The Edmonton Oilers (3-2-0) welcomed the reigning Western Conference Regular Season Champion Nashville Predators (6-1-0) to Rogers Place for a prime time, Saturday night showdown on Hockey Night In Canada. The Oilers, winners of three straight, looked to continue their winning ways against a should-be tired Predators outfit that spent last night winning in Calgary before travelling to Edmonton in the wee hours. Would the Predators have other ideas? Let’s find out.
Tonight, there was no live-tweet thread, as yours truly was in the building. Unfortunately, previous reports were mistaken. Club seating was not in the cards, and though the tickets were amazing and this author is eternally grateful, the Perogy Tottine - as it is apparently called - continues to escape me. If tonight’s report fails to meet your considerable expectations, you know why.
As noted in the comments of the game preview, I was there. Situated in the upper bowl, kitty corner to a food stand serving Bobby Jr. burgers and all-beef hot dogs. As we arrived early and the lineups were manageable, it was decided that this would be the spot. And it was.
I went with the Bobby Jr. burger, which comes with lettuce, tomato, cheese, and bacon. $12.00 + GST. $18.00 if you add fries. What is this, Rome?! Who has that kind of scratch in today’s economy?!
Anyway, as we’ve grown accustomed to in Oil Country, we expect those around us with hefty price tags to perform night in, night out. For this burger, I assume a good night looks like a buttery brioche bun, crisp butter lettuce, melty, delicious cheese, and the kind of bacon you have inappropriate dreams about. I assume a bad night looks like tonight, where the burger bun was lacking, like Kris Russell’s gap control. The lettuce was limp, like the Oilers’ 5v5 attack. The cheese?! Freezing cold, like their powerplay. The bacon?! I can’t even, with 100% certainty, remember its presence. Sort of like Alex Chiasson tonight. Other than almost killing that guy that one time into the end boards, did he even take a shift?!
All that said though - and you can ask around on this - I’ve never met a burger I didn’t like. So, in spite of the ice cold Kraft single flapping in the stale atmosphere of Rogers Place, and the inclusion of late-night-at-a-strip-mall Subway produce, I went after it. I was like McDavid in overtime: hungry, and excellent.
I attacked. Peppered this underwhelming meatwich with so many mouth events it was quite clear who was superior in the matchup. Flarwick 1, Bobby Jr 0.
And to be fair, the burger started out not unlike the Oilers tonight: palatable. I’ve eaten literal stacks of Kraft singles, so that would never deter this veteran. And who hasn’t choked down a disappointing submarine sandwich due to the simple truth that it cost you five dollars? We do what we must.
But then the burger started to turn. With the passage of time comes the rapid loss of heat and moisture, and given this offering was shy of both to begin with, I couldn’t afford to sit back as I did. The burger began to take over. Dominating my psyche like it was the IT to my stupid, idiot, horror movie kids.
Granted, this burger wasn’t able to finish me off that early, so it wasn’t necessarily apparent just how significant this burger was becoming. It grew in influence to the point that by the first intermission, it was all I could do to get to the break without having broken, myself.
We survived. Both the Oilers and I managed to start the second period on level terms with our adversaries, and I think both of us were still just happy to be there. Of course, I now had no food to eat, and that simply couldn’t pass. So, as the start of the period came close, I snuck back to the spot for another snack.
This time? Hot dog. All-beef. Bun. Condiment station. Too much money. Delicious. Right?!
Is there anything worse than a hot dog that has a really, really good weiner on it, like one of the best around, but it’s surrounded by a bunch of soft, un-toasted bread that couldn’t score even one goddamned goal at even strength through the first six games of the season?!
Well, this hot dog was like that, but like if the weiner wasn’t actually that good to begin with. Like, maybe the weiner was a weiner you’d trade to Edmonton for Taylor Hall. One for one. Or, whatever. I digress.
I did what I could to make this hotdog sing. I chanted when the brass band indicated it was time to. I chanted when the human in the lynx outfit indicated it was time to. I doused it in my condiments of choice and yet, still, it wasn’t good enough. Twice - at two different times - the hot dog beat me. The cold bread and average weiner (don’t) got their signals crossed in the defensive zone. Assignments were missed, and I was losing. It felt like by a lot. Maybe I was lucky that the hot dog was more interested in keeping possession in the zone than funneling pucks toward net. Maybe I shouldn’t have been so excited about this hot dog.
I spent the latter half of the middle frame covered in shame and mustard, and started to feel as though there was no good to come from tonight’s visit to Rogers Place.
I ate nothing. Please refer all complaints to the Edmonton Oilers for causing me to lose my appetite.
I had mentioned to the masses near the end of the third period that this was not a good performance and was met with some disagreement. I actually love this, as it provides me an opportunity to examine my own thoughts, as I’m certainly not an expert. It motivated me to re-watch this game before I wrote the recap. So, what happened, you wonder? I then watched the second and third periods, and lost that motivation.
Leon Draisaitl was last among all Oilers forwards tonight with an unflattering stat line of 34.78% CF and 41.18% FF at even strength. In other words, he got pumped, which is fast becoming the norm this season. As some more advanced thinkers than I noted this evening, it’s probably unfair to assume this is who Leon is after a six-game bender as much as it was stupid to award him a peach of a contract after a 13-game heater. But right now, the Oilers need a lot more from their second highest paid player.
Todd McLellan appeared to mix the lines up toward the end of the game to try and spark something from the team. I’d prefer he mix up his systems as his Oilers’ ability to exit their zone and transition up the ice with any sort of menace paled in comparison to their counterparts’. The Predators were organized in all three zones, had good puck support and movement everywhere on the ice, and appeared in full control of this contest without having to leave second gear.
The Oilers have a long, long way to go if they want to get out of the West.
The Oilers’ schedule doesn’t get any easier as they host the Penguins (3-1-2, 3rd Metropolitan) on Tuesday, and the Capitals (3-2-2, 5th Metropolitan) on Thursday. We’ll have you covered on the website. Stay tuned.