Happy New Year, everyone! The boys are back after an extended hiatus thanks to the Baby Jesus, or maybe it was Baby New Year or something…
Since the last column, the Oilers mustered one measly win, plummeting them back down to last place in the West and 28th in the league. Hopefully the boys have something positive to say, since a couple columns ago it was all “Nilsson is the greatest” and “we’re making the playoffs!”
Canucks 2 Oilers 1 (OT)
Craig Douglas: Woof. I’m refusing to look at the standings. It was only a little over two weeks ago that we were filled with cautious optimism, looking at the standings and daring to think “what if?” Now, of course, it’s all fallen apart. The Oilers’ defence is utter shit and we are getting the team we deserve, the team we knew all along was the reality—never mind those sensational two weeks at the start of December. It’s tempting to blame injuries in an attempt to rationalize just how bad this team is, but every team has injuries. Every team does not have a defence corps that is completely fucking lousy. The ineptitude of Schultz and Nikitin overshadows any competence shown by the other members of the D. Those two fucking wankers do not belong anywhere near the NHL.
Ahem. Anyway. This game happened.
Letestu got the Oilers on the board in the first, Wankouver tied it in the second and a whole lot of chances for both teams filled the rest of the time. This game was very exciting despite the general lack of scoring, with so many chances and so many great saves for both Talbot and Markström. The end result could have gone either way. The Oilers pretty much dominated the early portion of OT and caught a bad break when a stitched up Jannik Hansen fired a shot under Talbot’s blocker. This game was not all bad and could be chalked up to bad luck and being a little sluggish after four days off for Christmas. Things were about to get so much shittier.
Brent Oliver: Instead of talking about losing the game, I’ll talk about gambling. No, I’m not endorsing it—especially when you have a wife and three (wait, two? … nope, definitely three) kids.
I decided to send out an afternoon tweet to a friend and minor celebrity out in Vancouver, putting a tasty beer on the line for the game. Didn’t hear anything back, so the deal was dead—right? I guess not.
During the third period, he tweets back saying, “You’re on” to which I responded, “Uhh, no. You can’t take a bet in the third period of a game. Let’s go next time.” Well, the Canucks ended up winning, he’s asked for his beer, and I’ve told him (nicely) to cram it where the sun don’t shine (maybe, Vancouver).
Anyway, the moral here is to never trust anyone who’s a Canucks fan, because just like their knowledge of good hockey—they’re really, really out to lunch.
Flames 5 Oilers 3
CD: It started out so well! Two first-period goals in under two minutes by Benny Fresh and we were bound to beat the annoying pukes from down the highway. Unless … Justin Schultz fucks it all up, with a little help from Nikitin. Schultz is going to take close to 100 percent of the blame for this one and deservedly so—his stat line for the night: -2, with four PIM, two giveaways and one shot on goal in just over 20 minutes of ice time. He was responsible for the short-handed goal which made it 3–2 for Edmonton and then he was in the penalty box for hooking when the Flames scored their last goal to make it 5–3. He has been terrible all year and continues receiving undeserved ice time especially on the power play where he is fucking useless. Put him on waivers now; I never want to see him play again. The defence on this team is fucking atrocious and something needs to be done about it as soon as possible. I know that the salary cap and other factors have made trading a near impossibility in the NHL these days, but something needs to be done now. I can’t watch this shit anymore, and I know I’m not alone.
BO: Justin Schultz. Shit Sandwich.
Kings 5 Oilers 2
CD: I got to see Schultz play again, and this time it was live and in person. I headed to this game with a buddy and we kept our eyes on him the entire time. In a word, he was dogshit. 19 minutes of ice time and a -1 again with one shot on goal. We had a good time watching him fumble and bumble around the ice—it was obviously infuriating—but in the end it just made us laugh because otherwise this was not very much fun to watch. Most of the credit in this game has to go to Jonathan Quick and his 42 saves—he was spectacular all game long. No player on the Oilers was particularly good during this one, though The Nurse gets points for dropping the gloves and fighting The Garbageman aka human fuckstick Milan Lucic. Conversely, no player on the Oilers was particularly bad during this one, though Schultz should be singled out for being so shitty at his job. When the game was still tied 0–0 after the first period and the Oilers had put 20 shots on Quick, it was easy to still feel hopeful about the team for the coming two periods. However, the Kings sure put those hopes to bed quickly: three goals in 96 seconds and the game was all but over, with less than six minutes gone in the second period. Soft play behind the net by Schultz led to the first LA goal and then the floodgates opened and it was over before you can say Jack Robinson.
