Just when you think it can’t get any worse for the Edmonton Oilers, it happens.
Tuesday saw another new low for the club, as they coughed up five third period goals to lose 6-2 to the…Chicago Blackhawks.
The same Chicago Blackhawks that are seventh in the Central Division. The same Chicago Blackhawks that are (now) 21-24-9. The same Chicago Blackhawks that fired Joel Quenneville for, you know, the young guy.
It was 2-1 for the Oilers after the first period. The second period was scoreless and then came the third, which saw the team collapse for the final stanza again. It was the sixth loss in a row for the home team, the third time in a row that the Oilers have led into the third period and blew it, and a collapse that quite literally made history.
Leon Draisaitl had both goals for Edmonton before the team packed it up and moseyed off to stare at ice or snow or something.
The Blackhawks scored four goals in under three minutes in that unsettled third period, by the way, and the frozen-solid hometown throng was none too impressed. Some gear beset the ice, a sign of the times.
More signs came with goalie Cam Talbot yanked humanely for Mikko Koskinen. The former appeared to have words for coach Ken Hitchcock on his way down the hall.
The word “terrible” is tossed around a lot, sometimes to describe things that are merely dubious. But in the case of these Oilers, this team is terrible.
Granted, they have grown under the shadow of the terrible management of He Who Shall Not Be Named and the travesty that is this capped-out franchise has to find a way to breathe again. Help may come with the trade deadline, specially if the Oilers can sell off some pieces and pick up some room. They’ll have to clear space in the immediate future for Andrej Sekera, by the way.
This is a frustrated and frustrating hockey club. And it’s hard to look at the future thanks to, you know, terrible management decisions that’ve left the future pawned for a present that isn’t turning out.
Edmonton has $51,000 of cap space, more or less. When Sekera returns, he’ll command $5.5 million.
Talbot, Alex Petrovic, Kevin Gravel, Alex Chiasson, and Brad Malone are set for UFA status this summer. Tobias Rieder, Jesse Puljujärvi, Ty Rattie, and Jujhar Khaira are RFAs. Koskinen will be paid $4.5 million starting next season. Most of the core, such as it is, is signed until at least 2021. And if you can find a top-line winger somewhere in this outfit, let me know.
So, what do you do? Who do you sell? How do you stop the same broken record from playing? And where on earth is the bottom?
(Photo credit: Andy Devlin/NHLI)