In what will be the first of nine meaningless games to close out the year, the Oilers lost to a team whose best forward is a weird old man 3-1. I know a lot of people who’ve stopped watching these games, and I’m kind of wishing I could follow suit. This surely was an exercise in masochism. Here Come The Oilers indeed.
This will be a game that will never be remembered by a single human being. Even the players who played it will likely forget it existed by this time next week. You could count the interesting plays on one hand, and the most interesting chatter on Twitter was about Nail Yakupov hitting a water bottle before warm-ups. The only time I cheered was when Hall channeled his inner Messier and two handed a hapless Yote. I laughed when Ryan Whitney own goaled the 3-1 Coyote marker. I ate some snacks. Good times.
Welcome to bizarro world. The RNH line turned the table on the entire lineup, showing some sympathetic leadership by getting out-possession’ed worse than anyone. All of their Corsi percentages were in the 30% range, including an ugly +12/-27 for RNH at 31%. The 4th line had some worse percentages (obvi!), but their icetime was severely restricted. I’m really glad we picked up this Smithson guy, he seems to fit right in on the WORST LINE IN HOCKEY™. But that’s the attitude of our management team, we’re going for it, we needed to ADD at this deadline! (What are we going for again? No seriously, why do NHL teams play hockey again, I have a fuzzy recollection of a silver shiny thing.)
I may or may not be on a peyote-fueled Spirit Quest, but the RNH line got red carded by Hanzal/Gordon/Vrbata tonight. Michalek and Ekman-Larsson absolutely crushed our first line tonight, proving that employing actual NHL defencemen seems like a legitimate idea.
If I can take one positive out of this game, it’s that Gagner and Hemsky *can* have decent results — in this game they turned around the “red square of fail” and turned it into a green square of fun.
In the battle of the old men, Horcoff absolutely creamed Shane Doan — Horc’s line with Smytty and Yakupov had mediocre results, but at least they creamed the complainy ex-Albertan.
This all but extinguishes the Oilers’ playoff hopes. They’ll likely have to win out 8-0 to have any chance of making it. The good side of that is at least we don’t have to worry about the fate of the season too much longer. Nice weather is just around the corner, and the people of Edmonton surely have better things to do with their time than suffer through another game like this.