The Oilers are back in action tonight in San Jose as they take on the Sharks. After getting curbstomped by the Vegas Golden Knights (who were subsequently annihilated by the Calgary Flames), the Oilers are in desperation mode.
How do we know?
THEY FIRED TODD MCCLELLAN and hired Ken Hitchcock. (more on that later)
For real, though. The Oilers need to string together some wins against Pacific opponents, and tonight in San Jose would be a good place to start against a surging Sharks team.
The more things change…
Keys to the Game
- Get pucks on the net and sustain some pressure for more than a second or two. They got torched on Sunday night, and need to somehow get better with the puck in the offensive zone.
- Fire at will. The Oilers question marks in net are pretty large, and it seems like pucks go in all the time, from everywhere.
Players to Watch
- Always Connor McDavid. He’s magic.
- I’m assuming there are going to be some lineup changes, but since no one knows what that will look like, I’ll just say “watch them all”
- Since Tomas Hertl scored 4 goals in a game, the only thing I’ve ever wanted is for Joe Thornton to do the same.
Drake Caggiula – Connor McDavid – Leon Draisaitl
Ryan Spooner – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Alex Chiasson
Milan Lucic – Cooper Marody – Patrick Russell
Jujhar Khaira – Kyle Brodziak – Zack Kassian
Oscar Klefbom – Adam larsson
Darnell Nurse – Matt Benning
Jason Garrison – Kris Russell
Evander Kane – Joe Pavelski – Joona Donskoi
Tomas Hertl – Logan Couture – Timo Meier
Marcus Sorensen – Kevin Labanc
Barclay Goodrow – Antti Suomela – Melker Karlsson
Joakim Ryan – Brent Burns
Brenden Dillon – Erik Karlsson
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
The Oilers have parted ways with Todd McLellan, after two subpar seasons, one playoff appearance and a 9-10-1 start to this year. McLellan compiled a record of 123-119-24, all of which was with Connor McDavid on the roster.
Much has been said about how it appears the coaching staff lost the room and never has it been more clear than this season. While there’s no guarantee that a coaching change will fix the problem (mostly because a new coach can’t turn a bunch of 2nd and 3rd pair defencemen into a solid #1), it might help to be hearing the message from someone else.
Who is that someone else, you ask? St Albert native Ken Hitchcock, most recently the head coach of the Dallas Stars, and who (up until this morning) had been employed as a special advisor to that team. Hitch is well known for his focus on strong defensive hockey, but as long as Connor gets to wheel that might be a good thing for this Oiler roster.
And here we thought that after the Oilers won the McDavid lottery, their rebuild would take off without a Hitch.