Three points out

Jonathan Willis
March 21 2013 12:19AM

The Edmonton Oilers played what might have been there most important game in three seasons on Wednesday night. A hot run, and some help in other cities had put them in a position to tie for the final playoff spot in the West. Their shootout loss to San Jose means that they’re now three points out of both that post-season berth and dead last in the West.

An eye on the post-season

According to sportsclubstats.com, six teams in the West have an 80 percent or better chance of making the playoffs. The exceptions are Detroit and San Jose – the Red Wings took a hit with their loss to Minnesota, but remain ahead of the Sharks (who were significantly boosted by their win over Edmonton). Both the Sharks and Red Wings are rated as over 50 percent likely to hang on to their spots, with the other six teams on the chart above all somewhere between 10 and 30 percent likely to make it to the post-season.

Edmonton closes out the month with very little chance to damage the hopes of those other teams. They play Nashville on March 25, and Columbus on March 28 – with three other games against St. Louis (twice) and Vancouver. A good run here, and despite tonight’s loss they’ll be in decent shape. Needless to say, they need a good run.

Some good news: Detroit and San Jose don’t have an easy schedule to conclude March - between them they will play a combined five of their final 10 games in the month against Chicago and Anaheim.

An eye on draft position

I completely understand that (virtually) nobody wants to watch the draft rankings. The organization is at a point where wins, not losses, are what will advance the rebuild. This remains the silver lining to a potential ugly losing streak, though. Colorado’s regulation win over Dallas on Wednesday worked out well for the Oilers, come what may. It kept the Stars tied with Edmonton, hurting playoff hopes in Texas, and moved Colorado up two points, hurting their draft position (and while nobody’s really out of the race in the West, Colorado is as close as it gets).

It’s March. A streak of wins, and the Oilers are buying at the deadline. A streak of losses, and the Oilers are buying at the draft. The Oilers’ on-ice results haven’t been this interesting this late in the season since the spring of 2009.

Recently around the Nation Network

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#51 DSF
March 21 2013, 11:11AM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

If your going to do this, at least be reasonable.

1. playing with a lead

2. see above and not by much:

https://twitter.com/DKingBH/status/314594156137807873

3. The Oil hit the post just as often

4. which were questionable? I'd say the interference, but that was matched by N. Schultz' call. the Sharks got some pretty sweet no calls too.

5. agreed. but neither did the sharks. Neither team was clearly better than the other.

6. bs trolling.

1) So what? Good teams don't sit back.

2) Scoring chances were 21-17 even as recorded by Oilercentric Bruce McCurdy.

3) I don't recall the Oilers hitting the post even once.

4) The penalties to Havlat were ridiculous and the Dan Boyle penalty was phantom.

5) I was responding to the poster who said the Oilers deserved to win. They didn't.

6) Fanboy B.S.

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#52 Romulus' Apotheosis
March 21 2013, 11:15AM
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nunyour wrote:

Hemsky is over rated imo,great talent,zero intensity,he has never found chemistry with anyone in all the years he has been here.i would be shopping him around for a d- man.

this crap again.

you guys just cycle through crap arguments don't you.

enjoy your goat!

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#53 geoilersgist
March 21 2013, 11:15AM
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@DSF

Did you watch the game? Gagner rang one off the post with only a few min left in the game.

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#54 Dangilitis
March 21 2013, 11:16AM
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DSF wrote:

At the moment, the playoffs cutoff appears to be 53 points.

In order to get 54 points, the Oilers need to go 11-5-3 in their remaining games.

They are 3-4-3 in their last 10 games.

I think it will be too little too late, but also agree with an earlier post that being in the mix and falling just short wouldn't be the worst thing in the world (they aren't winning the cup this year even if they make the playoffs, and could use another top 10 pick in 1st and 2nd rounds of a deep draft).

That being said I am pretty sure that TayLord wasn't referring to the last 10 games DSF, I think he was referring to continuing the pace of the last 5 games, where they are 3-0-2. If they kept that pace up, they would surely make the playoffs. As usual, out of either stupidity or sheer spite (look up the term oppositional defiant disorder), you were taking the positive thoughts of a fan and trying to turn them into a negative, even if it means being a hypocrite.

