of 3-2.
When Ryan Smyth started this season the way he did, all the talk was how great it was to have him back in the fold. It seemed like a no-brainer that Edmonton would seriously have to consider signing the veteran winger to a contract extension. While that is definitely a possibility, there is no guarantee that the Oilers will re-sign one of the most popular players in this teams storied history.
With the Edmonton Oilers recent slide, the calls for Tom Renney's head have started to rolL in from frustrated fans. When you consider how well the Oilers season started off and you look at where the club currently sits, it's not shocking that the locals are starting to become restless. This is an organization that has finished dead last in the league for two consecutive seasons and hasn't had a sniff of the playoffs since their magical 2006 playoff run. The fans are tired of watching this team lose and since early November, they have been doing their fair share of losing. While I understand the frustration, the fact remains that Tom Renney isn't going anywhere...at least for now.
Though the effort was much better, the result remained the same. The free-fall of the Edmonton Oilers continues, as they dropped their third straight game. Patrick Marleau's third period power play marker was the difference, as the San Jose Sharks fought back to edge the Oilers by a score of 3-2. Edmonton netminder Nikolai Khabibulin made his return to the lineup and was sensational in stopping 34 saves but San Jose was too much for the slumping Oilers too handle.
As the talk of moving Ales Hemsky continues to pick up steam, with both fans and media, it is looking like it will just be a matter of when and not if the Oilers decide to move the talented Czech forward. There are already rumours starting to circulate that the Detroit Red Wings have interest in the veteran Oiler winger and there is little doubt that many teams will inquire as to what the cost might be to acquire Ales Hemsky. The question becomes what would the Edmonton Oilers want in return? Would they be looking for a defenceman coming back in a deal for Ales? Or would they be looking at acquiring more prospects and/or draft picks? That being said, the New York Islanders would likely be one of the teams inquiring about Hemsky and they definitely have a player that should interest the Oilers, if that player were to be made available. That player being, Kyle Okposo.
The Edmonton Oilers were excited with the prospects of having Taylor Hall and Corey Potter returning to their lineup for Thursday nights game. Unfortunately for the Oilers, goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin remained on the bench as a spectator. Backup Devan Dubnyk was solid early on but allowed a couple of back breaking goals in the third period, which resulted in yet another loss for the struggling Oilers. This time by a score of 4-2, to a tired Phoenix Coyotes team.
With the Oilers in the midst of a four day break, the club returned to the ice for one more practice before Prince takes over Rexall Place for a concert Tuesday night. Edmonton had both Taylor Hall and Corey Potter skating with the regular troops minus the baby blue no-contact jerseys but goaltender Nikoali Khabibiulin was absent from practice.
After another no-show against the Calgary Flames, one has to wonder if this edition of the Edmonton Oilers has what it takes to beat their provincial rivals. Edmonton seemed disinterested for most of the night and showed zero intensity. Combine that with the much improved play of the Flames and last nights 3-0 outcome, should surprise no one. Jarome Iginla led the way for the suddenly surging Flames, with a pair of goals while Mikka Kiprusoff made 21 saves to earn his second shutout of the season.
The Edmonton Oilers were trying to close out what has been a disappointing home stand on a positive note. Coming off their worst effort of the season against the Carolina Hurricanes, the Oilers managed to turn things around with an impressive 4-1 victory over the visiting Colorado Avalanche. Sam Gagner continued his strong play of late, with a three point night and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins chipped in with two helpers, in leading Edmonton to their second win of the season against the Avalanche.
With the Edmonton Oilers recent struggles, the teams penalty kill has started to take a bit of a nose dive. In the last seven games, they have given up nine goals and have a been running with at a success rate of 63%. Not surprisingly, Edmonton has gone 2-4-1 during that stretch and have watched their penalty kill fall all the way down to sixteenth in the league.With that being case, I do find it odd that the coaching staff has made no changes to the clubs current set up. The challenges they are faced with on the blueline, they can do nothing about, until management brings in reinforcements from outside the organization. That being said, there is nothing keeping them from changing things up, with the forward pairings they are currently using.
The Edmonton Oilers came into last night's game, on the heels of one of the clubs most disappointing losses of the season. One would think, having the struggling Carolina Hurricanes as their next opponents would have been a good thing...think again. After three days off, the Oilers proceeded to come out and play their worst game of the season. The Eastern Conference cellar dwellers, came into Edmonton's barn and thoroughly dominated. From start to finish, the Canes were the better team and were rewarded with a well earned 5-3 victory, against a beleaguered Oilers team.
Edmonton sits with a 4-8-1 mark in their last thirteen games and certain deficiencies have become very apparent in their game. In their four victories, the team has scored a minimum of five goals a game but they have averaged 4.50 goals against in the eight regulation time losses. The Oilers seemed like they could do no wrong, early in the season, and it was almost impossible for the opposition to find a way to score on the Oilers netminders. Clearly, that is no longer the case and the lack of quality NHL defencemen, is starting to rear its ugly head. Edmonton has shown the ability to put the puck in the net, with regularity, but this team badly needs an upgrade on the back end. The time has come for Steve Tambellini to go out and acquire the defenceman that this team desperately needs. That is, if they still want to compete for a playoff spot.
The Edmonton Oilers came out with guns blazing against their Provincial rivals Saturday night and were up two goals, three minutes in. That didn't seem to phase the visiting Calgary Flames, as the team down south, picked themselves off the mat and took it to the Oilers the rest of the way. In what was a highly entertaining night of hockey, Calgary pulled off the come from behind victory, this time by a score of 5-3. The Flames have won seven straight and ten of their last eleven meetings against the Oilers.
