December 23 2013 04:44PM
Things in Oil Country are getting dark. A recent 6-0 loss to St Louis started with a dominating first period by the Oilers (you read that correctly), but ended with a fan throwing his or her jersey on the ice in dismay. Poor goaltending, puck focused defence, and a methodical pace over the back 40 minutes was just too much for that Oilers fan, now going on 8 years removed from the playoffs.
The Oilers have had five head coaches since Sam Gagner's rookie year, and three General Managers (oh, and Kevin Lowe the whole time). Their current GM Craig MacTavish promised impatience and followed up by overhauling much of the team in a single summer. When the rebuild started with talk of Chicago and Pittsburgh, the whispers of Atlanta and Columbus circled the team as well, and that conversation has reappeared in the wake of a resounding loss. So much of this indeterminate process is by feel for fans, but to me it feels like this season is the moment we find out if this team will turn the corner. They've lost the playoffs already, but still have half a season to show their impatience with losing. It's already coming in fits and starts.
Meanwhile, the Jets continue to confound any notion of a window of opportunity. The team is several drafts away from a 'full' prospect cupboard, and their best players are entering or already into their primes. And yet, the General Manager continues to wait and evaluate and show patience. No one is sure if he intends to waste the good years of his top players with a coach whose expertise seems to be in finding ways to lose, or if there is a plan in place to win while Andrew Ladd is captain and Toby Enstrom is healthy.
There is a lot of coal to give out in both organizations this holiday, but I wonder if they couldn't find a trade that might help both clubs. Perhaps Craig MacTavish for Kevin Cheveldayoff?
December 23 2013 11:24AM
“Advanced” statistics such as Fenwick, Corsi, and scoring chances can often display the natural trends and occurrences of a game, usually syncing up with the “eye test” of your average viewer. The first period of the game between the Canucks and Jets was not one of those circumstances.
December 23 2013 11:20AM
If you ever wanted to pick out a game in particular to highlight the questionable decision making of Claude Noel, this was it. Poor decision followed by poor decision likely cost the Jets at least a point in this game, and I personally am getting sick of it. Changes need to be made.
December 22 2013 10:23PM
I went public with my criticisms of Chris Tanev earlier today, and even reveled on the twitter when he was caught in no-man's land on the Jets powerplay goal. Well, Tanev's third period clapper was the difference in a 2-1 loss that could have gone either way after the Jets survived a slanted 1st period.
Point taken, Chris.
December 22 2013 03:54PM
The Vancouver Province newspaper is trolling Jets fans on twitter today in a manner that fits the Canucks' personality so perfectly. I'm sure if you mention politely that it's probably a bit below them, they'll take a dive and file for libel, so watch yourselves Jets fans.
In all seriousness, the Canucks have corrected a number of their early season struggles, and Tortorella has ended a lot of the 'game within the game' buffoonery the Canucks were once known for around the league. In the case of Kesler, Torts has convinced him to play hockey again and the result is that he's back on track to be a 35 goal scorer. Now the two teams have a great deal in common, including a massive drop-off in talent from the top half of their respective rosters to the bottom half, such that structure and goaltending are the primary differences.