To further prove this point, you know I am a fan of Dubnyk's work. But last night, I will admit that I thought his stats didn't tell the story as he let in some suspect goals. He let the Sharks back in the 1st after the Oilers were taking over, and totally shifted the momentum of the period (Sharks had 3 shots before the goal, then I think 6 more after in the last few minutes). Then the PP goal there was lots of traffic but the melee would not have ensued had he controlled the rebound. I am sure he wanted the 3rd one back too. He was moving around too much and had poor rebound control. So he's allowed to have some average games, I am still a fan, but will be the first to admit that he certainly didn't help the cause last night. Dubnyk stinks, you have been saying night in and night out, but from your earlier post you imply he was the reason the Oilers were "even in the game." You are certainly a person of many contradictions, only to annoy fans on this site. Please go away...

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#55 Matt
March 21 2013, 11:17AM
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The Beaker wrote:

Chicago, the year before they made the playoffs then the year before they won the bloody thing. (i could totally be misremembering and im too lazy to look)

No you're right, they finished around 10th in '08, made the WCF in '09, and won the cup in '10.

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#56 nunyour
March 21 2013, 11:19AM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

he's in the top 11 in the league in save %. top 7 of Gs who have player at least 15 games.

he's not the problem.

He's one of them,i don't need stats to see he is not the 11 best goalie's in the league,no way i'm buying that argument.

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#57 Romulus' Apotheosis
March 21 2013, 11:23AM
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DSF wrote:

1) So what? Good teams don't sit back.

2) Scoring chances were 21-17 even as recorded by Oilercentric Bruce McCurdy.

3) I don't recall the Oilers hitting the post even once.

4) The penalties to Havlat were ridiculous and the Dan Boyle penalty was phantom.

5) I was responding to the poster who said the Oilers deserved to win. They didn't.

6) Fanboy B.S.

1. there is a reason people correct for "close." if you don't acknowledge that teams without the lead "press" and that ALL teams show different possession numbers with and without leads then that's your problem.

2. and? your point is? staying close in scoring chances while leading most of the game... means... it was close. Not sure how McCurdy's chances differ from Kings in a meaningful way either.

3. well, maybe you didn't watch the game! TSN wouldn't stop blabbering about Gagner's post in the 3rd and Brown hit the post in the 1st

4. no. and no. but Murray and Schultz' were questionable, Schultz' more so. Whitney and Havlat's were both clear calls.

5. and I was responding you.

6. sure, guy.

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#58 Romulus' Apotheosis
March 21 2013, 11:24AM
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nunyour wrote:

He's one of them,i don't need stats to see he is not the 11 best goalie's in the league,no way i'm buying that argument.

Exactly... who you gonna believe if not your own lying eyes, right?

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#59 Oiler Al
March 21 2013, 11:27AM
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Will wrote:

Being at the game last night, it really sucked to watch them blow a 2 goal lead with 12 minutes left. I blame Whitney for both goals. One was a penalty, the other was a bed play defensively that allowed a guy named wiggles to top cheese it on Dubnyk, who was also mediocre last night.

Our power play, even though we got a goal, struggled to get shots. It was sad watching Whitney constantly pass the puck around. He needs to go; I don't even care if we don't have a better option. Much like replacing Habby with Dubnyk, we didn't have an option that could possibly be any worse.

For the most part I thought Yak had another great game, including one shift where he had three hits, nearly got into a scrap, then had a rocket shot Niemi had to be really sharp on.

Horcoff was good again tonight, as was Hall. Though my friend and I noticed how Nuge does not look like he's trying that hard because he has amazing hockey sense. Where as Hall always looks like he's trying hard. We wonder if maybe Hall could always just get by on his natural talent, and never had to develop a smarter way to play. Does anyone else get this?

Hey Will, how many brewskys did you and your friend have... Nuge, didnt even play last night?

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#60 nunyour
March 21 2013, 11:36AM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

Exactly... who you gonna believe if not your own lying eyes, right?

o.k. your right,that goal to tie the game was unstoppable,and he was brilliant in the shoot out.i will get my eyes checked.

