Thursday, December 11, 2014

News Flash: It's December...Not April

Last night’s 2-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks is something fans of the Edmonton Oilers had better get used to watching over the final two-thirds of the 2014-15 NHL season. As tough as all this losing may be for the masses to stomach, the fact the Oilers are an absolute bore to watch will make this death march all the more difficult to get through over these next four months. 

This group continues to brings almost no energy to the rink on a nightly basis and more often than not, find themselves behind the eight-ball early in games and last night’s tilt with the Ducks was no different. While netminder Viktor Fasth managed to keep them in the game until the very end, as he held his former teammates at bay for much of the evening, you never got that feeling that Edmonton was going to get back on level terms and possibly pull off the upset. 

After jumping out to an early lead and being allowed to pretty much do whatever they liked out on that ice, Anaheim clearly dialed it back a notch or two and simply cruised to an easy victory. With the National Hockey League season being the marathon that it is, even the best of teams will “go through the motions” during a certain amount of games in their schedule. More often than not, those teams are smart enough to pick their spots and unfortunately for fans of the Oilers, playing Edmonton is one of those dates that almost every other team in the league have circled on their list. 

Playing Dallas Eakins’ club has essentially become a “free space” on the dance card and because of it we are being force-fed what is quickly becoming almost unwatchable hockey. Clearly this collection of players is not nearly good enough to win many games but it is also one that appears to have already accepted their lot in life. 

So does that mean these guys have quit? Not necessarily but it does seem like that drive to want to compete and push to become better is nowhere to be found. Mistakes are going to happen but this isn’t just about mistakes. They all talk a “good game” with the media but we keep seeing the same thing out on that ice and that has to be a major concern for those within the organization. 

While management are ultimately the ones that are at fault for the mess this once storied franchise is currently in, turning a blind-eye to what is going cannot be allowed to continue for the remainder of the year. To say the atmosphere has become “toxic” around this club may actually be an understatement. Even their best players are invisible for long stretches and for goodness sake, it is still early December!!! 

Changing players at this stage of the game is a pointless endeavor but they have to do something. Expecting these players to not be impacted in a “negative manner” by continuing this charade to continue until the end of the season would be major blunder but then again, it would be par for the course. 

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