Oilers fan Cooper Beamish, is in the City of Champions this weekend, to take part in a minor hockey tournament with his team, the Fort St.John Atom Flyers. While in town, the youngster was lucky enough to have time to attend last night's game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Cooper's favourite player has always been Shawn Horcoff and after the game, the kid got an opportunity to meet the Oilers captain.
Heading into the third period, the Edmonton Oilers were staring at a fourth consecutive loss, if they couldn't come from behind to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Oilers managed to find their game and did it in style, with a five goal outburst, that was led by winger Ryan Jones. The hard working Jones scored three third period markers, giving the fan favourite his first career hat-trick and the Oilers a much needed victory, by a score of 6-3.
With the month of November now in the books, it's time to look back at the month that was and dish out my monthly report card. Each players rating will be based on their performance from opening night up to and including the teams last game on November 30th. Yesterday the spotlight was on the forwards and coaching staff.. Today, the focus is on the defence and goaltenders.
With the month of November now in the books, it's time to look back at the month that was and dish out my monthly report card. Each players rating will be based on their performance from opening night up to and including the teams last game on November 30th. Today the spotlight will be on the Oilers forwards and coaching staff. While Friday's post will focus on the defence and goaltenders.
Last week the Edmonton Oilers were finally able to end their seventeen game losing streak against the Wild, in Minnesota. Unfortunately for the Oilers, the Wild have started a new streak of sorts, after beating the Oilers for the third time via the shootout. This time by a score of 3-2. Former Oiler Kyle Brodziak, scored the winner in the shootout after notching his sixth of the season in the second to tie the score at two. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle led the way for the home side, with a goal and an assist each
Just before the start of last night's game, the story that was making the rounds was that Taylor Hall would be out of action for a week to ten days, with a shoulder injury. It seemed almost to good to be true. Everyone saw the same thing, him skate off the ice with his arm dangling at his side Saturday night...there is no way that he would miss just a couple of weeks. It had to be longer then that...didn't it?
Over the last few years, the Nashville Predators have more often then not, had their way with the Edmonton Oilers. That being said, the Oilers have already managed to pick up two victories against the hard working Predators and were looking to make it three for three on Monday night. Unfortunately for the home side, the visitors had no intention of allowing the streak to reach three in a row. Making only his second start of the season, goaltender Anders Lindback was able to do what all world netminder, Pekka Rinne, could not...beat the Edmonton Oilers. Led by a hard hitting performance from forward Jordan Tootoo and a clutch goal from linemate Nick Spaling, the Nashville Predators found a way to edge a weary looking Edmonton Oilers club by a score of 2-1.
You may find it odd that you are about to read a piece on the Oilers power play and that Eric Belanger is pictured above it. The fact that Belanger and Oilers power play, are even mentioned in the same breath is very troubling to me. Unfortunately, this coaching staff believes that the struggling centre needs to be part of the mix, when Edmonton is up a man. With Taylor Hall out of action for the foreseeable future, the success of the power play will become that much more import, in determining how the Oilers will do without the former first overall selection in their lineup.
The Edmonton Oilers finished up their four game road trip, just like they started it, with a loss to a struggling team. Difference being, the Oilers blew a 2-1 third period lead to the Avalanche and ended up taking in on the chin 5-2. Goaltender Devan Dubnyk gave up three goals in the third period, on shots from the blueline, two of which he should have had. To make matters worse, the team lost the services of winger Taylor Hall for the foreseeable future. The talented youngster suffered an apparent shoulder injury, after Avs defenceman, Ryan Wilson, took Hall out with a crushing body check early in the first period.
It had been nearly four full years since the Edmonton Oilers had defeated the Minnesota Wild at the Xcel Energy Center. That string of futility mercifully came to an end Friday afternoon, as Edmonton picked up a 5-2 victory, ending the teams seventeen game losing streak in St.Paul. The Oilers continued to ride the hot play of the clubs top two lines, as they combined to score all five of the visitors goals. Goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin was very solid, stopping 30 shots to help Edmonton move within three points of the Northwest leading Wild.
With the start Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had had to his NHL career, Taylor Hall has almost become a bit of a secondary story in Edmonton this season. Nugent-Hopkins currently leads the team in scoring with 22 points while linemate Jordan Eberle is not far behind at 21. The two youngsters showed instant chemistry right off the bat so when the time came to breakup the Oilers "new" kid line, it wasn't surprising that Hall was the one moved. The 2010 first overall selection, currently sits with six goals and 16 points on the season but he has yet to find his "A" game.
When Oiler fans see Ales Hemsky playing at his full capabilities, he is still arguably the best offensive weapon this team has. As good as youngsters Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall have been since joining the Oilers, Hemsky still remains the player that teams fear the most. The talented Czech can take his level of play up a notch or two and when he does, he is a joy to watch and nearly impossible to stop. The problem being, he's become somewhat injury prone in recent years and at times, appears to give the impression he is disinterested. So what should General Manger Steve Tambellini do with the soon to be, unrestricted free agent?
Take note NHL, the kids are starting to find their way on the road. After a tough outing in Dallas the previous night, the Edmonton Oilers rebounded with their best road game of the season, pounding the Nashville Predators 6-2. Jordan Eberle lead the onslaught with two goals and an assist, while Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had two helpers a piece. Not to be outdone, veterans Shawn Horcoff, Ryan Smyth and Ales Hemsky all had two point nights, as Edmonton's top two lines were too much for the Predators to handle.