The Edmonton Oilers stand at the tail end of a tough season.
In fact, the Oilers have been on the losing end of most games since the team’s official start on October 1, 2013 when Edmonton gave up a 4-2 lead against the Winnipeg Jets in the third period to lose the game 5-4.
And so it began.
Tuesday night the Oilers suffered a 4-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche in the typical pattern of the year: stay in the game until the end and crumble.
With the roster Edmonton has to work with, the inability to play a full 60 minutes is a mystery amidst so much raw talent. The Oilers’ top line consists of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall — three kids destined to one day be the faces of the NHL. More seasoned players in the lineup include Ryan Smyth, David Perron and team captain Andrew Ference. On paper this team is dynamite; on the ice the story is much different.
While most of the lackluster third periods the Oilers faced throughout the season were blamed largely on inconsistency in net, once Edmonton acquired up-and-coming goalies Ben Scrivens and Viktor Fasth the foundation of the Oilers’ weaknesses came to light: Edmonton has yet to figure out how to finish a game as a team.
Often times rosters this young and talented consist of players used to being the big fish in the little pond — in the NHL the idea doesn’t exist. Even the Pittsburgh Penguins‘ Sidney Crosby, considered by most the best to ever play the game, has more assists in his points tally this year than goals. To succeed together, you must play together. Corny, yes — but also true.
Glimpses of Edmonton’s ability to forgo the ego and grow in a passing game have been shown this year, but never stayed long enough to create any sort of credibility. But therein lies the hope and future for this all-important hockey franchise. If such a thing as rebuilding truly exists, the Oilers are still within those years. And what happens once this team reaches the other side? Well then, Edmonton might finally have what it takes to bring the Stanley Cup back home.