Safe to say, the Oilers aren’t having much fun right now.
Since December 1st, they’re mired in a 2-10-2 slump. It’s been eleven straight for coach Dave Tippett without a win. Players aren’t scoring goals, goalies aren’t stopping any. The Oilers aren’t as bad as their recent slide indicates, but they’re not as good as their 16-5 start to the season would lead you to believe.
Yesterday, Brendan Perllni gave an optimistic quote while doing media. Today, Leon Draisaitl was asked about his team’s slide, and he wasn’t giving as much as some would have liked.
Watch Leon Draisaitl get into it with HHOF reporter Jim Matheson #Oilers pic.twitter.com/KsoN8KKqWR— Tim and Friends (@timandfriends) January 18, 2022
Some things to unpack:
- Matty gets his question in. Whether or not you think it’s a particularly good question or not isn’t really the point, you can clearly see that Leon Draisaitl is frustrated and really wants to move on to the next question. Leon’s not going to give you much. You don’t see the previous 2 minutes of chit-chat between Leon and media prior to this exchange, but Leon’s trying to give what he can. Asking what needs to be better on a 2-10-2 skid might not bring you the best response, and it didn’t here. It happens. I get both guys here, at least, up to this point. Move on, and this clip isn’t nearly as noteworthy as it’s about to be.
- I don’t know that calling Leon “pissy” is going to earn you very many quotes down the road. As a matter of fact, you see Leon crack a wry smile just after the :30 second mark in the clip. He knows he’s got a fish on the line and there’s no turning back. I had to laugh at Matty going back to the well at the :40 second mark after Leon was good and through.
- Could Leon have given a little bit more? Sure. Could he have been a little more descriptive and less dismissive? Sure. Is he probably sick and tired of answering questions as to why the team’s getting beat on the scoresheet? Sure. I think all of these things are true, but how can you act surprised at this response? It’s not like this is the first question like this that’s been asked by Matty (remember the Koskinen media at the beginning of the year when he was asked about fans wanting a different goaltender?). Players don’t forget that sort of thing. If you ask a tough question, you’re going to get tough answers some time. You gotta deal with it.
- I wonder how hard the Edmonton media is going to seize on this exchange, and for how long. This is the sort of exchange that if Draisaitl was from Pardubice, he’d probably have been shipped to Ottawa an hour ago.
- Wheel of Narratives is in full spin mode. Before today, it was how the Oilers need a goaltender. After radio silence on Monday, the angle of how the Oilers aren’t showing enough emotion, or aren’t tough enough to play against showed up today. Now that Leon piped up a bit, it’ll be interesting to see if media moves on, or if they dig their heels in like a jilted prom date.
- You know what we don’t hear after goaltending? We don’t hear very much about how the rest of the roster is constructed. Nobody with access is asking about how the defence constructed, or how the special teams have fallen off, or how the Oilers just flat out aren’t scoring goals. Yeah, goaltending is an area that the Oilers could improve, who’s in charge here? How do we get one of those? How are the Oilers at 43 contracts out of 50 today and all capped out?
- The Oilers next game is Thursday against Florida. The Panthers are one of the NHL’s best teams so far this year. If the Oilers are unable to take two points away from the Panthers, it could make for some interesting follow up questions.