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#61 Will
March 21 2013, 11:37AM
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Oiler Al wrote:

Hey Will, how many brewskys did you and your friend have... Nuge, didnt even play last night?

Ha! a few I suppose. And yes, we were well aware Nuge didn't play last night. The conversation came up when watching Hall, and thinking back to watching Nuge in previous games.

It's too bad Nuge didn't play as maybe we would have gotten another pawer play marker.

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#62 DSF
March 21 2013, 11:41AM
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match16 wrote:

So basically, the Oilers are three points out to taking the Sharks position at 8th?

Sure...while the Oilers are getting those 3 points, the following will also happen:

DAL@LA

COL@DAL

MIN@DAL

SJS@MIN

VCR @PHX

DET@PHX

CAL@CLB

CLB@NSH

CLB@VCR

As long as Dallas, San Jose, Phoenix and Columbus lose ALL those games and NONE go to OT. the Oilers will be right there.

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#63 Romulus' Apotheosis
March 21 2013, 11:43AM
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nunyour wrote:

o.k. your right,that goal to tie the game was unstoppable,and he was brilliant in the shoot out.i will get my eyes checked.

so, toss every player that makes errors?

makes sense right? except your turnover is going to be mighty high!

really, really good baseball players hit the ball around .300. That means they miss 7 times out of 10.

You sound like the guy who can't get over those 7 misses and have no context for what "good" looks like.

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#64 Romulus' Apotheosis
March 21 2013, 11:45AM
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DSF wrote:

Sure...while the Oilers are getting those 3 points, the following will also happen:

DAL@LA

COL@DAL

MIN@DAL

SJS@MIN

VCR @PHX

DET@PHX

CAL@CLB

CLB@NSH

CLB@VCR

As long as Dallas, San Jose, Phoenix and Columbus lose ALL those games and NONE go to OT. the Oilers will be right there.

It's a pointless conversation anyway.

briefly occupying 8th spot in late march is completely meaningless.

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#65 A-Mc
March 21 2013, 11:47AM
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in pocket pool, i make ball contact every time 2 out of 3 times

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#66 David S
March 21 2013, 11:48AM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

he's in the top 11 in the league in save %. top 7 of Gs who have player at least 15 games.

he's not the problem.

It doesn't matter what his save % is if the ones he does let in come at the most unfortunate moments. Like it or not Dubnyk lets in one suspicious goal a game (signified by the color guys saying "he'd like to have that one back").

Don't let percentages blind you to the fact that more often than not Dubnyk has failed to shut the door when his team needed it. A #1 goalie makes ALL the saves he should and a few he shouldn't.

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#67 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
March 21 2013, 11:50AM
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11 wins after 30 games and we're still in it.

Dats* progress.

* pun intended.

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#70 match16
March 21 2013, 12:00PM
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DSF wrote:

Sure...while the Oilers are getting those 3 points, the following will also happen:

DAL@LA

COL@DAL

MIN@DAL

SJS@MIN

VCR @PHX

DET@PHX

CAL@CLB

CLB@NSH

CLB@VCR

As long as Dallas, San Jose, Phoenix and Columbus lose ALL those games and NONE go to OT. the Oilers will be right there.

Then what you're trying to say is that the Oilers are 24 points out if 53 is the magic number, but this article is saying we are currently three points out

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#71 Romulus' Apotheosis
March 21 2013, 12:00PM
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@David S

"A #1 goalie makes ALL the saves he should and a few he shouldn't."

this person doesn't exist.

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#72 DSF
March 21 2013, 12:06PM
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match16 wrote:

Then what you're trying to say is that the Oilers are 24 points out if 53 is the magic number, but this article is saying we are currently three points out

Four

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#73 TayLordBalls
March 21 2013, 12:10PM
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There are 19 games to go and the Oilers are in the playoff run.

They have points in 5 straight games.

We’re on a roll and you guys have counted them out already.

I don’t think this team has peaked and yes……

I do Believe!

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#74 106 and 106
March 21 2013, 12:10PM
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"Petrell was playing centre" - JW

By the hammer of Thor, Tambellini.

