This is what Yahweh has to say:
"In a cluster of bad grapes, there are often some that are still good,
and someone will say, 'Don't throw them all out! Some are still good!'
So it is with my team from Edmonton!
The team is terrible, but there remain true servants among the rabble!
Indeed, I will preserve a remnant from this team,
and they will one day hold the Cup high.
Those I have chosen will inherit greatness;
my true servants will have their names remembered forever.
Then the plains of Saskatchewan will again be filled with Oiler fans,
and Manitobans will once again wear the Oildrop with pride.
But some on this team have forsaken me,
and have forgotten to treat my holy temple with respect.
They have set a record for futility,
and then dishonored me further by trying to hide their shame.
So now I will dishonor them by making victory elude them,
shame them by sending them to the minors or the unemployment line.
For even when I called, their leaders would not answer;
when I spoke, their managers would not listen.
Instead, they deliberately sinned against me,
doing things that I despise."
This is what Yahweh, sovereign over all things hockey, has to say:
"My servants will eat,
but you will continue to starve.
My servants will one day drink from the Cup,
but you will continue to be thirsty.
My servants will rejoice when they add to their team in June,
but you will be sad and filled with shame.
My servants will be joyful when they watch their best player,
but you will cry out with anguish.
Your name - "Toronto" - will be a curse word among my people,
for I, Yahweh, know all things, and consider you worthy of destruction;
in my eternal wisdom, I have made you a laughingstock par excellence.
But my people will be blessed by my name,
for I, Yahweh, will one day set my anger aside,
and forget the evil that they have done."
Toronto Maple Leafs (11-14-4) @ Edmonton Oilers (11-13-5)
Rexall Place, 7:00 p.m. MST
Television: Sportsnet West
More analysis after the jump...
Visiting Team Scouting Report:
The Toronto Maple Leafs aren't a very good team. In terms of "clear victories" (games decided by two or more, excluding games that got to that margin because of EN goals), they're the third worst team in the league. In terms of goal differential, they're the fifth worst team in the league. And unlike last season, in terms of Corsi with the score tied, they're in the bottom half. The team has been poor in goal, and has had a hard time scoring too, sitting 28th in goals per game. Taylor Hall couldn't say "it's there for the taking" and be right too often this season, but against the Leafs, he's absolutely right.
Edmonton Oilers (11-13-5):
Kingston Cannonball - Hobbit - Clutch
Ubuntu - Mendoza - Fatso
Smÿttÿ - Cream - Tubthumper
S&M - Mario - Zorg
Hot Sauce - Fried Fish
Roast Beef - Strudley Wondertank
Tommy Albelin - Fulton
Toronto Maple Leafs (11-14-4)
Armstrong - Bozak - Kessel
MacArthur - Grabovski - Kulemin
Mitchell - Kadri - Versteeg
Sjostrom - Brent - Orr
Kaberle - Schenn
Beauchemin - Phaneuf
Lebda - Gunnarson
By the Numbers:
- The Oilers and Maple Leafs are two of nine teams in the NHL without a single player in the top fifty in league scoring, but unlike Nashville, Long Island, New Jersey, Ottawa, and Florida, both teams do have at least one player with twenty points on the year: the Leafs' have Clarke MacArthur and Mikhail Grabovski over that mark, while the Oilers have Ryan Whitney.
- The Oilers and Leafs are the two worst penalty killing teams in the league. The Leafs are killing penalties at a rate of 76.4%, but the Oilers are creeping up them, all the way up to 71.8% on the year. But despite the terrible penalty killing, the Leafs goal differential while shorthanded is actually pretty good because they've taken so few penalties (their total of 89 times shorthanded is the lowest in the NHL) - their -19 total is good enough to tie for 21st overall.
- There's probably something to the observation that Nazem Kadri has struggled early on in his NHL career, but the poor boy sure isn't being helped any by the percentages in the offensive end: the Leafs have only shot 4.9% with Kadri on the ice at EV. Further, Kadri has done a nice job of drawing penalties so far, so it would seem to me that he's been getting himself into the play and getting himself into good position.
- The season is now more than a third done and yet the Oilers have still been outshot by an average of 9.4 shots per game, which is nearly twice as bad as last season's 4.8 per game. In fact, if the Oilers hold on, that would be the worst total since the 2001-02 Atlanta Thrashers were outshot by an average of 11.3 shots per game. This version of the Oilers may be more exciting than last year's, and they certainly offer a lot more hope for the future, but one thing they damn sure aren't is better.
- Among goaltenders with at least ten starts, the two worst PK save percentages in the NHL belong to the Oilers and Leafs. Right now, Jonas Gustavsson holds a slight lead at .769, but Nikolai Khabibulin and his .794 won't give up the golden sombrero without a fight.