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An unfathomable Edmonton Oilers begin, Jay Woodcroft's safety and The Ballad of Sam Gagner: 9 Issues

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The Edmonton Oilers want options.

Drawback proper now’s…with a file of 2-7-1 they don’t appear to have something however questions.

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That and extra on this version of…

9 Issues

9. From Reid Wilkins comes this somber stat: The worst ten recreation begins in Oilers franchise historical past. 1992-93 (1-8-1), 1993-94 and now (2-7-1).

8. I have no idea if I’ve ever in my time of watching and overlaying hockey seen a staff acquire as many “Too Many Males” penalties because the Oilers have thus far this season. It is a veteran staff. One, even two? That occurs. This many? Is inexcusable.

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7. Raphael Lavoie acquitted himself moderately effectively in his first NHL recreation. 3 hits in slightly below 10 minutes of labor. Not at fault on the purpose scored whereas he was on the ice. I’m pleased for him. However he’ll want that or extra TOI going ahead to maintain his confidence up. A scarcity of ice has achieved the other to Dylan Holloway.

6. However whereas I’ve points with how Jay Woodcroft has dealt with Holloway, additionally it is truthful to say that previous to Sam Gagner’s arrival the Backside-6 has not pissed a drop. Jay doesn’t play the video games. The Backside-6 points are in the end as much as the gamers. It’s them who must show that the G.M. was proper to provide them their jobs.

5. At first of the yr, I wrote an article on how the Oilers deliberate to tweak their impartial zone defensive system to a modified 1-1-3. It isn’t a very onerous system to execute. However since that point, the Oilers have given up extra excessive hazard scoring possibilities off the push (5v5) than another staff within the NHL.

4. Talking of the Oilers defence, I listened to Craig MacTavish on Oilers Now this week. MacT did a masterful job of describing the construction and explaining the roles of every participant. He was so vivid in how he constructed these eye-lid motion pictures for the listeners. It was virtually as if he had each performed and coached on the highest ranges (wink, wink). An important add as a daily visitor on that program, I’ll wager he may nonetheless coach within the NHL.

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3. Right here is one thing I simply don’t get: Jay Woodcroft has a status, all through his total teaching profession, for having glorious communications expertise. At each stage he has been at, he has been nice at explaining issues clearly. That “readability” trait is even one which Connor McDavid had praised Woodcroft for in an interview a while again. So, it appears little or no needs to be “misplaced in translation” in that room. I do know that within the teaching world messages get stale after some time. However 130 video games is an awfully brief shelf-life. Particularly for a man who has received 6 out of each 10 video games he has coached at this stage.

2. However I additionally I believe it’s truthful to count on that after the Oilers playoff loss to Las Vegas (and extra to the purpose, how they misplaced) after which the arrival of Jeff Jackson within the CEO’s chair that the leash for Jay Woodcroft is likely to be shorter than it was earlier than. Keep in mind, Jay is just not Jeff’s rent. Largely, nobody there’s. Jackson is available in with a contemporary set of eyes, ears and opinions. His Normal Supervisor can also be within the last yr of his contract. However whereas I don’t give Ken Holland a passing grade on every part he has achieved, this staff is just not a lot totally different from the one he constructed final yr right into a Stanley Cup contender. So, both one thing else has modified between the and now…or one thing hasn’t. And instance of what I imply: Whereas there are all types of issues improper with the Oilers recreation proper now, I additionally know they will’t get a well timed save from the identical 2 guys who performed purpose right here final yr. It’s typical for goalies to regress a bit in 12 months 2 after their rookie season. You’d have hoped the opposite man may decide up a few of that slack, no?

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1.Sam Gagner’s return to the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday stirred up a boatload of feelings. His recall from Bakersfield. The anticipation when he hit the ice for the primary time. And the electrical energy that jolted by way of the sector when he scored not as soon as however twice, and seemingly dragged his youthful mates again from the brink of sure defeat to provide them a puncher’s probability towards the Dallas Stars. I do know some wish to discard every part that occurred through the Decade of Darkness. And hey, I can respect how some of us might really feel. However judging by the response within the rink on Thursday I believe a majority have a look at it in any other case.

Again when Sam broke in my household had been season ticket holders at previous Rexall Place (and we continued on at Rogers earlier than we moved away). Many an evening was spent within the firm of these younger Oilers. Sam was my (then) younger son’s favourite participant. He nonetheless has the picture of the 2 of them collectively at a West Edmonton Mall autograph session. My son’s #89 jersey remains to be tucked away upstairs in our household’s house. He’s an grownup and away at college now. However reminiscences and keepsakes stay. And each had been stirred up once more on Thursday night time. Once I texted him that Sam had scored but once more, his return textual content was “What a legend!”

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My beautiful spouse, who is way from what you may take into account a hardcore hockey fan, was additionally delighted. She didn’t develop up in a hockey family like I did. However her robust “Mother” instincts nonetheless fire up at any time when a kind of Oilers “youngsters”, now males within the back-half of their careers, seem on our tv. To her, these gamers had been by no means, ever “Nugent-Hopkins, Corridor, Eberle and Gagner”. To her, they had been and stay nonetheless “Nuge, Taylor, Ebs and Sam”.

Everyone is aware of the hassle on Thursday night time pulled up a purpose brief. They misplaced. The moribund begin continues. It’s all about profitable. No Participaction ribbons solely distress, no pleasure in Mudville, And so on. However within the hearts of many Oilers followers who consoled themselves throughout that lengthy, darkish drought within the franchise’s historical past with “however the youngsters might be all proper” a component of pleasure was rekindled…

…pleasure that one of many promised ones had returned, again to Edmonton of his personal volition, and thru his exploits shot our collective reminiscences again to these days when these faces had been contemporary, and hope sprang anew.

When Sam Gagner signed his PTO again within the late summer time, I hoped that if nothing else, Sam would get the chance to exit with dignity. Now, it doesn’t matter what else occurs alongside his journey, nobody can take that second away from him.

The thunderous roar of that Thursday night time crowd at Rogers Place who he was in a position to carry to their toes and provides them a dose of hope at the very least yet another time.

Now on Threads @kleavins. Additionally, discover me on Twitter @KurtLeavins, Instagram at LeavinsOnHockey, and Mastodon at [email protected]

Just lately, at The Cult…

STAPLES: But extra psychological errors price the Oilers one other 2 factors versus Nashville

STAPLES: The addition of Raphael Lavoie to a struggling Oilers lot

McCURDY: Philip Broberg demoted to Bakersfield

LEAVINS: Gagner spark not sufficient

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