G54: Oilers @ Wild - Somehow Still In It
On the road again all day so apologize for the from my phone blog.
This morning during practice, Ken Hitchcock watched his team from above. It may be that Hitch felt both he and the team needed a break from each other, and it is easy to see why.
Ken Hitchcock is a brilliant man and a Hall of Fame coach but when he was announced as the coach in Edmonton I felt it was a square block trying to fit into a round hole.
5 on 5 scoring has dropped under Hitchcock, the defensive game which was supposed to improve has gotten worse, and now it seems like the players are starting to tune him out.
Losing 6 in a row will do that to a team, especially one that has lost in the fashion the Oilers have. It is now there games in a row after the All Star Break where the team has blown leads going into the 3rd period.
Any other year the Oilers would be all but mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, but in this bizarre season they Oilers sit both close to last place and a wild card spot.
4 KEYS TO VICTORY
1) Grab The Reins. That is the message Hitch is sending by going back to Talbot tonight. Cam was visibly mad at his coach for pulling him against Chicago and stayed in the dressing room after that. For me it is a non starter of a story and Talbot apologized to his teammates. I like that Talbot has that anger and passion still and his coach felt so too by going back to him tonight.
2) Someone Is Breaking A Streak. Edmonton has now lost 6 in a row, and the Wild have lost 3 in a row. Both teams are vying for the playoffs making these as always must win games.
3) Chiasson Coming Back To Earth. It was going to happen eventually. After shooting over 30% for the first few months of the season, Chiasson has now not found the net in a month. #39 can be an effective player still but it may be on the third line instead of the first.
4) Top Goal Scorers. McDavid and Draisaitl have both broken the 30 goal mark. The Wild's best goal scorers are Parise (21) and Staal (17). The Oilers top line should out power the Wilds and that needs to be on display tonight.