Edmonton Oilers should petition the NHL for a minor rule change of major proportions. They should be allowed to decline the advantage of power play whenever an opposing player is whistled for an infraction.
Not out of generosity. Out of self-preservation instinct.
Including Thursday’s game in Denver, the Oilers have given up eight (count them: eight, which happens to lead the entire league) shorthanded goals.
Come to think of it, the empty-netter in Los Angeles two nights earlier should count as a shorthanded goal, too. The Oilers were on a powerplay, called Ilya Bryzgalov off, played six-on-four, didn’t create a single serious chance, and got scored on as the penalized Kings’ player hopped on the ice, got the puck and sent it into the Oilers’ empty net. The Oilers were playing six-on-five skaters at the moment, so, to some theoreticians, it might count as a shorthanded goal, too.
Colorado’s empty-netter with Devan Dubnyk on the bench, raises the same question.
Considering the Oilers haven’t played a full half of this season yet, this is a considerable ratio of futility.
The league should accommodate the Oilers. After all, did it not, decades ago, change rules just to stop the then-Edmonton club’s abuse of their opposition in four-on-four play, when an Oiler and an opposition player were sent off simultaneously? It’s called the Reijo Ruotsalainen rule, after the Finnish defenceman the Oilers would bring over from Europe for the playoffs. He would wreak havoc amongst other teams in four-on-four play, and the NHL saw fit to put an end to it. It created the rule that said that if two opposing players are to be penalized simultaneously, teams would continue playing five-on-five. Much to the Oilers’ chagrin, and their opposition’s relief.
While that decision was quite understandable, what’s going on with the Copper-And-Blue squad these few past seasons isn’t. And that includes some surprising statements directly from their coach Dallas Eakins. He seems to be running out of explanations and positive spins. How about this sample: the Oilers concentrate better and, thus, play better against teams that are better than they are.
Let’s ignore the fact that despite what Dallas Eakins calls better and more concentrated play, the Oilers still end up losing.
The question is: and pray elucidate, how many teams in the NHL are actually worse off than the Oilers? Since professional sports are about results, standings are the only acceptable standard.
Let’s not even go there, lest we remember former Vancouver Canucks’ coach Harry Neale and his perfectly shocked admission that his club didn’t know how to win at home, and it didn’t know to win on the road, and it was running out of places where to lose.
For those who know, there’s an opening for a Delphic oracle. File your applications forthwith, and good luck.