Friday, October 17, 2014
Time to Put Up or Shut Up
Over the last four seasons, the Edmonton Oilers have managed to put together what has amounted to the worst home-ice record in the entire National Hockey League. While the likes of the Florida Panthers and New York Islanders have also bee in the same neighbourhood, no one has been has inept as the Oilers when it comes to overall futility in their home barn.
With Edmonton having started their 2014-15 campaign with four consecutive losses and about to embark on stretch of seven straight at Rexall Place, one has to wonder if this season is on the verge of completely coming off the rails.
Over the next sixteen days, Dallas Eakins’ crew will face the Vancouver Canucks, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, Carolina Hurricanes, Montreal Canadiens, Nashville Predators and the hated Canucks one more time. In all honesty, if this group is unable to secure a .500 record, which isn’t exactly hitting it out of the park, they may as well start make plans for another lottery pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.
We all saw this movie last October and it did not end very well. If you sit back and actually look at the teams the Oilers will be facing over the next couple of weeks, Carolina looks to be the only one that “should be” a guaranteed two points and one would think they will get something out the Canucks, considering they will have faced them three times in their first eleven outings.
Outside of that, it won’t be easy for a team that has produced the following record on home-ice over the last four seasons:
147 GP (56-72-19)
Since the start of the Taylor Hall era, the Oilers have had the opportunity to grab a maximum of 294 points from games played at Rexall Place and managed to take home just 131. That works out to a grand total of 44.6% of the available points at their disposal. Think about that for second and then please explain to me how anyone can expect this group, playing as they currently are, to be better than what they have shown over the past four years.
Now could they go out and have a solid two-week run? Anything is possible but history suggests that will not happen and you can bet these fans will let them know what they think and they will waste little time in doing so. The environment inside that building has almost become toxic, unless of course the Oilers are having one of those nights when they fill the net at will and absolutely pummel their opponent. Unfortunately those games are few and far between and the fans frustration level with this organization has arguably never been higher.
While no one is expecting this team to go out and challenge for the Stanley Cup anytime soon, for some unknown reason, there are those who actually seemed to believe this year’s roster was good enough to stay in the playoff hunt for much of the season. In my mind, that was nothing more than wishful thinking but to have this season unravel in almost the exact same fashion as it did last October, was something no one could have predicted.
Having said all of that, the pressure is now on and it is up to Dallas Eakins and all of these players to find a way to ensure that does not take place. Anything short of that would be a complete and utter failure. The ball is in your hands gentleman…now let’s see if they have what it takes to go out and win some hockey games and save your season.