Sunday, March 29, 2009
It was, I don't know, a few weeks ago that Bruce McCurdy noted that when the Oilers were out of a playoff spot then they seemed to get it together and win but whenever they had a seed and looked to be a win or two away from opening a gap between them and the pack then they coughed it up.
Since then they have gone back and forth and what I'll call the McCurdy Paradox has proven to be true. Actually this seems to go back to the All Star break when they were on a nice little run and looked like they were about to end a long long string of furious rushes to try and clinch eighth place. Instead Visnovsky went down and the team has been barely treading water ever since.
They added two NHL players at the deadline at the cost of one while one of their rivals, Anaheim, were sellers. Ravaged by injuries and too young, St. Louis fell off the pace. Brad Richards went down and the Stars collapsed. Nashville, young, devastated by years of defections, lost their captain to injury.
It was all there for the taking for the Oilers, including a favourable schedule and only a couple of weeks ago they were five points clear of the pack. This despite a long laundry list of concerns.
- Ales Hemsky's disappearance, perhaps injury related, and a public outburst of unhappiness
- Shawn Horcoff's continued offensive struggles, perhaps injured, definitely exhausted, most definitely struggling with his confidence
- Tom Gilbert and Sheldon Souray, ridden hard after Lubo's fall, slowly but surely wearing down, becoming mistake prone
- the poor PK, the poor PP, the usual for the latter, this is what cost them the Cup in '06, but the collapse of the once terrific PK still has everyone shaking their heads
- and while Erik Cole tears it up (to be fair he plays with Staal and Ruutu now rather than Moreau and Brodziak) the new kids struggle a little, Kotalik played out of position, O'Sullivan trying to find his way
It goes on and on and only Roloson has kept them anywhere near the race and why would he sign here next year when you can bet that a few contenders with goaltending issues and solid backups to boot will come calling.
A period left tonight, down two and Anaheim is winning and the Blues and Preds have blown by the Oilers and the fans are left wondering what is going on with this team.
They'll be in tenth by the end of the night and here's hoping that Bruce is right or its going to be another disappointing year out of the playoffs. MacTavish will be gone and he won't be the only one.
Posted by Black Dog at 9:55 PM