We are officially over the halfway mark of the season and the likelihood of the Oilers have a miraculous second half of the season looks bleak at best. The injury to Klefbom took a massive toll on this team but by no means should the loss of a single player cripple an entire team.
Todd McLellan was fired after the Oilers 20th game this season, Ken Hitchcock came behind the bench for the 21st game but really was there more to observe how the team was playing under the previous system. Basically we have a team that played 21 games under McLellan and 21 games under Hitchcock....what do the numbers look like?
Here are the big 3 under McLellan versus under Hitchcock
10-20-30 - Hitchcock
13-13-26 - McLellan
9-9-18 - Hitchcock
5-15-20 - McLellan
9-7-16 - Hitchcock
Every single one of the big three have had a drop in production under Hitchcock in total points. Now let's pick three of the supposed secondary scorers in Edmonton
8-3-11 - Hitchcock
2-6-8 - Hitchcock
0-3-3 - Hitchcock
Hitchcock has done some good things for some of the players on this team; giving Khaira and Puljujarvi more opportunity comes to mind first, but he isn't getting any more brilliant production out of any of these players. The early 8-1-1 record he sailed to in the first 10 games was simply because of a hot goalie. Now that that has tapered off the team remains a mess, that no coach can fix.
1) Never Again. Chiarelli brought in Petrovic and "how in the world are the Blackhawks going to get rid of him" Brandon Manning. Both players have shown why they were so freely given up by their former teams; Petrovic is way slower than I expected and the opposition continues to attack his side whenever he is on the ice and Manning is just bad. Hitchcock played the two together last night.... please don't do that again.
2) Beat Gibson. Gibson should certainly be in Vezina conversation as he is the sole reason the Ducks are in a playoff position. Scoring has been an issue for Anaheim all season but their brilliant netminder has kept them in games.
3) Message Received? Ken Hitchcock went off on his team after last game, accusing all but Darnell Nurse for taking the night off. I wouldn't have faulted McDavid or Draisaitl for that last game but it is hard to disagree with his sentiments regarding everyone else. The team needs to come out strong tonight.
4) One Step Closer? Maybe another botched game tonight finally has Katz swing the hammer on Peter Chiarelli...wishful thinking.
FILM OF THE DAY
The Oilers are not a good team right now and they are playing Anaheim. The only possible film to pick is a movie that is both bad and about ducks. Howard The Duck.