I know we want to sign some College guys and we're at the limit for professional contracts, but this isn't Peewee hockey where you can just transfer wingers (Smyth, you too bud) to playing the middle... in a push for the playoffs...

WE NEED AN ACTUAL CENTRE-MAN.

How many times have we said this - this year? Nuge is Hurt, Belanger is tweaked something fierce, and Adam Hall was on waivers.

If this team punches into the playoffs, lack of depth will punch us back out. How the heck Kruger is supposed to roll two lines in an NHL game is ridiculous.

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#75 oilerjed
March 21 2013, 12:20PM
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DSF wrote:

Sure...while the Oilers are getting those 3 points, the following will also happen:

DAL@LA

COL@DAL

MIN@DAL

SJS@MIN

VCR @PHX

DET@PHX

CAL@CLB

CLB@NSH

CLB@VCR

As long as Dallas, San Jose, Phoenix and Columbus lose ALL those games and NONE go to OT. the Oilers will be right there.

You said the exact same thing two nights ago and guess what, every team the oilers needed to lose did. So why dont you jump of the wagon already and be done with it. You sound as pathetic as the canuck fans on the coast.

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#76 Eddie Shore
March 21 2013, 12:27PM
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Dubnyk has been far from perfect but his play is NOT holding the team back. This team is horrible at creating offense 5vs5. The Oilers have scored only 70 goals in 29 games and only 38 have come at even strength. That needs to improve and guys like RNH, Eberle, Hemsky, Smyth need to do more for them to stay in the fight for a playoff birth.

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#77 DSF
March 21 2013, 12:38PM
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oilerjed wrote:

You said the exact same thing two nights ago and guess what, every team the oilers needed to lose did. So why dont you jump of the wagon already and be done with it. You sound as pathetic as the canuck fans on the coast.

Two nights ago...the Oilers were in 11th place...two points back of San Jose.

Today...they are in 12th place...three points back of San Jose.

Depending on the results of tonight's game, they could be in 13th, 3 points back of San Jose AND Phoenix and a point behind Nashville.

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#78 Citizen David
March 21 2013, 12:56PM
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@DSF

Do I think the Oilers will make the playoffs? No. Do I think they have no holes still to fill? No. Do I think they are on the rise and have a bright future? Yes. Will I be bothered by your massive list of reasons you'll give me as to why every player on their team sucks and they will finish last for the next ten years? No. Go Oilers!

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#79 Citizen David
March 21 2013, 01:01PM
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I think Dubnyk is a goalie we can win with. I think Sam Gagner needs to be a pillar we build our team on. I think Hemsky is still an above average second line winger but we should trade him because skilled scoring wingers is a team strength. We have holes that trading Hemsky can help fill.

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#80 jonny94
March 21 2013, 01:03PM
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DSF wrote:

Two nights ago...the Oilers were in 11th place...two points back of San Jose.

Today...they are in 12th place...three points back of San Jose.

Depending on the results of tonight's game, they could be in 13th, 3 points back of San Jose AND Phoenix and a point behind Nashville.

Phoenix and Nashville will have played TWO more games then the Oilers and will only be 3 points out? So Edmonton needs to win back to back games that will give them a chance. I like those odds; the Oilers probably won't pull it off but DSF as an upset Oilers fan as you claim to be after years of disappointment I'm sure deep down you have a small portion of hope that this team is capable enough to keep things exciting all the way until the end of this season whether the Oilers make the playoffs or not. I'll give you credit reading your posts keeps things realistic. But is it unrealistic the Oilers to finish anywhere from 8th-10th? I believe thats where most fans have them landing at the end of the season.

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#81 Citizen David
March 21 2013, 01:16PM
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The thing that has been bothering me is that at the beginning of the season most people said that they expected the oilers to finish 9th-11th. They said that that would be a good step forward. Well here the oilers sit. Right there. And even through that's where people pegged them, everyone is hating on the players and on the management. But if they keep up what they've done so far they will finish where we said would be a good improvement. Please people come back from the cliff! Don't become Montreal and Vancouver fans! Stick with your team, root for your players, and enjoy this teams rise.

