Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Hard To Imagine

Coming off what was a rather embarrassing 7-4 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday afternoon, a game in which Todd’ Nelson’s crew managed to squander a three goal lead in matter of minutes, the Edmonton Oilers were handed what was arguably the biggest slap in the face of all on Monday evening. 

While on the whole, the Oilers delivered a far better performance against the Detroit Red Wings than what we saw from them against the lowly Canes but yesterday’s 5-2 loss officially eliminated the Orange and Blue from playoff contention. 

While they have unofficially been out of that race since mid-October, there is just something about a team being finished while still having fifteen games left on their schedule that just does not seem right. Yet that is the exact predicament Edmonton currently finds themselves in and it has one that simply cannot happen again. 

Despite playing a far more consistent game since the firing of Dallas Eakins back in mid-December, the Oilers still sit with the fewest wins in all of hockey. While they mustered up a grand total of seven victories prior to the coaching change, Edmonton has won just eleven times since and if it were not for the good ol’ extra time “loser point”, they would certainly be in a far tighter race with the Buffalo Sabres in the Connor McDavid Sweepstakes. 

With essentially one full month still left in the season, this team has been mathematically eliminated from the post-season. Ironically enough, the team currently sitting in eighth place in the Western Conference standings is the Calgary Flames with seventy-seven points. Just think about that for minute. 

While no one should have been expecting much from this Oilers side heading into 2014-15, the fact they are thirty points back of their provincial rival is simply mind boggling. There is no question that Calgary has been “the” surprise of the National Hockey League season but thirty points better? That gap is so large that it is beyond laughable. 

It is during moments like this when I take a step back and think about just how badly things have played out over these last two seasons and simply shake my head in disbelief. After showing a marked improvement in the standings during the lockout shortened 2013 campaign, no one could have seen this organization regressing to the point it has and it has to stop. 

The scary thing is, the chances of things being much better in 2015-16 are likely not very good and that in itself is a rather frightening proposition. While it may not all be on Craig MacTavish, the numbers speak for themselves and it is happening on his watch. 

With that in mind, these final few weeks of the season can’t end soon enough and considering the Edmonton Oilers have now lost five straight and seven of their last eight games, it is a pretty safe bet to assume it will be ending in a fashion that has become all too familiar in this neck of the woods. 

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