Thursday, November 27, 2008

Oilers Plummetting

Initially projected to be roughly a year behind the Chicago Blackhawks in terms of development, the Edmonton Oilers have been one of the bigger disappointments in the League thus far this season.

Having been handed a rather brutal early season schedule and currently out of the playoff picture by a mere 2 points, the sky is not yet falling. At least not statistically. However, having watched a few games, this team's competitive level is far off from what it was just one season ago.

When looking at the "office" side of this team, the inclusion of new owner, Daryl Katz, has given Kevin Lowe more power than he has ever had before. Moving upward to a Team President's role, Lowe continues to look over the hockey side of things, while new GM Steve Tambellini hasn't yet made his mark on the team. The decisions to bring in a couple vets over the summer, in Eric Cole and Lubomir Visnovsky, was seen to be a bit curious at the time. Was this a team that should be stocking up for a chance to compete for the top spot in the Northwest Division this early on? Or should there have been a continued effort to bring in more youth to solidify a foundation of this rebuilding effort?
Ironically, after trading away Jarret Stoll and Matt Greene, two of the biggest complaints about this team happen to be poor face off percentages and team toughness. And while the majority of the club happens to be mired in a sophomore slump, the newly added vets do not appear to be making up for their rookie's lack of production. Currently a defenseman leads the team in goals.

Much of the focus this season has been put on Head Coach Craig MacTavish's dubious future with the team, as well as an over-stocked goaltending situation. In MacT's case, most criticisms point toward some curious decisions regarding his line up changes. Choosing to play his players out of their natural positions and roles has seemingly affected the play of Pisani, Smid, Penner, Cole, and Moreau. His comments on Penner's poor play, sound to be a little over the top and could simply be the result of man who's job security is being threatened. His work with special teams has not paid dividends whatsoever and while he is not responsible for finding a way to trim down his goaltending roster to a respectable two, choosing to make Garon his third stringer is questionable at best.

Considering that the Oilers haven't got a whole lot of assets they can part with to pick up a player or two in which they desperately need, Tambellini's first real splash on this team might be to hand his head coach his walking papers.


damned said...

The issues with the Oilers are deeper then the coach, but I have to agree that it's starting to look like that may be the place to start.

Stevens8204 said...

I will say least for one game...whatever MacT said in the locker room...worked. They came out completely different in the 2nd and 3rd against St. Louis today.

damned said...

Agreed, another slow start that could have buried the team if Roloson didn't stone Boyes on that breakaway though.