Home > Edmonton Oilers > Look out New York we’re coming to get you

Look out New York we’re coming to get you

November 18, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Make no mistake, the Oilers have New York clearly in their sights. No they aren’t looking for payback with the Rangers for the Avery fueled incident that capped of Sundays 8-2 loss. No the Oilers are looking at Islanders and their hold on 30th place in the NHL.

The Oilers are 4-10-3 on the season (only the Islanders with a 4-11-3 record are worse), they’ve lost their last five games by a combined score of 30-8, there is almost no energy from the team on the ice, and now Khabibulin has been placed on the injured reserve with a groin injury. Groin injuries are a tough injury for a goalie to get back from. With Khabibulin’s injury history I think it’s safe to say that he’ll be gone for a while. This is what people mean when they say “from bad to worse”.

With Khabibulin out Dubnyk will be the Oilers go to guy for the next while. Gerber has been recalled from Oklahoma City but I’d be very surprised if the Oilers don’t run Dubnyk night after night to see if he can handle the pressure of being an NHL starter. I don’t think Dubnyk is a bad goalie but, unfortunately for him, the Oilers defense is just flat-out atrocious right now. Gilbert turns over the puck more often than not; Smid is out with a concussion; Foster is pretty good on the power play but is no screaming hell at five-on-five; Vandermeer does what you ask but certainly isn’t a big minute guy who can fill in when other have an off night; and Strudwick is Strudwick. Unless this team finds a way to clone Whitney or Peckham really soon the guy between the pipes is going to be in real trouble.

And the problems aren’t just on the blue line when it comes to the Oilers. The top nine aren’t pissing a drop right now and on an almost nightly basis one of the top nine finds themselves stapled to the bench for a large part of the game. Last night it was Horcoff and Hemsky who took their turn watching the game rather than playing. It’s not a good sign for any team when two players with letters on their jerseys are benched. Without leadership from the veterans you can pretty much guarantee that the losses will just continue to pile up.

Of course there is also the Oilers penalty kill that is helping the Copper and Blue lose far more than they win. With a success rate of just 67.6% the Oilers, not shockingly, have the worst penalty kill in the NHL. 7% worse than 29th place Dallas. If the Oilers killed off their next 19 penalties their penalty kill would be almost as good as Dallas’ right now. No matter how you look at it, the penalty kill sucks. The cliché is that “a team’s best penalty killer must be their goaltender”. Putting an unproven player in that role on the worst penalty killing unit in the lead could lead to success. More likely though it’ll take the Oilers penalty kill stats to new levels of ineptitude.

Maybe Dubnyk steps up and blows us all away with stellar play while he fills the role as the Oilers number one netminder. Based on the hockey the Oilers are playing right now though, his play probably won’t be enough to drag the Oilers to wins. The possibility of back-to-back 30th place finishes is looking more and more likely by the day.

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