Hey Shorty, it’s your birthday, we’re gonna party like, like … it’s only a two-game week.
Short and sweet for this week’s column as the rodeo came to town signalling the end of the Oilers seven-game home stand and sending the team east to play five on the road. Craig and Brent hope that the domination of the Eastern Conference continues, with the Oilers winning all of their games this year away from the West.
Could they? Would they? Should they?
The answer may surprise you.
Canucks 3 Oilers 2
Craig Douglas: After an October that saw the Oilers finish with a less than spectacular—yet practically respectable—record of 4-5-1, it is time for the always difficult month of November. The month starts off slow and shitty as we only have a couple of losses to dissect this week. The last game before the annual rodeo road trip was a Saturday-night showdown versus the loathsome Canucks that had loss written all over it.
I watched this game in a particularly half-assed way since my house was full of people. The plan was to watch the hockey game, but it evolved pretty quickly into more of a party than anything else. However, I saw the moments that mattered in this game, specifically the injury to Taylor Hall, the hit by Ference, the lousy play of Brad Hunt that led to him being waived, and the gaffe by Scrivens that led to the shorthanded goal that sealed the deal. Ugh.
The Oilers were not terrible in this game, but they need to be better than not terrible, and I’m afraid that not terrible might be as good as it gets for most of this season. The game turned in about 20 seconds during the third period with a big save on Ebs at one end, followed immediately by Scrivens giving away the puck to Derek “The Clown” Dorsett. The Professor followed up his shitty giveaway with a bit of uncharacteristic shitty net minding as Dorsett’s goofy shot somehow wound up in the net for a short-side shorthanded goal. The Oilers had 15 minutes to try to get back into the game but only managed six shots in the third so they clearly didn’t put forth the effort that was needed. Ugh.
Dawg(s) of the game: Andrew Ference. It was a stupid hit that resulted in a very untimely suspension, but it was on Zack “Fucko” Kassian, so I’m more than OK with it.
Pigeon(s) of the game: Zack “Fucko” Kassian. Seriously, fuck that guy.
Brent Oliver: “Hockey Night In Canada. The Tradition Continues.” Yes, the tradition of the Oilers laying an egg on national television and losing. As usual, the loss is extra deflating when it’s against the godless Canucks, we lose our top player, and our captain, to a suspension. Jesus. This game could not have gone any worse.
Relatively solid back and forth in the first period and a half until Hall slid into the net and sprained an MCL, meaning he’s out for most of November with the injury. As soon as that happened, the Oilers looked like a scared, reactionary team—the furthest thing from composed after losing their top scorer and best player. Perron got his first goal of the year (Wait, WHAT?) in the eleventh game of the year, so that’s something, I guess. The final Vancouver goal was a brutal defensive-zone lapse, with Vancouver potting the winner, shorthanded no less.
I said in Week 1 of the year that this team was one Taylor Hall injury away from being very bad, and it looks like I nailed it. I’m not proud of myself folks … I’m really not.
Flyers 4 Oilers 1
BO: The first of five on the road brought the Oil to the city of brotherly love and their always classy rabid fan base. The Oilers must have disappointed the Pennsylvanians because the visitors we’re so bad, heckling them would have been akin to kicking a baby in the soft spot of their head.
The Oilers sucked. Lifeless, listless, tired … however you want to put it, they were terrible. Someone named Jakub scored two for the Flyers in the first period, and goalie Viktor Fasth definitely looked rusty playing his second game of the year. Yet again, the team showed no poise without Hall in the lineup, squeaking a somewhat meaningless goal in the second while still outshooting the Flyers 36 to 25. That stat surprised me since I don’t remember a single decent save Steve Mason had to make all night. The Oilers, yes, were shooting, but there’s a big difference between shots and chances. This team better find a way to regroup on the trip because if they don’t pummel, and I mean DESTROY, the Sabres, we know the true strength of the Edmonton Oilers.
Bring on the Shitty Bowl!
CD: I had a shitty day and was under zero delusions that watching the Oilers game was going to do anything to improve my mood. So I grabbed some beers and watched it anyways, because I am an idiot. I should have gone with something a little harder than mere beer, but it’s too late for that now. Next time out against Boston I’ll be sure to pack some bourbon. Ugh.
Basically Jakub Vorácek beat the Oilers in this one. Vorácek, in spite of his unappealing name, is becoming quite the hockey player. Credit must also go to Philly goalie Steve Mason who managed to stop 35 of the Oilers 36(!) shots this night. Although, as Brent said, none of those shots stand out as being anything other than saves of the easy variety. After the second period I switched over to the Maple Leafs game because apparently I apparently can’t get enough misery.
Essentially, the Oilers were never in this game. The defence and goaltending looked shaky on the first two goals and the Oilers couldn’t win a fucking face off at all (33 percent). Voracek had them down 2-0 before the end of the first and Philly had an easy time hanging on to the lead despite playing shorthanded four times to the Oilers zero. Ugh.
Dawg(s) of the game: RNH for his gorgeous goal and Jakub “Jakub” Vorácek for being the best player on either team by a mile.
Pigeon(s) of the game: Mostly me, and unfortunately Fast H has to be included on this dubious list.
See you next week for what should be a real fucking profanity party. Ugh.
As mentioned, this Friday is the annual Shitty Bowl where the Oil take on the hapless Sabres, but before that they roll into Beantown and a Chara-less Bruins team. Sunday and Tuesday see them at MSG, then down to music city to wrap the trip before heading home.
Four games (all without Hall) next week means we should have lots to talk about in next week’s column and we hope to not break our streak of profanity after multiple losses. Here’s at least fucking hoping.
See you next week, In the box.