Sunday, October 2, 2011

Time To Play The Game

Another preseason is in the books and its time to get ready for an 82 game grind that is the NHL regular season. What can we expect from this years' Oilers team? Lets do a rundown.

- What we expect from the Oilers is not to be entirely out of the playoffs by January. We expect some meaningful games in March, even if the only meaningful might be on March 1. The spirit of the team and "never say die" attitude has to rise to the forefront. There will some stinkers I'm sure, but they have to truly play each game like its their last game.

- We expect a continued theme of being hard on the puck. Battling their asses off in effort to make sure the puck is moving in the right direction. This is essential as it will be the main reason on how GF goes up and GA goes down.

- We likely see more injuries occuring. The preseason has already taken a chunk of the roster away. From Fedun's broken leg, to Gagner's ankle sprain, to Eager's stiff neck, Smid's shoulder and on down the line. We are all left wondering who will be next?

- It will be interesting to see how all the pieces will mesh. Young and old, skilled and gritty, passers and shooters, big and small, do they have enough of each piece to handle what will be thrown at them on any given night? It would be alright if the Oilers could convince the NHL to up the roster's to 32 players, then they would have enough pieces to put in any given lineup. But they don't and they will have to make due with whatever the roster may be.

- I believe the goaltending will be alright for the most part as long as the defense holds up, but if the defense stumbles at all, or if its forced to be without Ryan Whitney for an extended chunk of the season, it could be a long year.

- I will say that Tom Renney and his staff look more prepared this year. The players look ready to go and understand what they are suppose to be doing on the ice. Everyone, to a man, has taking it upon themselves to do whatever it is they can to help the team. That's a sign of a team that looking to become better.

It should be an interesting year. I'm pretty sure very few will be happy if the Oilers draft first overall again next year, other than a few fanboys that think just simply grabbing the best players is a surefire way of making the team better. The team doesn't need more skill, well maybe on defense, but more than anything it needs to get wiser and more battle tested. It's time to get some of these boys some experience.

Good luck to y'all, and try to not break too many TV's out there this year.

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