My deepest apologies to all our readers who grew accustomed to reading our posts once or twice a week. This past 6 weeks has been crazy with work, family and a assortment of other thing NOT related to Christmas Candy. Spread the word, Oilers Jambalaya is going to light up the Oilers Blogosphere once again with some inside rumours occasionally, some different perspective views then the regular fan and a further in depth look at the Oilers Prospects and the regular REV'S NHL Draft Prospect updates. Be sure to follow on twitter for updates and inside information on those prospects.
While I may be back in the seat (of blogging for the Oilers) the question remains are the Oilers back in the seat? This team has been crazy unpredictable but alas these past 12 games have shown incredible progress. Sure we can look at each loss with critical eyes but it seems many a Oiler fan also likes to look at even win with critical eyes. I like Dallas Eakins comment on the fact, wins are wins. Sure we can evaluate the win and see what we can improve on but why freak out about the win.
If the Oilers of past dynasty were critiqued for every win like this team…..wait, they were as well. Guess no team in Edmonton will ever be free of the criticism unless they win, and win decisively. It really shows the passion of Oiler hockey fans. Good or bad, you want passion, it goes both ways and until the Oilers start winning 3 or 4 consecutive games in a row consistently , you likely will continue to see fans react in the same manner.
So, back to the statement 'Back in the Seat'. Are the Oilers truly back in the drivers seat or are they still looking like they continue to be student drivers? Let's look at some interesting things that have been happening this year from a positive standpoint.
1. Boyd Gordon sits 6th OV in faceoff wins in the NHL with a 58.3% and the top 2 have had at least 100 less face-offs to date. Not a bad pickup and signing by the Oilers even if some are concerned with how much he makes per season. This has been a huge compliant for a long time.
2. Mark Arcobello is sitting at 51% and that is for a rookie. Not bad for a undrafted free agent signing that has developed in the system. His points this season have been a welcome addition and his ability to withstand the size of the opposition players has been incredible. He also is a very good utility player that can play multiple roles or on different lines. He flat out works hard and has a good future ahead of him.
3. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has recovered well from his surgery and despite a time here or there is proving to be a very capable two-way center defensively. His offence will only improve and his ability to stay away from being hit continues to prove the early skeptics wrong. Ryan is showing all up arrows from this point on IMO.
4. Like Ilya or not but Bryz is definitely a solid addition to the goaltending tandem. I liked what i have seen in a short stint to date but here is hoping we continue to see more of what he showed to date upon his return.
5. Taylor Hall is trending upwards and onward. He is coming into his own and like every other year, only gets better as the season progresses, fingers crossed he stays healthy the rest of the way. His adaption to the style of his game should benefit him more and take away the % of injury due to his old reckless style. IMO, Hall has truly showed he will be the next Captain of this team in a year or two. In 75 games this year, Hall is on pace for 36 goals and 81 points. Could this be the year he consistently stays a point per game player from this point on?
6. David Perron is a machine, a beast of a small man. Did i say small man? Yup, he is only 5'11 and that is a complaint from many a fan and media for this team. If this team had two more Perron's, size and all with his grit, effort and skill, the Oilers would be in playoff contention. IMO it's not the size factor but the fight back factor. This was a trade many were questioning. In fact 45% of Oiler fans polled after the trade did not like this one and were critical. Don't think they are complaining now.
Only time and more games will tell us much more, but I would say the Oilers are starting to shape together and build a bit of a identity, it's just you don't know which kind of game to see on nightly basis.
For Oiler and Baron news and 2013/14 NHL draft watch