The Edmonton Oil Kings aren’t a very consistent team. They seesaw back and forth between playing well and playing poorly. There are some commonalities between the games in which the Oil Kings play poorly.
They Don’t Communicate
When the Oil Kings aren’t communicating, it leads to other issues. The root of the problem remains that they aren’t talking to each other. A player doesn’t know where his teammates are on the ice and because no one is talking to him he has no clues to guide him. The players aren’t letting each other know where the support is and it leads to missed opportunities. One of the most obvious signs of a lack of communication is passes that either go to an opposing player or go to no one. These passes are generally combined with one or two players trying to win the game singlehandedly.
One of the other signs that players aren’t communicating is players trying to do too much. They’ll take impossible shots when passes to other players may yield better results. Maybe a player will try to go around two or three opposing players instead of relying on his teammates and lose the puck. When the Oil Kings don’t communicate, their systems break down and opposing teams are more than capable of taking advantage.
They Take Avoidable Penalties
When the Oil Kings are playing poorly, it’s almost always worth a few power plays for the opposition. That’s not to say the Oil Kings don’t end up in the penalty box when they’re playing well, they just don’t seem to take the same type of penalties. The problem with the penalties the Oil Kings take when playing poorly is that they are avoidable.
Sometimes, the penalty is because the Oil Kings player was out of position. A defenseman too far up the ice as part of the rush draws a hooking penalty because he can’t get back in time to stop his man any other way. Other times, the penalty is the result of frustration. Upset with the game, a player slashes the stick out of an opposing player’s hands. The Oil Kings are then short handed. Whatever the reason when the Oil Kings spend a lot of time in the penalty box, it’s usually a sign the Oil Kings aren’t playing smart and disciplined hockey.
The Plays Look Disjointed or Poorly Thought Out
If it is a particularly rough game, the plays taking shape on the ice may be confusing or not make much sense. Maybe due to the lack of communication between players, the plays seem disjointed as if everyone isn’t on the same page. Some plays even seem downright stupid. They’re the type of plays which take an extreme amount of skill and luck but don’t make it easy for one’s teammates to know what will happen. They’re the type of plays that happen when players forget about the systems they’ve worked on, stop playing as a team, and just do whatever they want.
Poor play making is a trait which has levels. One or two players making poor decisions for a few shifts can normally be mitigated. However, when the majority of the team stops playing the system, the others are left not knowing what will happen next. When that happens, it becomes a comedy of missed passes, poorly placed shots, and players out of position. The Oil Kings players often end up trying to be a one man show and do everything themselves. A tactic which is rarely successful.
There are a lot of signs the Oil Kings are playing poorly. The three listed here are some of the most obvious with the largest range of implications.