Turnovers and lack of physicality is what the Oilers identity has become this year. Seems to be game after game that a gawdy turnover just before the offensive blue line results in a scoring chance for the opposing team. It's worth noting that at this moment Hemsky ranks at number 15 in points but he is the only guy in the top 15 with a negative plus/minus. Hemsky is a pleasure to watch and can make some pretty passes, but it's time for him to learn that he causes a lot of turnovers which directly result in goals. Having watched every game thus far I would say his plus/minus is directly related to his style of play. Before everyone gets in a fit because I seem to be picking on what most believe is our best player I will side with you and say it's not just Hemsky who is causing turnovers. However I do think Hemsky is a starting point in order for the Oilers to fix this aspect of their game. To me it's a no brainer that a great start would be to work on a guy that has been playing the run and gun style for years with no concern of defensive consequenses. He is after all suppose to be leading this team by example.
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It's not just turnovers that are killing the Oilers either. After watching Detroit you see how well their defensemen play infront of the net. They keep everyone clear, and only Penner was able to get his feet in the crease and he had to fight like hell. He also most likely got away with goaltender interference. Yet Detroit was unscathed in both games when it came to screening Roli. Establishing a physical presence infront of the net doesn't mean you need to be a Nick Lidstrom, it's body positioning and a bigger effort which many of the Oilers defense are capable of doing.
Mactavish seems clueless to what the problems are right now, his only statements are in general and we haven't seen any improvements on the obvious mistakes thus far. So how much longer can this continue until someone behind the bench gets the axe. Think it's at all realistic for our beloved coach to be skidded? I have one thing to say in Mactavish's defense. Tambellini has only made one move this year and that was plucking Boulerice off waivers. Mactavish, it seems, disagreed with the signing as he didn't want to use him and Boulerice was reclaimed off waivers by the Avalanche. So before Tambellini could even think of replacing a coach he has to step up himself and at least have a goaltender moved, bring in a capable and reliable fourth liner and possibly a defensive defensemen. If he can do this the team play should improve a bit...but in the meantime Mactavish has got to make the best of what he's got (which I don't think he has done yet).
All of this is a direct result to a poor penalty kill. Two people are at fault; Charlie Huddy works with the defense and Mactavish who is suppose to be a pro at the defensive game really need to step up. Time for them to open their eyes and crack the whip or else it's time for upper management to finally step in and prove to the hockey world that coaches of the Edmonton Oilers do indeed have consequences.
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