The Edmonton Oilers came into the season with a lot of high expectations because they have a very talented group of young players they felt can win the Stanley Cup if a few things go their way. Almost halfway through the season, the Oilers betting odds for the season have taken a significant hit thanks to the team’s performance so far.
Despite their slow start to the season, the Oilers have shown some fight in recent games. The team just returned from a road trip with four points out of a possible six. The Oilers defeated the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday 6-2.
They lost a close game to the Toronto Maple Leafs 1-0 on Sunday, then bounced back with a 7-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday.
The dramatic change in results came a few days after head coach Todd McLellan cussed out the team for their lack of effort in practice.
The team’s change in fortune after the dressing down by their coach might have been what the doctor ordered, but the Oilers still have a long way to go if they want to be seen as legitimate contenders instead of pretenders to the throne.
With a 13-16-2 record, the Oilers are still seven points out of the playoffs, but with more than half of the season left to play, they have enough time to catch up. The question is will they?
If the Oilers team that we saw in the past few days continues playing at the level they have, there is no reason to believe they won’t make the playoffs. However, if they play poorly like they did before this past week, they will go down as one of the biggest underachievers in hockey history because they have enough talent to be a really good team.
One of the biggest issues dogging the Oilers right now is the conception that they are a mentally weak team.
Last month, former Oiler, Taylor Hall, who played six seasons in Edmonton, told reporters that Edmonton’s lack of success was due to the fact that the Edmonton media is very negative.
Hall said the negative media attention the team receives from local reporters affects the confidence of the players, who have been booed by their own fans, resulting in the team not playing well.
Hall added that it is tough to be successful in the NHL if you don’t have confidence in your abilities.
As expected, Hall’s comments drew a lot of negative backlash from fans and reporters, who questioned if the players should be on the ice if their confidence is so easily shaken.
Mark Spector, a local Edmonton reporter and one of the negative reporters Hall was referring to, said on Twitter that if he was a general manager and one of his players tells him his game is ruined because of the negative media attention he has been receiving, he would trade the player because he can’t win with mentally weak players.
After hearing Spector’s comments, Hall said he never said the media coverage was unfair, he just felt it was harsh, and that constantly hearing negative comments about yourself affects your confidence.
One thing is for sure, the Oilers are finally playing with some confidence and will be a force to reckon with if they can keep it going.