When I flipped through the Oilers schedule this summer, trying to decide what games I wanted to keep and what games I anted to sell, I came up with far more that I wanted to get rid of than I had expected. One game that I circled right from the get-go though, was this afternoon's game versus the Dallas Stars. Not because I particularly enjoy watching the Oilers lose to the Stars, I've seen that plenty of time, but because, as much as it will cause me pain, I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to see Ales Hemsky back on Rexall Place ice.
For almost all of my time as an Oilers season ticket holder the Oilers have been a bad team. When they haven't been a bad team they've been a terrible team. And for most of those years Hemsky was by far the best player in an Oilers jersey. He was the guy who could lift you out of your seat at the drop of a hat, and on too many nights he was about the only thing worth watching when the Oilers played. He was also terribly underappreciated in this city. Finally though, he's in a better place. And even though the results haven't been what I'd hoped for him, I'm glad that he's finally free of the painful existence that is life as a Oilers player or one of their fans.
Yeah, there was no way I was going to miss this game. Welcome back, Ales.
How To Tune In
4PM on Sportsnet West.
What To Watch For From The Oilers
The Oilers inability to score goals continues to be a problem, one of many that this team has. It's been so bad of late, that when the Oilers actually managed to score three goals in a single game against the Sharks, I had to pinch myself to find out if I was dreaming or not. That was the first time in December that the Oilers had scored more than two goals, and only the fourth time they'd accomplished the feat during the team's current 1-12-5 stretch of failure. This can't last forever. It just can't. So this afternoon I'd keep an eye for an offensive outburst, I'm thinking five goals. And if it doesn't happen today then Tuesday for sure. Or maybe next Saturday. Or ...
What To Watch For From The Stars
The Stars have won more than one game this month but that doesn't mean they won't consider a couple lineup changes. From Defending Big D:
The Stars, three games into a winning streak there doesn't seem to be much of a reason to tinker, but the options are there.
They could play Anders Lindback, like they said they might when the road trip began- But Kari Lehtonen has stated his opinion about all of that through his play.
They could put Jordie Benn back into the defensive lineup after missing a game with illness, but Lindy Ruff said he liked Jamie Oleksiak's game Friday.
Or they could put the newly eligible Ryan Garbutt back into the forward group after the expiration of his three-game suspension. When asked if he had learned his lesson, Lindy Ruff responded, quite frankly, "I don't know."
I'm not jealous of it but I sure am enjoying it. Oh, and it's eight games now. The Flames had better get back to working hard soon, these losses are going to kill their playoff chances.
You know times are tough when Oilers fans are totally envious of the Flames six-game losing streak.— Rob Tychkowski (@Sun_Tychkowski) December 20, 2014