I’ve written more than a few articles this season that started with: Oilers lose again, or Oilers have lost (enter number here) straight – this is one of them. The players that I’ve mentioned in past articles that needed to step up – haven’t & the wins aren’t coming either.
Excuses will be tossed around; players playing outside of their usual roles, lack of motivation, and lack of talent – injuries. But that’s not good enough; these are paid professionals. The Oilers have made losing a part of their game-plan. 8 games lost in a row to be exact.
Last night’s shot chart versus the St. Louis Blues sums up the Oilers season. First period, starts off 9-5 in Blues favour, second period 7-5 advantage Blues. Finally, with the game still on the line – Oilers only down a goal – they cut the cheese. 3 red lighters later the Oilers out-shot 14-2 – game set match Blues.
The bad news: The Oilers will miss the play-offs again for the 5th straight season. They haven’t been to the dance since their run to the Stanley Cup finals in 2006 – it seems like ages ago. There is good news: the season is almost over.
With two 1st round picks in this year’s entry draft – and the possibility of adding more picks on or before draft day, the off-season will be exciting for a rebuilding club on the rise. Not to mention some player movement that could involve some big names like Ales Hemsky & Sheldon Souray.
Down in Oklahoma City the Barons are embedded in tight play-off race. New Barons Colten Teubert & Kevin Montgomery have made a smooth transition on the blue-line. Some key Barons are playing in the big leagues, and if they hope to make the play-offs the newly acquired duo on defense will have to come up big.
Teemu Hartikainen, Ryan O’Marra, Chris Vandevelde, Jeff Petry & Taylor Chorney all played significant time with the Barons this year – at least 40 games. An entire line has been taken out of the line-up. Alex Giroux’s return to Oklahoma City is timely, joining veterans Brad Moran & Colin McDonald to reunite the Barons top three point getters.
A strong run in the AHL play-offs would be a massive boost for an otherwise disappointing Oilers campaign. The Oilers play-off drought will end eventually, there will be better days. The process to get there has already begun and creating a winning environment is never ending.