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Op-Ed: Edmonton Oilers already out of playoffs, fans deserve better

By Marcus Hondro     Nov 14, 2013 in Sports
It seems things in Edmonton get worse each time the Edmonton Oilers play. On Wednesday, Nov. 13 the Oil set a franchise record by being shutout on home-ice for the third consecutive game. After so many years of losing, don't Oilers fans deserve more?
The Oilers lost 3-0 to the Dallas Stars on the night (the final two Dallas goals coming into an empty net) to make it four straight losses for Edmonton, now 1-8-1 in their last 10. A season record of 4-14-2 has them second-to-last in the NHL and last in their conference, already 14 points out of the playoffs.
There may still be 62 games to play but to get into that 8th and final spot the Oilers, who haven't made the post-season since 2006, will have to vault over six teams, the Vancouver Canucks (8th) and the powerful L.A. Kings (9th) among them.
Edmonton Oilers: defence is porous
After just 20 games they sit at an appalling -30 and the 78 goals allowed, last in the league, is 12 more than Florida, immediately above them in that category. And don't expect Ilya Bryzgalov to rescue them, the defence and play in their own zone is the prime reason they've allowed almost four goals a game.
Offensively their 48 goals scored has them in 20th. And while there may be time there is nothing in their play that suggests they are capable of going on the kind of run they'd need to get back into contention, or play at the kind of consistent pace they'd need to.
Going 35-20-7 in their final 62 games would be a pretty good clip, no? It would be but it's a tall order and yet managing it would still leave them with only 87 points and it will take at least 90 to make the post-season(the last three full-seasons in the Western Conference the eighth place team had 95 points). All of this is a roundabout way of saying that the Edmonton Oilers will not make the Stanley Cup playoffs in 2014.
Dallas Eakins, Oilers, need to improve
Is there any point in firing coach Dallas Eakins? Ralph Krueger coached the team for only a shortened 48 game season and they'd made improvements but GM Craig MacTavish decided Eakins was his man. However, after the same amount of games last year, the team Krueger iced allowed but 54 goals, a full 21 fewer, more than a goal a game fewer, than the team under Eakins this season.
But owner Daryl Katz is already paying Krueger's salary for two more years and won't want to be in a position where he's also Eakins to not coach the team. And with the playoff hunt so soon all but over for this season they are likely to hang on to Eakins and try to get some value. The danger with keeping him is that the club could start poorly again in 2014-15 and they'll waste yet another year.
So if the team doesn't improve dramatically by season's end, look for Eakins to go early in the off-season. But whatever the outcome this much is certain: the long-suffering Edmonton Oiler fan-base deserves a lot better.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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