Monday, February 26, 2007

End of the road for the Oilers?

Sunday’s result was probably not the way that Craig MacTavish wanted his Oilers to end their road trip. Edmonton wrapped up their seven game road excursion with a 4-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild, a costly loss to a team they are chasing for a playoff berth in the Western Conference.

Despite an impressive Friday night victory over Detroit, the remainder of the trip has been a bit of a disappointment, as some fine play by the Oilers hasn't provided any momentum towards the playoffs.

As the Oil come back to Edmonton for Mark Messier's celebration,they find themselves further down the playoff food chain, trailing the seventh place Wild by nine points and provincial rivals Calgary by seven. For Edmonton the losses would have been best placed against Eastern Conference squads, saving the winning matches for those in their own Conference.

The slippage comes as the trading deadline arrives leaving GM Kevin Lowe with a bit of Ouija board work to do between today and Tuesday’s 11 am Alberta time deadline. If he still thinks that his team has the ingredients to make a charge for the playoffs then the focus will be on bringing in that one or two players that may make a difference.

But, if what he sees is a team struggling to provide offence and neglecting their own end far too often, then a more in depth re tooling may be required putting a number of Oilers up on the market place Tuesday morning. Including one name that many fear may be listed as available.

With last year’s team making that remarkable run and coming up just short of the Stanley Cup, this year has been pretty well a disappointment to all involved with the Oilers from the players, managers through to the fans.

The last seven games certainly didn’t provide much ammunition for those that suggested that a change was imminent; rather the inability to climb the standings far, may have sealed the fates of some familiar Oiler names who may find they are moving along come Tuesday. It very well might do the same for a GM if he makes a mis-step at a crucial time.

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