Two completely different paths to rebuild a franchise skate in stride
So never mind the darkness
We still can find a way
'Cause nothin' lasts forever
Even cold November rain
--"November Rain", Guns-N-Roses
2W - 8L in November. Nothing lasts forever, so it's got to get better according to noted sports psychologist Axl Rose.
Fifty seconds into the game and it was over. After Ales Hemsky dazzled in the offensive end and Dustin Penner had his stick lifted, the Coyotes stormed into the Oilers' end of the ice and scored. It was over. Sure, the Oilers were only down one at the end of the first, but the chances were sparse and pressure non-existent for the rest of the game. The defense, after looking like an AAAA team in their last two, returned to their Grapefruit League form and were burned time and time again. The Oilers gave up five goals and their goaltender was helpless on four of them. Edmonton's defense was weak, slow, indecisive and helpless and that was just in the neutral zone. They sure could use 44-37 somewhere on the ice.
The Coyotes, meanwhile, continue winning with silly spare parts like Ray Whitney, Vernon Fiddler, Eric Belanger, Radim Vrbata, Lee Stempniak and Wojtek Wolski. Nary a whale among them! And there is no recent crappy team rebuild model to follow in The Grand Canyon State.
Magnus Paajarvi shouldn't be in the NHL right now. I know it's a rebuild and I know he's a "young gun", but if earning a spot on the NHL roster is about belonging in the NHL and hustle and want and desire, Liam Reddox deserves a chance to take Paajarvi's spot. Allow Paajarvi the opportunity to drive the play by himself and adjust to the smaller rink while being the best player in the division.
Time on ice speaks volumes in this one. Ryan Jones, Gilbert Brule and Andrew Cogliano have been buried on the depth chart and against the Coyotes, received less than nine minutes of ice time. Brule continues to give up two scoring chances for every one chance he generates, and his contract is beginning to look as bad or worse than Robert Nilsson's deal. Cogliano was feisty and Jones was hustling, but these guys were brutal.
The Oilers' penalty kill went 50% on the evening. The sad part? It's an improvement over the previous road trip. What kind of pull do Oilers' fans need to initiate a provincial investigation into this penalty kill?
The Copper & Blue Three Stars:
This team deserves Scarlet As, not stars.