The Edmonton Oilers may not be headed into a Stanley Cup playoff spot anytime soon, but all is certainly not lost on their season.
At a quick glace the Oilers’ 2-0 loss to the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night might have looked like one team simply getting the best of another, the reality of the game was that both teams looked exactly like what you would expect after coming off a 20-day break: sloppy, slow and short sighted. But where Minnesota found a way to win, Edmonton only seemed to unravel further through the course of 60 minutes.
It’s no secret Edmonton is in a serious hunt for draft picks as the trade deadline approaches, but what Edmonton needs to figure out is how to get the best out of the team that they have now.
While many question the ability of Ben Scrivens as a starting goalie in Edmonton, they should look no further than Scrivens’ remarkable play during his time with the Los Angeles Kings to find their answer. His ability to start is not the problem, but the ability of the five people playing in front of him is. An argument made apparent tonight when Scrivens had not chance on the game winning goal shot in by Mikael Granlund, let in by some confusion between the Oilers defense in front.
Unity, or the lack thereof, has been this team’s kryptonite from day one, because ironically enough, talent is their strongest suit. In fact, on paper the Oilers are one of the most talented groups in the NHL with names such as Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Jordan Eberle just to start their roster. But each of their all-stars haven’t seemed to figure out that you can’t be the star and savior of every game, that the reason the NHL isn’t merely a list of “games” determined in shootout form is if you can’t play as a team, you don’t win. And the Oilers aren’t winning.
But despite the bleak picture currently being painted in Edmonton, all is not lost on this team for one reason: the heart the Edmonton franchise carries with it.
From a legacy left behind by the legendary Wayne Gretzky, to an equipment manager named Joey Moss, to one of the most upstanding captains of the NHL, to fans that despite 41 losses this season still show up with their faces painted Oilers blue and copper every night, Edmonton will eventually find their cohesion not through outstanding displays of their talent, but through the display of character and heart this organization has proved to be capable of. And as soon as they do? Well then, Edmonton will be virtually unstoppable.