BO: I was also there to witness this defensive abortion in person and I echo every last rant Craig, or I, or anyone, has ever said about Justin Schultz. Scuttlebutt around the media ring is he’s out of options, and the Oilers may just choose to waive him before sending him down to Bakersfield. He’s not worth a nickel to anyone as trade bait and with him becoming a free agent at season’s end, we may as well pay him to play for another team so he doesn’t keep losing us games.
Oh, and Nikitin sucks too.
Ducks 1 Oilers 0
CD: “It was just a boring game; we just couldn’t find our rhythm.”—Taylor Hall
Yeah, it sure fucking was and y’all sure fucking couldn’t. I had the misfortune of watching most of this dull travesty. The first five minutes were a complete clown car situation for the Oilers; it was actually worse than usual. They fumbled, they bumbled, and then they tumbled and eventually crumbled. The good news out of this one? Umm, Brandon Davidson returned to the lineup, Talbot played well, and umm, it was New Year’s Eve and the majority of people probably weren’t paying attention.
There wasn’t even a lot of bad news coming out of this game—it was just boring and the Oil continued to look lost. Oh, and Justin Schultz continues to play at the NHL level, which is definitely bad, bad news. The Oilers currently sit just barely above Buffalo and Columbus in the overall standings and dead last in the Western Conference. This team (though mostly just the defence, and sometimes the offense, and occasionally the goaltending) is an embarrassment. Sigh.
BO: Should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot, and tales of Oil’s crap pie.
For Oil’s crap pie, my friends. For Oil’s crap pie.
We’ll eat a slice of shit my friends, and watch Oil’s crap pie.
What did I watch? A stellar performance by back-up John “I should be in the minors” Gibson for a shutout? Nope. He has 21 lowly saves.
What I think I watched at a bar on NYE, instead of on my couch with my attractive wife and sleeping children, was Taylor Hall pulling one of his disappearing acts and becoming Mr. Invisible, along with 8 to 11 other forwards who felt it was more important to think about partying than actually winning a game against the worst offensive team in the league.
I can’t take this anymore. When the goaltending is good, Oilers offence is bad. Defence is always garbage, but come on—no goals?
Please Connor. Come back soon.
Oilers 4 Coyotes 3 (SO)
CD: I didn’t catch much of this game, though I was near a TV during most of it. I looked up just as the Coyotes scored their first goal and thought, “Oh shit we’re going to lose.” A little later I also happened to look up just as the Oilers tied it and thought, “Oh wait, we’re totally going to win.” This went on all afternoon over and over again: losing, tied, winning, tied, losing, tied, overtime, stupid shootout, winning. Since I didn’t see much, and since Brent was there in person, I’ll let him break this one down a little more. I’m just glad that at least it wasn’t boring.
BO: Maybe sometimes a blind mouse finds a piece of cheese.
The Oilers were very decent in this game. They got up, blew the lead in the third (classic), only to come back to tie with four minutes left, give up a loser point, and win it in the shootout. A very entertaining afternoon in front of a 90 percent full Rexall Place, which was about 88 percent children.
“You know who” was a +1, mostly due to and ice-time of one second on the power play (seriously, look it up) and only a couple minutes playing short-handed. So, if we never play Schultz when the game is close, or important, why can’t we hide just how terrible he is?
Eberle had one of those swoony games where he scored a couple beautiful goals, and the Leon King made a pass to Hall that made him look like Gretzky. I’ll take 2016 over 2015 please. Keep it up.
Carolina hits Rexall tonight, then both Florida teams this weekend square off in Edmonton in the dead of winter. Bizarre scheduling, but hey—at least we get to see Jágr!
Can the Oilers string a few wins together against the crappy Hurricanes, hot and cold Lightning, and first place (wait, what?!!) Panthers? Depends on if they send a certain defenceman to the press box, Bakersfield, or U of A Golden Bears. Maybe they’ll take him?
See you next week, In The Box.