Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Approaching random

Life isnt easy as an Oilers fan so far this season. The highs and the lows are quite extreme and change without notice. I have been away from the Oilogosphere for a good chunk of time in November attending a friends wedding in Cancun but as an Oil-junkie I typically check the scores and skim over the piles of good comments at Lowetide's site. Several times I've had to scratch my head and wonder wtf is going on.
  • Oilers (5) Flyers (4) - I watched this game, dominating performance by the Oilers. Reason to be excited.
  • Oilers (4) Blue Jackets (5) - Tanked the third period in a game they didn't really deserve to be leading. Reason to be concerned.
  • Oilers (4) Penguins (5) - Oilers didn't show up for the first period and got blown away despite a late comeback. Reason to be concerned.
  • Oilers (2) Devils (1), Oilers (3) Rangers (2) - Didn't check the internet for a couple days and came back pumped. I was expecting 2 losses and 2 wins. Reason to be excited.
  • Maple Leafs (5) Oilers (2) - I watched this game in a sports pub in Cancun. It was packed and fun. First period Oilers dominate. Reason to be excited. After not getting enough goals for their chances game falls off in the 3rd. Reason to be concerned.
  • Avalanche (3) Oilers (2) SO
  • Oilers (0) Red Wings (4) - I don't get upset when the Oilers lose to Detroit. They are a better team and I expect as much. Still 0 goals for and reason to be concerned.
  • Oilers (7) Blue Jackets (2) - Penner and Horcoff lead the Oilers (finally). Reason to be excited.
So anyways, quite a month the Oilers have had thus far. To be 9-8-2 with 14 road games is nothing to brag about but reasonable. I think the most frustrating part for Oilers fans (and coaches) is the inconsistency and frequency of momentum swings. The Oilers season so far is reminding me of the Eskimos season that just ended. A team that started off strong and seemed to be better than their record showed but each time they had a chance to turn the corner, they'd stumble. I remember being at the Labour Day game in Calgary coming back home thinking the Esks were a good team only to see them come out lame and blow it. The Esks also did this winning in BC and losing back at home. Similarly, the Oilers seemed to be on a role heading into Columbus before blowing the 3rd period lead then the big one for me was losing to the Leafs. If the Oilers are going to be anything more than a marginal team, they are going to need to string together some confidence building wins.

There have also been some interesting discussions on Lowetide's site as well as a good call from MC79. I'll chime in briefly on the issues because I am too late to do so.

On Penner:

This guy has a good top 6 game but doesnt bring it enough. My opinion is that the Oilers tried motivating him but he didn't respond so they tried going public. I don't like the public bashing but MacT was right in what he said and it worked. Penner getting pushed off the puck by Steen vs the powerhouse against CBJ last night are like complete opposite. I'd like to see Penner on the #1 PP unit more and if he keeps showing up lame again, bench him. Hopefully he'll learn. Raffi Torres didn't.

On Garon:

IMO the Oilers don't see Garon as a goalie capable of taking them to the next level. Garon started off like gangbusters but since then has struggled especially in games vs the Penguins and the Canucks. The longer Roli plays well, the better the chances Garon gets traded. Garon is a good goaltender though and I think once he comes back he'll have a chip on his shoulder.

On MacT:

Lowetide seems to think MacT is on the way out the door. I have no idea if this is the case but there is the possibility that MacT is losing the room. Look at the consistency I have highlighted in the past month. Something isnt jiving right now. MacT may not be completely at fault on this though because he has to rely on inconsistent players Penner, Nilsson and Hemsky. I think MacT is a great coach especially in the playoffs so losing him would be a shame. He sticks with Roloson (probably too much) but has been right on many of his decisions. As mentioned before, the Oilers (and MacT) need a string of wins here soon.

One final note: After playing in over 25% of their games in SO last season, the Oilers don't seem to be playing many this year. Is this the Garon factor?