T-minus 13 games to go...
It's gonna be a loooong way to the end of the season if, after every losing effort of which there will still be plenty, we'll double down on the misery with the 'stache chucking people into the doghouse (see teenager NHL players Virtanen and McCann). Not that players shouldn't be earning icetime but, honestly, look at these lines: there's plenty of raw , untested talent they'er rolling out there.
If someone is showing up late to practices because they don't gave a flying Evander Kane about their team, that's one thing. Every good Baertschi and Hutton story doesn't need a corresponding negative story one, does it? Is McCann supposed to be scoring all the goals the front nine can't? Is Virts supposed to morph into a 2011 Burrows at the snap of the fingers?
Thankfully Vancouver's opponent tonight can't score either; sure Vancouver is slightly worse (2.36 GF/G to Edmonton's 2.37GF/G) but let's take what we can get. Neither team can defend either (2.86 GA/G to Edmonton's 2.93 GA/G) but once again Vancouver holds a comically slim edge.
Special teams you say? Edmonton holds the slight edge with the man advantage at 17.6% to Vancouver's 17.1%, but on the kill Vancouver's 81.6% edges their 80.8% once again.
Hell, let's just round this number game out: Oilers hold the lead on faceoffs (48.8% to 45.2%; Vancouver is dead last in the league there), shots per game (29.1 to 28.6) and shots against per game (31.2 to 31.6).
Probably the most depressing reality is the Oilers - for all of their obvious problems - have one more win than the Canucks (though they have played four more games), are only three points behind the Canucks (tank nation has a prayer) and they're a better 5x5 possession team than the Canucks (in fact most teams are).
It wasn't long ago Edmonton was the easy team to point at and laugh. And here we are.
Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Jake Virtanen
Sven Baertschi - Bo Horvat - Radim Vrbata
Brendan Gaunce - Linden Vey - Alexandre Grenier
Alexandre Burrows - Jared McCann - Emerson Etem
Ben Hutton - Chris Tanev
Nikita Tryamkin - Dan Hamhuis
Matt Bartkowski - Alex Biega
Patrick Maroon - Connor McDavid - Jordan Eberle
Taylor Hall - Leon Draisaitl - Iiro Pakarinen
Lauri Korpikoski - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Nail Yakupov
Matt Hendricks - Mark Letestu - Zack Kassian
Andrej Sekera - Mark Fayne
Darnell Nurse - Adam Clendening
Jordan Oesterle - Griffin Reinhart
Vancouver has won its last three games at the soon-to-be-dead Rexall Place. Key question: so what?