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Issues to consider whereas the Edmonton Oilers gasp for air

It’s one factor for the 2011 Oilers to fall off a tricycle, it’s fairly one other to see the 2023 Oilers plummeting to earth like Wiley. E Coyote from a do-it-yourself sizzling air balloon

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Twelve video games.

A Soiled Dozen.

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That’s all it took for the 2023-24 Stanley Cup window to slam shut on the Edmonton Oilers’ fingers. Luckily it didn’t harm as a result of their arms are manufactured from stone, but it surely’s nonetheless a devastating flip of occasions for everybody who had an emotional funding on this membership.

From proprietor Daryl Katz to the informal fan, no person can imagine or perceive what’s taking place with this star-studded, high-priced dud. What was alleged to be their coming-of-age, breakthrough season is totally off the rails in lower than one month.

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That’s what makes this factor so spectacularly jaw-dropping. It’s one factor for the 2011 Oilers to fall off a tricycle, it’s fairly one other to see the 2023 Oilers plummeting to earth like Wiley. E Coyote from a do-it-yourself sizzling air balloon.

Some fast observations because the Oilers mud off their fur and do the flat-faced accordion stroll to Seattle.

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The Oilers are a badly-wounded hockey crew proper now, however this doesn’t must be deadly.

First, second and sure third place within the Pacific Division are most likely out of attain, however there may be nonetheless time to get again within the playoff pack.

The Oilers have 70 video games to make up eight factors on the final wild-card spot. That’s the straightforward half. The place it will get a bit harder is additionally they must put up a greater document over these 70 video games than the seven different groups standing between Edmonton and eighth place.

If a type of groups will get sizzling and runs method, it’s most likely over. 

But it surely’s a doable chase for a crew that ran off an 18-2-1 end final 12 months. As soon as they resign themselves to the very fact they’re a wild-card crew now and never a contender, and begin enjoying with the mandatory urgency and self-discipline, they’ll get proper again within the dialog.

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Raphael Lavoie #62 of the Edmonton Oilers battles for management of the puck with Fabian Zetterlund #20 of the San Jose Sharks through the first interval at SAP Heart on November 09, 2023 in San Jose, California. Photograph by Thearon W. Henderson /Getty Pictures


The Oilers have been dropping so many video games they need to get royalty funds at any time when anyone else loses a sport, however they haven’t been sizzling rubbish.

They’ve been throughout all of it season. They’ve performed nicely sufficient to win a bunch of video games thus far however have been let down by the goaltending, which isn’t ok to beat this crew’s lack of concern for puck administration and defensive obligations.

There have been additionally nights when robust territorial benefits and lofty shot totals ought to have allowed them to outscore their errors, however they couldn’t end.

They haven’t appeared horrible for complete video games, however recurring 30-second mind cramps up and down the lineup can undo quite a lot of good.

There’s a profitable crew in there someplace, they simply want to seek out it and launch it earlier than it’s too late.

Additionally, too late is about week from now.


How unhealthy would it not look on the Oilers management group if administration had to herald a fifth coach in eight years to try to get this crew to play sound hockey?

If it occurs, and a brand new coach is available in and the crew begins enjoying impressed hockey, that’s nice. However it should even be a stinging indictment on the character in that dressing room.

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Edmonton Oilers bench
Edmonton Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft appears on through the second interval of their NHL sport towards the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Area on November 6, 2023 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Photograph by Derek Cain /Getty Pictures

They’d it in them this complete time, they simply didn’t get round to bringing it till administration gift-wrapped one other excuse and man misplaced his job?

Groups like that don’t win quite a lot of championships.

Cup or bust? Tightening up the defence? When are the gamers on the coronary heart of this factor going to suck it up and begin delivering on these guarantees?


These have been Edmonton’s nuclear weapons for years. With the ability to ice two of the very best gamers on the planet and the very best energy play of all time is what separated the Oilers from everybody else. So, in fact you lean on them.

However Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl have been common this 12 months. And never common by their very own wonderful requirements, however common basically. Draisailtl is forty fourth within the NHL in even-strength manufacturing with 9 factors in 12 video games. McDavid, who’s enjoying harm, has 4 even-strength factors in a dozen video games.

We’ve all the time recognized that these two guys have been carrying this crew, however we didn’t know the extent of it till now. When so lots of your eggs are in a single basket, that is what occurs when the basket has a gap in it.

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Connor McDavid
Connor McDavid #97 of the Edmonton Oilers skates with the puck pursued by Luke Kunin #11 of the San Jose Sharks through the first interval at SAP Heart on November 09, 2023 in San Jose, California. Photograph by Thearon W. Henderson /Getty Pictures


It is a flawed roster. As a lot as it’s honest guilty the gamers for not being exhausting sufficient or centered sufficient to reside as much as their very own expectations, and the coach for not wielding a heavier hand when the malaise was setting in, Ken Holland hasn’t accomplished sufficient to foretell or repair the issues.

That is nonetheless a roster worthy of competing for a playoff spot, no query about that (blame falls on the underachieving gamers for being tied for final place with the crew that simply beat them), however the GM’s fingerprints are on this, too.

Taking a threat on Connor Brown was price a shot. And no person predicted Ryan McLeod could be this invisible after his robust playoffs final 12 months. And who knew Evan Bouchard and Stuart Skinner would regress so badly.

However everybody knew, primarily based on the second half of Jack Campbell’s season in Toronto and the very fact he’s by no means carried the load as a starter in his complete profession, that he was a really large threat.

And as an alternative of getting the much-needed top-four defenceman and bottom-six veterans to switch Nick Bjugstad and Klim Kostin, he crossed his fingers and hoped the unproven likes of Philip Broberg and Dylan Holloway would save the day.

Trades are exhausting and Holland’s arms have been tied by the cash, however there may be all the time a method.

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