Friday, March 2, 2012
Pre-Game: Game #64 Oilers vs Stars
'Tis the season for going through the motions. It is, at least, if your a team that has no hope of making the playoffs. For fans, its tough to get up for a game that has no meaning on the standings (except if you lose), so for the players I would imagine it would be a lot in the same. I guess you could say, some of them are playing for contracts, which is true to a point, but the ones you want to kick in the ass are those that have term left in their deals. Has the rebuild officially some off the rails? In the NHL, you are never too far away from success as long as the right people at the helm have a solid plan and execute that plan to the highest degree. It could something very subtle that gets things back on track, but at some point management has to stop doing the "rob Peter to pay Paul" type deals and move forward with the team they have. Management has to identify where the dead weight is, but when fans and media want to keep everyone even though the team can't win with any consistancy, how do you fix that. Hard decisions are going to have to be made to get this teams out of the doldrums. Its starts right from the top and Daryl Katz needs to put more competant people in positions to succeed. Ken Hitchcock had some very interesting quotes the other day that Oilers management, fans and media need to take to heart. Hitchcock asked the question, what is more important personal points and wins? Everyone seems to think they go hand in hand but its actually far from the truth. He mentioned something about going "all in" on 50/50 battles and the more 50/50 battles that occur the more likely the puck will end up in your own net. Games and puck need to be managed in all zones and its a simple fact of just keeping the puck moving forward. The Oilers need to take a degree of this and apply it to their own game, because if their is one thing the Oilers are guilty of its taking too many gambles on low percentage plays and then not having the backup to cover any of those errors. As much as we all want to be a high flying team, there needs to be a degree of responsibility in their game as well. Dallas comes into this game, coming off a 4-3 overtime loss against the Penguins in what was said to be one of the most entertaining games of the year. Dallas currently holds the 8th seed in the Western Conference, so this game means a lot to them. The Stars are one of those teams that the Oilers chronically have issues with.
- The Oilers have more talent but the Stars have a better blend.
- This game will mark Sheldon Souray's return to Edmonton. Can imagine the dread he is facing.
- Kari Lehtonen should get some Vezina consideration, although Henrik Lundqvist likely already has the trophy in his house.
Special Teams Oilers
- Oilers have among the best special teams in the NHL meaning 5 on 5 they have been dreadful.
- Glen Gulutzan, like a lot of other Oilers counterparts, is doing more with less.
- Oilers are playing home, but both teams played Wednesday, so rest should be equal.
Game Time - 7:30 PM MT @ Rexall Place on TSN.