Just a quick follow-up to something I tweeted out after the Oilers won game two and took a 2-0 lead over the Ducks.
The Oilers are two wins away from reaching the conference finals. They finished second in their division, getting significant offence from their top line and some outstanding goaltending from Cam Talbot. The west was wide open this season, as there weren’t any offensive juggernauts like Pittsburgh or Washington, and the Oilers did a good job taking advantage. I thought their defensive game was still lacking, and relied a little too much on McDavid being on the ice, but for the most part, they didn’t ride any percentages.
It’s great to see the Oilers back in the playoffs and doing well. And I hope this post-season run changes the expectations fans have for the team going forward.
In my mind, expectations changed once the Oilers won the draft lottery, as growth/development was no longer going to be an excuse with a talent like McDavid in the fold. And the Oilers recognized that as well hiring an experienced general manager and coach soon after.
For me, everything the Oilers do has to be geared towards winning a cup, especially with McDavid on the payroll. And a lot of my work has been based on the pursuit of become legitimate contenders and winning a championship. This has made my work pretty critical of the Oilers and management, as I’m really interested in the ways to make winning sustainable. I won’t have all of the solutions (I don’t think “hockey men” do either), but it’ll be fun discussing the Oilers now with more people demanding a championship.
- Lack of production from Eberle
- Potentially changing up the lines
- Improved play of Pouliot and Desharnais
- Defence pairings
- Officiating and team penalty differentials