Since the disastrous home-stand a few weeks ago where the Oilers lost five straight, the club has been playing much better, going 4-3 and posting some respectable numbers. Of the three losses, I’d say that the only one that really stung was against the Blue Jackets. The other two losses were tight games, on back-to-back nights, against Los Angeles and Anaheim, who at this point are two legitimate Stanley Cup contenders. All in all, it’s been a solid run, but one in which the Oilers have been getting a 94.5% save percentage from their goaltending at even-strength (Source: War on Ice).
What I’ve found odd is the teams emphasis on being “scrappy” over this recent stretch of games. I honestly can’t think of a day where Todd McLellan or one of the players haven’t mentioned the word “scrappy” or “meat and potatoes”. This just doesn’t jive well since it;s obvious that the team is relying on some outstanding goaltending and haven’t really improved much in other facets of the game like team defence or shot generation.
I get that the team has been playing some physical games, with plenty of fights and after-the-whistle events. But if these things don’t translate into goals and wins, I tend to overlook it. But I figured it’d be worth looking into the numbers a little more to see was if I was missing something that would suggest that this team might be turning a corner and actually playing a “scrappy”, hard-to-play-against style. And if they are in fact playing a new style, then it should show up in the numbers, especially the ones that measure the different events against.
Full article is at The Copper & Blue.
One thought on “Scrappy, Meat and Potatoes Hockey”
The Oilers really are lacking leadership. They have been for years. Hall is not a leader, how many times have you heard him say, how well his team played after losing by 2-3 goals. Eberle is not a leader, RNH doesn’t want to be a leader. Yak isn’t a leader.
McDavid will be a leader for this team, but for that to happen the team needs a change in its player personal.
Before McDavid arrived, the kids were supposed to lead the team.
I believe there were plenty of veteran players who were not too happy that everything was being given to the 3 or 4 new kids. And while some of the coaches didn’t mind publically dressing down some of the senior players while ignoring all the weaknesses of the kids , a division was built in the locker room.
How many times did you see Hall getting mauled after the whistle and the rest of the team skating back to the bench.
Fast forward to now, Hall,Eberle and RNH when he is not hurt are still not leaders. All has certain skills that other teams would love, but not together. I think by next year expect to see at least 2 of these core players gone. This is McDavids team and he needs to be surrounded by others who will follow.
Last night what Nurse did was wrong, but it also sent a message. The days of bigger teams coming in to their building and kicking the crap out of the Oilers while the refs turn a blind eye are over. Need to see a lot more toughness from Rhienhart as well if he wants to stick around. As long as this team has small skilled forwards who have to injure a beating sometimes by the rules and plenty of times, not by the rules this team needs a few players who will stand up for them.
Hockey needs to be played with a warrior mentality, too many of the so called top players simply don’t have this mentality, its what happens when you are given too much, too soon. The kids are getting paid huge money, win or lose and in lots of games when the team is losing, they don’t seem to care.