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#82 StHenriOilBomb
March 21 2013, 01:46PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I can't speak to what's being said, but I will say this: Krueger really had no choice but to shorten the bench last night. That fourth line was getting killed and Petrell was playing centre; there's just no good way to play a four-line game with only two natural centres.

As for leads by period, that data can be found here.

You made this point well in another article.

Question for you, J.W.: When you grade the Oilers' players, why never the coach?

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#83 turnover
March 21 2013, 02:15PM
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The Oilers seem to be stuck in groundhog day.

So who is scarred to lose? Some of the players? Or the coach? how many more time does this same movie have to played? Getting really boring.

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#84 vetinari
March 21 2013, 02:16PM
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Anybody notice how in the last 10 games, Columbus has collected 17 out of a possible 20 points-- maybe there's something to firing your GM that we SHOULD explore?

Rather than looking at the games behind us, let's look ahead-- we have 19 games left with a possible 38 points on the table... most estimates say that 54 to 58 points will be the cut off point for this year's playoffs and most of our games will be against teams higher than us in the standings like Vancouver, Anaheim, St. Louis and Minnesota.

We will also need to almost double our current point total (29 points) in the 40% of the schedule that remains (19 games), and beat all these teams in regulation time because every three point game hurts the Oilers.

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#85 Chaz
March 21 2013, 02:27PM
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@DSF

Everytime I read your comments I can't help but think of the two old guys in the balcony of the Muppet Show who only show up to complain. Which one are you?

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#86 madjam
March 21 2013, 02:30PM
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Draft Nemishnekov this year , and wait for him while other youth continue to grow here.

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#87 Curcro
March 21 2013, 03:04PM
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The Beaker wrote:

yes but those picks have consistently been later on in the draft then the top 10 where the oilers are currently picking....

Granted, which is why I didn't suggest it last year. This year we are currently in the 9th overall position.

In 9th overall drafted 2000-Brent Krahn, 2001-Tuomo Ruutu, 2002-Petr Taticek, 2003-Dion Phaneuf, 2004-Ladislav Smid, 2005-Brian Lee, 2006-James Sheppard, 2007-Logan Couture, 2008-Josh Baily, 2009-Jared Cowen, 2010-Mikael Granlund, 2011-Dougie Hamilton, 2011-Jacob Trouba

The older we go on the list the more accurate information we have, but it is more or less 50% chance at getting a player.

If you trade for someone that will help you can get 100% chance of getting a player.

For instance the Wings trade for Kyle Quincey and it was a 1st Rd pick straight across. He is in their top 4.

If the Oilers could get a top 4 defenseman for a 1st Round pick, which will likely be a higher 1st than the Wings had I think that is a win. We could even throw in Peckham or Potter so the other team has a body.

The reality is by doing this it would likely mean a few extra points in the standings, and thus a worse position for the team getting the pick. There is a chance the Oilers could win the lottery, but as the old saying, it is better a bird in hand than a bird in the bush.

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#89 DSF
March 21 2013, 04:41PM
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jonny94 wrote:

Phoenix and Nashville will have played TWO more games then the Oilers and will only be 3 points out? So Edmonton needs to win back to back games that will give them a chance. I like those odds; the Oilers probably won't pull it off but DSF as an upset Oilers fan as you claim to be after years of disappointment I'm sure deep down you have a small portion of hope that this team is capable enough to keep things exciting all the way until the end of this season whether the Oilers make the playoffs or not. I'll give you credit reading your posts keeps things realistic. But is it unrealistic the Oilers to finish anywhere from 8th-10th? I believe thats where most fans have them landing at the end of the season.

Oh, no doubt if the Oilers can beat STL and Nashville (who are 6-2-4 at home) they can stay in the hunt.

I wouldn't be betting big bucks on that though.

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#90 Rod from Viking
March 21 2013, 04:53PM
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Dubynk is not the only problem of this young team but he also isn't the long term solution, he doesn't making the big save to turn the tide that a true #1 makes, Jonathan is right about middle of the pack numbers but that will not give the players and the coaching staff confidence playing with the lead.Stats are not everything but his record in OT and shootout should tell you something.

