Mar. 06, 2013 - Issue #907: Garbage Goes Green
Nothing or all or nothing
In the Box
Welcome to another edition of In the Box, Vue Weekly's column about the infuriating adventures of the NHL's most hot and cold team—your Edmonton Oilers. How do our columnists manage the ebbs and flows? The binges and purges?! The famines then feasts?!
With beer and peanuts, of course. Enjoy!
Red Wings 3, Oilers 0, March 7
Craig Douglas: Brent and I got together for this game along with a six-pack and some peanuts and (yawn) it was a boring one. As a game against Detroit, it went pretty predictably. The Oil continued to not shoot the puck and Detroit continued their dominance of us. They are 10-0-1 against us in the last 11 regular season meetings, because why wouldn't they be?
Nothing much happened in the first period, though Brent did enjoy a hell of a lot of peanuts. Then Detroit stepped it up in the second, outshooting the visiting team (which is what the Oilers are called these days) 15-7. Mike Brown fightroduced himself to Oilers fans by scrapping with Jordin Tootoo, then Detroit went on to score less than a minute later and grabbed another one midway through the second. The Oilers didn't know it at the time, but they had an old-fashioned goal drought on their hands. There were a few chances in the third, but mostly Jimmy Howard thwarted them for the shutout.
Brent Oliver: I'm not sure if it was the whole bag of peanuts I ate or the tedious reluctant play of the Oilers that made me sick. Maybe both. What the hell is wrong with this team? Are they scared of playing better clubs? Even when the Oilers were the shitbags of the league (see: the Dustin Penner Years), they at least showed up to play a competitive game against better teams. This team, I just can't read them.
Is it coaching? Is it effort? Is it toughness? I have no idea, but I know it makes me sick.
That, and a whole bag of Jalapeño Peanuts.
Predators 6, Oilers 0, March 8
CD: Things got much fucking stupider at the next stop for the visiting team on Friday in Nashville. I saw very little of this game and I'm happy about that. It was already 2-0 Nashville by the time I looked at a TV, so I didn't know about the terrible bouncing goal that Legwand "managed" to get by Dubnyk until much later. UGH.
So let me get this straight: the lowest-scoring team in the league (averaging 1.96 goals per game), puts up a SIX goal shutout on us. There is not much more that I care to say about this. I made it home to find out that it was now 5-0 and I semi-settled in to watch the Preds score their sixth goal of the game. Mostly I just sat there trying to figure out what I was seeing and feeling. How was this Nashville teaming scoring a sixth fucking goal?! Where the fuck was Dubnyk?! Will we ever fucking score again?! What will be my fucking dinner?!
BO: Ladies and gentlemen, chew on this stat: before this game, and until the game Sunday in Chicago, the Edmonton Oilers went 11 periods and one whole week without scoring a goal.
One week. ONE FUCKING WEEK. That means, Hall, Eberle, Nuge, Yakupov, Hemsky, Schultz and even fucking Ryan Smyth didn't score a goal, for a week. Let's do the math on this abbreviated season, shall we? By my calculations, the Oilers' salary costs for not scoring a goal over one week (based on capped salary divided by a 15-week regular season) was $4 455 533.33. That's right kids, four and a half million dollars to score no goals.
Think it's time for some fucking changes? (Drops mic. Walks out of room.)
Oilers 6, Blackhawks 5, March 10
CD: And then this game happened. What the fuck? The goal drought was over early and often as the Oilers scored two, three, nine and 12 minutes into the first period. Mike Brown figured he'd get the scoring started as usual and Ryan Whitney had decided to start playing and scoring again. Gagner got a couple of goals for good measure as they chased Ray "Not Very Good" Emery after the third goal with his replacement Corey Crawford—not shit-tons better—going on to let in three of his own.
But as quickly as the rout was on, it was back the fuck off, as Chicago decided to get four goals in a period as well. The Oilers used two goalies again this game, but for much different reasons as Dubnyk was injured after being bowled over by big "Special Teemz" Hartikainen. Things were much easier for Yann Denis coming in as relief this time with a nice lead. He still let in three goals, which is discouraging, to say the least, but it was an angry Chicago team and he made 24 saves so we'll give him a pass. Hopefully we won't be giving him a start, though, as it looks like Doobie expects to be back for the visiting team's next game on Tuesday.
BO: This team continues the feast or famine vibe of the last week, in one single game! Go up 4-0 against Chicago super early, then barely hold onto a 6-5 win? Who is this team? Are they run and gun now? Do they only know how to play one way per game?
It's either all run and gun, no defensive trapping, or vice versa. I know it was a couple points in the win column, but Christ—what is this team doing? So many questions and I think those questions need to be answered quick or this fleeting thought of playoffs (cue Jim Mora: "Playoffs?! ... PLAYOFFS?!!") is gone.
CD: I'm headed to SXSW music festival in Texas for a week beginning Tuesday so I get to take a break from this frustrating team. Brent gets the privilege of bringing you all the losses and swearing that next week is sure to bring. I might chime in if I've got something to say, but America is crazy for NCAA basketball this time of year, so my Oilers coverage will likely consist of looking at my phone on Wednesday, Saturday and Monday morning and shrugging.
At least we get another crack at fucking Detroit and fucking Nashville again so soon after the goal drought they caused us this week. And at least I don't have to watch it. Bye!
Oilers 4, Colorado 0, March 12
BO: Well, shit. Sometimes a blind mouse finds a piece of cheese, huh?
Just when I was ready to completely write off this team, they actually show up—on the last day of the longest road trip in team history—and shut out a very good Avalanche team at home. Dubnyk was solid, if not spectacular, making 36 saves for the shutout.
What really stood out to me was the play of Captain Horcoff. Did we really miss him that much? I mean, he wins a ton of faceoffs, had a breakaway goal and really seems to calm the team. I’m not ready to hand him a bunch of credit, but I’ll hand over some of it. Some credit should also go to the Avalanche for having large stretches of the game where they looked like the Oilers of the past week … listless, tired and, frankly, shitty. It sure is nice to be on the other side.
As we look towards the coming week, Brent flies solo reviewing games back in Edmonton (WHAAAA?!), for the first time in weeks. Will the boys continue the two-game winning streak, or will it be time for another famine after feasting in Chicago and Denver?
We’ll report back next time, In the Box.
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