Being a member of the Edmonton Oilers isn’t easy. You are plucked from your cushy junior team spot with what is, generally speaking, the first pick in the NHL draft and encounter great optimism and hope. You are thrown on a line with your other high first rounders where you dazzle people temporarily before the reality of your team’s mediocrity sets in. Then, when your goalie is no longer saving over 95% of shots on goal your team plummets back to where you joined it and you no doubt begin to contemplate the negative words which rhyme with the projected first overall pick who will join you in your perpetual rebuild.
Clearly this is frustrating. As many people will care to point out, the Oilers have improved this year in many ways, yet, they still find themselves buried firmly in the basement of the NHL. As a result, they’re now firmly in the “Fail for Nail” talks as the Blue Jackets and Ducks pick up points while the Oilers continue to free fall since their brief stretch in first place this season. One thing people often forget when they develop tanking fantasies for their team to capture the next great player is the effect it has on the guys who are already on the team. You want to create a toxic dressing room? Have your team lose all the time for three years in a row while you try to build your dynasty. That’s why nobody with their head screwed on right “tries” to lose games.
Taylor Hall is clearly getting frustrated as was evident in tonight’s loss to the Calgary Flames. On Lee Stempniak’s hat trick goal you can clearly see Hall saying, “Why did we pull the !@#$-ing goalie?”
Obviously players hate losing and this is a good thing. However, when you clearly have a team’s (Arguably) franchise player calling out a coaching decision there is a bigger problem at hand. Obviously with all the speculation that Tom Renney is on his way out as it is, this just seems to further the notion that his message/tactics are falling on deaf ears.
I don’t want to read too much into a player’s reaction after his team has wrapped up being humiliated BUT how often do you see a reaction like this clear as day after an empty net (this happens several times a night) goal? All is not well in the province of Alberta. I wouldn’t recommend an Oil Change though – that didn’t work at all last time.