Pacific Division Notebook: Albertan Embarrassment

NHL Gambling

The Edmonton Oilers embarrassed themselves on Tuesday night (again) by blowing their third straight third period lead en route to a 6-2 loss. Yes, the Oilers lost by four goals while leading heading into the third period. This team continues to find new ways to lose, making it almost impressive at this point.

After blowing a pair of 3-2 leads in Philadelphia and Montreal over the weekend, the Oil once again entered the third period up by a goal. Their 2-1 lead quickly evaporated, as they found themselves down 5-2 in the blink of an eye. When the dust settled, the Oil were handed a sixth straight loss and found themselves just three points from last place in the West.

Quite frankly, it’s a flat out embarrassment for an organization that has been a joke since Daryl Katz took ownership. In over a decade under his leadership, the Oilers have made the playoffs just once and have become a country club for Oilers of the 80’s. This isn’t an owner that cares about winning, no, it’s an owner that wants to be friends with his heroes and make a ton of money. He’s doing just that.

The Oilers are done, their season is over. They have a terrible roster that somehow, someway will drag down the young core of Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Oscar Klefbom for the second straight season. It’s laughable what this team, that was gifted the best player in the world, has become.

Luckily Peter Chiarelli is gone, hopefully to never get the honor of being a GM again in this league. Hopefully hockey’s Jimmy Haslam wakes up and sends off Bob Nicholson, who has done nothing but hire Chiarelli and create an overpriced burger, next.

The Edmonton Oilers are a joke. There is a reason two jerseys got sent flying onto the ice Tuesday night. Fans are pissed and they have had enough. Who can blame them? 12 seasons out of the playoffs in 13 years? Wasting the best player in the world? Bravo Mr. Katz, you are quickly entering conversation for the worst professional sports owner in North America.

Rapid Fire:

  • From the Albertan tire fire to the white hot Flames we go. Calgary has been terrific all season long and is a true Stanley Cup contender at this point in time. The Flames are rumored to have interest in the Rangers’ Mats Zuccarello and could be dangling their first round pick for help this deadline. In a down year out west, the Flames have a legit chance to make a push for their second Stanley Cup. They should be going all in.
  • At some point, things have to give in Anaheim. I’ll touch on it more in-depth later this week, but Bob Murray has a big decision to make. Randy Carlyle should have been gone weeks ago, but yet here he is, watching his team drop 17 of their last 19. I wouldn’t be shocked if Murray elected to not only fire his coach, but make major moves when it came to his roster. This core group has proven since last spring that it is not capable of making a run for a Cup. Time to retool in Orange County.
  • The Kings’ decision to trade Jake Muzzin last week was the right one. They got a solid return on him and freed up some cap space moving forward. I don’t think it will be their last move of that variety either. Carl Hagelin seems destined to move, and I think the Kings would like to get out from Jeff Carter’s contract. There has been some smoke surrounding Ilya Kovalchuk being moved, and I think there is enough interest that Tyler Toffoli could go too. Interesting times ahead for Rob Blake as LA begins an overdue rebuild.
  • The struggles in Southern California surely make the Sharks’ over decade long run more impressive. I suspect San Jose will be a heavy buyer at the deadline. With an Erik Karlsson extension being top priority this off-season, there really isn’t going to be a lot of spending money come July. This could be the Sharks’ best chance to load up and chase that elusive first Stanley. Among the options that make a lot of sense for them, I can’t help but think of Zuccarello joining that group. Here’s an out of the box but fitting name: Matt Duchene.
  • He probably won’t win because odds are his team won’t make the playoffs, but even in a weak Western Conference it is impressive to see the job Rick Tocchet has done with the Arizona Coyotes. He should be a candidate for the Jack Adams Award, and would be in my top three along with Barry Trotz (my winner) and Claude Julien. The amount of injuries the Yotes has sustained is amazing, making their presence in the playoff race all the more impressive. It’s taken awhile, but the tide has turned in the desert.
  • Vancouver has fallen off a cliff lately, but still held playoff position heading into Tuesday night’s slate. A tough loss in Washington didn’t help, but thankfully for them no one was really able to gain ground. Jim Benning shouldn’t be chasing rental options that cost him big assets, but he has to at least consider adding, no? Getting this young core group playoff experience would be a huge boost. Amazing how they are already ahead of the Oilers, who got McDavid AND  head start, in their rebuilding efforts.
  • Vegas has been so quietly going about their business this season. You don’t really hear about them, but they’ll be going to the playoffs for the second straight season and should make some noise. Their date with San Jose or Calgary is going to be absolutely amazing in round one. I’d expect GMGM to hit the market looking for forward depth and perhaps a top-four defender at the deadline once again. I wonder about Carolina’s Justin Faulk as a Golden Knight.

Photo Credit: Flickr/Connor Mah C.C 2.0 https://www.flickr.com/photos/40263796@N05/19438702321

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