Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 11/04/13 at 11:50 AM ET
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
It is a grim thing how the Oilers’ season had gone off the rails, and hard to see any solutions on the horizon, even with Taylor Hall returning to the lineup from injury, possibly towards the end of the week.
The Oilers’ defence is leaky, their offence has ground to a halt and the goaltending remains largely mediocre. The confidence level appears to be zero; they are trying to be altogether too cute when they have the puck; and they don’t seem to have a clue how to play without it. Not a recipe for a quick turnaround.
As of Monday morning, the Oilers were 10 points behind the fifth-place Los Angeles Kings in the Pacific Division. Under the new NHL realignment plan, the top three teams in each division make the playoffs along with two wild cards.
So that’s 10 points they have to make up in a division that includes only one other real weak link – their Alberta counterparts, the Calgary Flames. It is the start of the second month of the NHL season and the task is practically hopeless already.
Many general managers, including the Red Wings’ Ken Holland, believe that teams move in tandem in the standings once you get about six weeks into the season and only on the rarest occasion can a club dig itself out of such a precarious early-season deficit. So the arithmetic is heavily skewed against the Oilers and then there is the matter of getting their act together on the ice.
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