Wednesday, March 2, 2016

McDavid vs. Eichel? Stop it.

. #Oilers Yes, we saw McMagic again last night.  But shouldn't the score have been more of a blowout for the Oilers?

Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel on 2015 draft day.
Image courtesy of Yahoo Sports.
Yes, Lander didn't get off the ice in a millisecond so that Sekera's challenged goal was called back for offside.  But maybe the game wouldn't have gone to overtime to see McDavid's winning goal.  Ah yes, those Hockey Gods.  They work in mysterious ways, don't they?

That said, the Oilers had lots of chances throughout the contest.  Robin Lehner, that crazy Viking of a Swede was excellent in goal for the Sabres, but still, why weren't there more goals?  The Sabres are not a good team, yet.  Neither are the Oilers, but when you take off the Oilers-focused blinders, you watch Buffalo on the ice and just think "Yikes, they look inexperienced and disorganized."  Well, like the Oilers, the Sabres are a very young inexperienced team.

So if the Oilers think riding the coat tails of Hakuna McDavid, who is the lion's share of scoring now (pun totally intended), is going to get them far, as players, they need to rethink that.

What I liked about last night's coaching was in O/T, coach McLellan kept McDavid out on the ice when Sabres coach Dan Bylsma called a timeout.  Well, now McDavid is rested.  And it worked.

And what we like about GM Peter Chiarelli is he realizes coat tails aren't enough.  He knows the Oilers are going to need more goals in the slot and Smytty-style garbage goals in front.  Which is why he's emphaSIZING size in players.  

Although the Yak-McDavid-Eberle line had a wonderful full minute of 5v5 offensive zone time, unless you have a guy or two in front creating havoc and screening, no amount of fancy cross-ice and drop passes outside the slot are going to accomplish much against even average goaltending.

Which is why you'll likely see when Nuge comes back, three scoring lines with a pair of high skill guys and a size guy with some skill.  Enter Maroon, who in Anaheim, played on a line with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry.

skill + skill/size + size/skill

size/skill + skill + skill

size/skill + skill + skill

skill + skill + size

size + skill + size

Although that's one player too many to fit on the roster, the recent pickups create necessary competition for positions--something the Oilers haven't seen in a long time.  Contracts going into next season include Korpikoski, Lander, Gazdic, and Letestu--all below average players.

McDavid vs. Eichel?

Now, on to the McDavid vs. Eichel rivalry.  Stop it.  There isn't one.  There never was one.  No one ever said Eichel was better than McDavid.  And if they did, they're an idiot.  Jack Eichel is already a good pro hockey player and he showed it last night, offensively and defensively.  In case you didn't see him totally prevent Taylor Hall from scoring in front of the net, then you need to watch games more closely.  In O/T he almost beat Andrej Sekera on the right side.  He had other good chances too. I feel for the kid.  He's sick and tired of it.  He just wants to play on a team and win. And I'm pretty sure Connor McDavid doesn't give a shit about it either.  I mean, they're about to play on the same World Cup team together.  They'll only play against each other twice a year.  They're in completely different conferences and the odds of them meeting in the Stanley Cup final are astronomical.  This isn't Ovi vs. Syd.  That had some rivalry there being in the same division, but hockey players don't compete against each other individually.  It's a team game.  So stop it and move on.

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