While many hockey aficionados had low expectations concerning the performances of the Edmonton Oilers during the 2014-2015 season, no one could have expected this level of mediocrity. Thus far, the Oilers have experienced crushing losses in all of their five games. These defeats demonstrate the severity of the team’s instability and deficiency. In truth, it seems like the Oilers are skating on some very thin ice.
On Tuesday October 14th, the Oilers visited the Staples Centre for an embarrassing loss at the hands of the Los Angeles Kings. The defeat came as no surprise, however, as the Oilers entered the game in a particularly vulnerable state. With Oilers star Ryan Nugent-Hopkins out of the game due to an injury, the Oilers were weak at centre. Additionally, Ben Scrivens’ exhibited very poor goaltending skills, and stopped 12 of 15 goals before relieving Viktor Fasth. These struggles at centre and in the net allowed the Los Angeles to gain an easy 6-1 victory over the Oilers.
On October 15th, things weren’t much better for the Oilers. The team faced the Arizona Coyotes at the Gila River Arena, and suffered another catastrophic loss. Despite a good start (the Oilers scored just 1:25 into the game), the team was no match for Coyotes right winger Mikkel Boedker. The right winger was able to score three goals and claimed an assist against the Oilers, and was invaluable to Arizona’s 7-4 win over the Oilers. Once again, Scrivens failed to meet expectations, and saved 23 of 29 goals.
Finally, on October 17th, the Oilers faced off against the Vancouver Canucks. Despite a valiant effort, the Oilers could not get past unstoppable Canucks goalie Ryan Miller. The Oilers attempted to tame their frustration with a calm composure, but this composure was met with intense resistance from the Canucks. The Canucks eventually claimed a 2-0 victory, but Scrivens delivered an unexpectedly admirable performance. Still, Scrivens’ efforts couldn’t save the doomed team.
The Oilers have been succumbing to the same pattern of defeat since the 2006-2007. If the Oilers continue this cycle of failure, the team will fade to irrelevance and become the stepping stone for other NHL teams. The Oilers still have the opportunity to rise to the occasion and bounce back from their devastating start.
Can the team make some significant, beneficial changes, or is it already too late for this once-dominant team?