I don't blog very often for good reason, I rarely have much of value to say and when I do I would much rather have a beverage or two then sit down and write. Sadly, after yet another uninspired performance by the Oilers last night, alcohol only dulled the frustrations rather then extinguished them like usual.
Yeah, I know...its not healthy to drink away the anger, tell that to my liver.
If/when the Oilers get a Hall, Seguin or Fowler at the draft, this season will have been a complete disaster. I mean its great the Oilers will get to add a top prospect into the fold and all and at least the disaster of season would have been a disaster with a greater meaning, but that doesn't absolve the Oilers from my fury.
This team is a poor fit of too many similar players. The Oil just have too many midget forwards who are perimeter players and soft as the butter that sits in the sun. The compete level of the players we have is nowhere near to the degree it needs to be. To me a lot of the players on this team enjoy the lifestyle that comes with being an NHL player, but have no interest at all in living up to the responsibilities that come with being a professional.
To me, the failure that is this season falls squarely at the feet of our quote, unquote "leadership core" on this club. I mean here are the "leaders" on this team. The captain (Moreau), who takes rediculous penalties far too often, adds negligible offense, and barely passable defenseive awareness, on top of that seems to extend platitudes over and over again about his team's incompetance. The assistant captain (Horcoff), who is not only badly overpaid, but can't seem to win any important faceoffs this year, makes brutal decisions with the puck and has a shot to win the NHL +/- golf tournament. Another assistant captain (Souray), is also overpaid, is injury prone and has played a disinterested game for weeks. The only "leader" on this team who I have no issue with is the least talented of the bunch (Staios). His only fault is that he's a couple years too old and a step (or two) too slow and is signed for a year too long. To extend it even further, I don't see anyone from outside the core that is terribly interested in stepping up to take control.
Next, I like JFJ and Ryan Stone for what they do bring to this team, but let's be honest here, they are only on this team because they are willing to hit. Who else on this team is even interested in playing some sort of physical game most nights? Their skill level isn't good enough to be any more then an extra forward on most NHL squads, but since we don't really have anyone else who is even interested in playing a physical game outside of Gilbert Brule on offense, this club is forced to play AHL talent in the NHL just so our "skill" players don't get killed every night.
And don't talk to me about "skill". Our supposed "skill" players seem to all like to make these pretty plays that don't work, the numbers show they simply aren't good enough. There just isn't enough skill here to make up for the lack of intensity as the compete level of the skilled players we do have isn't high enough to overcome their lack of size. Too many players on this team make soft plays with the puck, are uninterested in winning puck battles in the corners and seem content to skate around the outside and hope for the 2 on 1 chance that will result in a Sportscentre Highlight of the Night. The Oilers should watch that third period against Pittsburgh again. The "high flying" Penguins potted all three of their goals on us by outworking us for the puck either in the corner or down low, and yet we seem uninterested in fighting for pucks that aren't given to us.
To me, sure Quinn deserves some blame for how this season has gone, everyone deserves some of the blame. To me, most of the blame has to fall at the feet of management, leadership and the game to game effort. You sprinkle in untimely injuries and this team is a bottom feeder in the league. This club, by hook or by crook have to drastically change this team. Every player ought to be evaluated for what they bring to this team. I can name 7 or 8 players that I think I'd want to have back next year, but I can also name 7 or 8 players that we need to get out of town. This will be a long process, but it has to happen.
Competing for 8th place can't be good enough for this franchise, a full frame-off rebuild is needed and every part needs to be looked at harshly before its decided whether or not we keep it. This club has spent far too much time and effort in relying on short term fixes and patches to try and gloss over the structural problems of the team. My frustrations with my team have simmered now since the midway point of last season. Sure, the Oilers hung in the playoff chase until the last week of last season, but the fact remains that this team has been built and has consistantly been built to compete for a playoff spot and if everything goes right, will earn the 6th, 7th or 8th seed in the playoffs. Sorry, but unless this team is actually building towards something greater then 6 extra games in April, then why bother. You build teams to win the Stanley Cup, not to get a couple extra games in the spring.
In closing, all I can ask for is better, and this club will get worse before it gets better.