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Out of contact Edmonton Oilers could have price Jay Woocroft his job

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Will Oilers axe anybody else as properly?

The Edmonton Oilers have simply two wins in 12 video games. Doom has descended on the membership in fast vogue, in no small half as a result of Edmonton is out of step with the NHL.

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They’re a firewagon crew in a park-the-bus league. And that the Oilers can’t appear to alter that, even when they wish to accomplish that.

Firewagon is a reference to the sensible and reckless attacking fashion of hockey made well-known by the Montreal Canadiens. Parking the bus is what defensive-minded groups do in European soccer, placing all their gamers in and across the penalty space in entrance of the goalie to stop targets towards.

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The Oilers dwell to press and assault, press and assault. They like to make use of their surreal velocity and talent to slice open the opposition slot. However the dominant tactic within the NHL simply now could be to pack the defensive slot with defenders, hold opposition exercise to the surface, and forestall open pictures in entrance of the goalie in any respect prices.

Edmonton retains aggressively bashing into that parked bus, however when it bashes and pushes too onerous, the crew leaves itself open to the counterattack.

Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft tried to usher in extra of a park-the-bus fashion of play this season, however his Oilers have been unable or unwilling to rapidly grasp this fashion of play. Certainly Edmonton gamers are usually ill-suited for the form of cautious, highly-disciplined defensive recreation that different groups are using, the identical technique and techniques that Las Vegas used so successfully to beat Edmonton within the 2023 playoffs.

Edmonton gamers work like demons to separate open that defensive shell, however in doing so they’re urgent too onerous, making errors on the offensive blueline and on the backcheck, and permitting far too many odd-man rush possibilities towards.

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To date this 12 months Edmonton has allowed 23 targets towards on the push, whereas scoring simply seven. Edmonton has allowed simply 31 targets in complete. That 74 proportion of targets towards on the push is appalling. It’s just like the Oilers have forgotten how you can play hockey.

Shot high quality alarm: +177, +50, +16, -10, -12

The shot metrics additionally inform the story. The crew is getting loads of pictures at and on web, however not loads of probably the most harmful pictures.

The standout numbers listed below are +177, +50, +16, -10, -12, Edmonton’s shot differentials as we go from the least to probably the most harmful of pictures.

Edmonton has propelled 639 pictures on the opposition web, whereas opposing groups have fired 462 in the direction of the Edmonton web, a differential of +177 for pictures at web.

Edmonton has 318 pictures for and simply 268 towards, a +50 pictures on web differential.

However after we take a look at Grade A pictures, which go in about 25 per cent of the time, Edmonton has 170, the opposition 154, only a +16 differential.

Once we dig deeper and take a look at the subset of most harmful Grade A pictures, the 5-alarmers that go in 33 per cent of the time, Edmonton has 74 and the opposition 84, a -10 differential for Edmonton.

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And in relation to precise targets, Edmonton has 19, the opposition 31, -12 for the Oilers.

Edmonton is in a position and allowed to take all types of outdoor pictures, however is thwarted in relation to getting off probably the most lethal of them. In its ardent push to attain, the Oilers gamers are taking too many dangers and permitting a excessive variety of probably the most harmful pictures towards on the counterattack.

It’s not a swell recipe. It’s a rancid one.


After all, Edmonton goalies haven’t helped a lot. There’s hardly ever been a recreation when Stuart Skinner or Jack Campbell has been the very best goalie within the recreation. Nevertheless it’s not all on them.

This soften down is a team-wide soften.

Accidents have additionally performed a component. Mattias Ekholm, Connor McDavid, Brett Kulak, Mattias Janmark and Connor Brown have all been damage, both lacking video games or enjoying damage. McDavid solely now could be beginning to seem like his previous self, however he’s not there but.

Woodcroft out?

What does it imply for head coach Jay Woodcroft?

When groups lose, they most frequently blame the goalies and the coaches. Campbell has already been despatched to the AHL.

It seems to be just like the coach will probably be subsequent to go. I’m no insider, however like most lifelong followers, I can learn hockey smoke indicators properly sufficient.

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Discuss of firing Woodcroft has escalated quickly previously 10 days. The sport towards San Jose was seen as a must-win, one Edmonton needed to take for Woodcroft to maintain his job. However Edmonton misplaced on Thursday night time, 3-2, decisively outshooting the Sharks however with each groups having the identical variety of probably the most harmful possibilities, six every. And early within the recreation, when San Jose constructed its lead, the Sharks had 5 of probably the most harmful pictures, the Oilers simply two. They didn’t come out swinging for the win, however have been moderately subdued, not bodily, not determined. The Sharks outworked them.

The Oilers are simply 12 video games into the season, so the group is not going to wish to hand over hope simply but, not with a roster full of such scoring expertise, not with a crew predicted by so many to be a Stanley Cup favorite.

Why not roll the cube on a brand new coach? I believe that’s what we’ll see.

One query is whether or not or not the Oilers would go together with extra of a firewagon coach or one who makes a speciality of parking the bus techniques. That will probably be an fascinating indicator.

However will others go as properly? GM Ken Holland is within the final 12 months of his contract. Jeff Jackson is the brand new hockey boss.

Woodcroft is probably not the one one out, as Jackson has to suppose onerous concerning the years to come back, and whether or not or not the crew ought to hand over main property to salvage the present season.

That’s a name the chief of the crew this 12 months and in years to come back has to make, not a GM heading into retirement. It may properly be Holland will probably be shuffled into extra of an advisory position.

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Alberta Premier Danielle Smith outlines how the province plans to refocus the well being care system throughout a information convention in Edmonton on Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2023. Picture by David Bloom /Postmedia

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