Man, was that a good game for about 25 minutes or so. Seriously, from about the 12-minute mark of the second period to around the 15-minute mark of the third, the Oilers looked vaguely like the team that won three games at the beginning of this year. It’s a piteous shame that the rest of the time we looked inept: not lacking heart, not getting bad break, inept. For the majority of the game, we looked like some evil wizard who lives secluded in a cave in Aspen somewhere sucked the hockey sense right out of us. Anyway, pluses and minuses.
When we had confidence, we were playing well. For a brief window there, we started shooting with reckless abandon, and it worked well. We seemed fairly sound defensively, outside of a few big errors which all lead to goals, unfortunately, and uh…shit, I swear there was one other upside, somewhere. No, in all seriousness, though, had we played 60 minutes the way we played 20, we’d have probably won this game. Really easy for the negatives to overwhelm the positives, though, and on that note:
We don’t have any confidence. There isn’t one player who looks or feels like they know what they’re doing out there. They know they’re playing badly, but they don’t have a clue as to what to do to fix it. They’re all worried about making mistakes, and so they don’t do anything. We jump out of it every once in a while, but by and large, we’re lost, looking for someone to show us what to do, with no one able to do it.
I’ll defend Markkanen until I’m blue and copper in the fact, but he was rough this game. The first goal was a bad giveaway, but it was a slapper from the top of the circle with no one in front of him—easily stoppable. He committed far too quickly on the second one, too: there’s a difference between sliding across the crease and diving across the crease, and if he’d have stayed on his feet, there’s no goal there. Don’t even get me started on Konowalchuk’s first. My father could have stopped that, and he just had ligament-repairing surgery on his left shoulder.
Special teams, as usual, were bad. We got a PP goal, but we were pretty useless most of the night—we started shooting, finally, and it worked, but even after that, we looked fairly confused. Allow me to be the first one to explicitly say this, but seriously, what the hell does Craig Simpson have to do to lose his job? Drive down to the Stollery Children’s Hospital and whip his dink out? The man turned a middle-of-the-road special teams unit into the worst unit in the league, and he evidently has all the leadership and motivational skills of a plague-infected rat, with the exception being that the rat could probably motivate fear. I liked Simpson a lot as a player, and as a commentator, but the guy couldn’t coach his wife at a Lamaze class. He’s good for nothing but one-liners at his expense.
I don't know, I have to admit, I'm pretty disgusted at this point, and it really seems like the only way to change anything is a fairly major shake-up. A firing, a trade, something to at least give the illusion of confidence somewhere. Of course, knowing the Oilers, we'll probably fire MacT and hire Simpson. I feel like I'm rattling a metal cup against prison bars.
Kris Russell, A Molehill.
3 weeks ago