I'm sure glad the Edmonton Oilers have decided to keep Magnus Paajarvi and Taylor Hall on the team this season. There's nothing like making sure your young core understands the NHL game by putting them on the worst team of the decade. Soft landings, who needs soft landings? It's better they stay in the NHL on a poorly-coached, undermanned, over-matched and outgunned team unable to execute any system anywhere on the ice. I don't really have much to say about this game. The defense was terrible, the goaltending was terrible and Sean Avery was an absolute punk and deserves a multiple game suspension. Avery will end up being the big story of this game, especially in the Edmonton media as it's a wonderful chance to divert the story away from just how awful this team is right now.
But hey, the bright side is the Oilers get another 1st overall pick! All they have to do is keep collecting them and it will all work out, right? Right?
Nothing. The only good part about this game is that it means the Oilers are one game closer to summer.
Nikolai Khabibulin is atrocious. Defensive problems be damned, he's an unholy mess of a player right now and doesn't really deserve a spot on an NHL roster right now. He's carrying an .879 save percentage for the season, which isn't even AHL replacement level. In his last three games, he's given up 18 goals on 73 shots in 127 minutes. Just for posterity, that's a .753 save percentage and an 8.50 goals against average. On the bright side, this game lowered his goals against average during this run -- it was 8.96 in his last two games. So he's got that going for him. Devan Dubnyk has a .904 save percentage and a 3.62 goals against in the same stretch. Khabibulin couldn't even get a job in the Hungarian league at this point.
Yeah, the defense is awful, but Khabibulin continues to block, kick and push rebounds right back to the opposition in the slot. He's extending possessions against and increasing his shot count by double digits every game. You want help, Nik? Help yourself first, MVP.
The Sportsnet broadcast team has become worse than Baghdad Bob. The decision to award Khabibulin the play of the game last time out against the Wings was a disgusting one. The decision to do so against Carolina when he was pulled after giving up four goals in seven minutes was laughable. But now the broadcast team is in full retreat from their faculties and will do anything to continue the "Khabibulin is our MVP" narrative laid out by the Oilers. He was awarded the play of the game again today, his third in his last three games. Apparently a .753 save precentage and an 8.50 goals against average is just masking the true superstar within.
Steve Tambellini should probably just resign at this point. His marquee signing, the one he's still proud of in every interview, is the worst goaltender in the league at this point and the Oilers have two more years of suffering before he's gone. Tambellini's decision to sign no one to help on defense or up front is bearing fruits, poisonous ones. His decision to burn his three roster spots on Jeff Deslauriers/J.F. Jacques in rehab, Steve MacIntyre and Jason Strudwick looks like a decision of unparalleled assessment. Steve Tambellini has nothing left to prove at this level.