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#91 Serious Gord
March 21 2013, 04:55PM
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The Oilers Shot Clock wrote:

Isnt that for just the first overall. No team can move down more than one spot this year with 14 teams having a chance at the first overall. Finishing dead last should guarantee you the second overall at worst as I read it. http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=658503

I stand corrected. Thank you for that.

This new format is then arguably worse than the old one IMO. There is far too much incentive to tank a season - even arguably more than in years past.

Also lets assume that the team that finishes 20th gets the number one. As I read it, everyone else from part place up to 21st last automatically gets the pick position that is one plays where they finished (2nd last gets the third pick for example) then lottery draw resumes with the 21st pick.

The temptation for a bottom feeding team 2nd to 5th last to tank is even higher than last year.

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#92 Serious Gord
March 21 2013, 04:55PM
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The Oilers Shot Clock wrote:

Isnt that for just the first overall. No team can move down more than one spot this year with 14 teams having a chance at the first overall. Finishing dead last should guarantee you the second overall at worst as I read it. http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=658503

I stand corrected. Thank you for that.

This new format is then arguably worse than the old one IMO. There is far too much incentive to tank a season - even arguably more than in years past.

Also lets assume that the team that finishes 20th gets the number one. As I read it, everyone else from part place up to 21st last automatically gets the pick position that is one plays where they finished (2nd last gets the third pick for example) then lottery draw resumes with the 21st pick.

The temptation for a bottom feeding team 2nd to 5th last to tank is even higher than last year.

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#93 Dog Train
March 21 2013, 05:19PM
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Our heads are going to explode if we try to project what is going to happen on any given night in the west. It's too tight. One night we could be 12th and the next we could be in 8th. We just need to put together a solid streak and stay in the hunt until the end. I definitely want to make the playoffs but progress is a process and if we finish within a few points of 8th, well that's progress.

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#94 jonny94
March 21 2013, 06:16PM
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@DSF

Ya I'm just a hopeless optimistic fan, I believe the Oilers can honestly beat every team in the NHL but the record is rarely there to prove it, and we can always point fingers as to why the Oilers suck but for the first time in 6 seasons were 3 pts out of the playoffs in March as opposed to being out altogether. Of course the big asterisk is there due to a lock out but I'll take whatever positives i can get from this team and I'm sure many fans including the Oilers themselves can relate/agree

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#95 DSF
March 21 2013, 06:18PM
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jonny94 wrote:

Ya I'm just a hopeless optimistic fan, I believe the Oilers can honestly beat every team in the NHL but the record is rarely there to prove it, and we can always point fingers as to why the Oilers suck but for the first time in 6 seasons were 3 pts out of the playoffs in March as opposed to being out altogether. Of course the big asterisk is there due to a lock out but I'll take whatever positives i can get from this team and I'm sure many fans including the Oilers themselves can relate/agree

You realize this March is the equivalent of December in a regular 82 game season, right?

If the Oilers are out of contention at the end of this month it's the same as being out by Christmas in a normal season.

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#96 jonny94
March 21 2013, 06:22PM
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@DSF

Haha of course hence the comment about the lockout. I'm not saying the Oilers have made the leap to being a legitimate playoff team it's just nice to know they are still in it.

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#97 Wax Man Riley
March 21 2013, 06:33PM
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nunyour wrote:

He's one of them,i don't need stats to see he is not the 11 best goalie's in the league,no way i'm buying that argument.

Hahahaha!! Ya!!! get those stupid stats out of here, they don't actually mean anything! lol

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#98 Rod from Viking
March 21 2013, 07:12PM
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Wax Man Riley wrote:

Hahahaha!! Ya!!! get those stupid stats out of here, they don't actually mean anything! lol

They don't mean everthing!!!

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#99 StHenriOilBomb
March 21 2013, 07:45PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I don't think it's that fair to the coaches, and it's difficult to do a good job of it. As an example: I caught Petrell on the ice vs. Thornton but honestly didn't notice how Krueger adjusted to avoid that matchup in the latter two periods until he pointed it out. So in the game grades I might have slammed him for getting out-coached, with L4 out vs. Thornton at home, when in reality he saw the problem and did a pretty good job of compensating for it.

That's fair. Lots going on already watching the players.

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