Perhaps captain Shawn Horcoff can save the Edmonton Oilers. That reeling team desperately needs a turning point and his return from a broken knuckle could provide that.
With Horcoff in the lineup this season, the Oilers are 4-2-1. Without Horcoff, the team is 4-9-4.
When healthy, he anchors Edmonton’s match-up line against the opponent’s top scorers. He will resume that role when the Oilers play in Chicago.
“You see what he brings when he’s out. He’s a guy who does everything so well and he really is an emotional leader for this team with his worth ethic and his compete,” Sam Gagner told the Edmonton Journal. “He competes and battles better than anybody. We’ve missed him.”
This was supposed to be the season the Edmonton Oilers finally broke out. The time had come for all this young talent to mature into a playoff threat.
Or so it seemed. After an encouraging start, the Oilers tanked. They hit rock bottom with Friday night’s 6-0 loss at Nashville.
The Predators aren’t a high-scoring bunch. So when they scored a touchdown on the reeling Oilers, well, that got everybody’s attention.
“We played a pretty good first period in Detroit but the last five periods we’ve played, we’ve been flat,” defenseman Ladislav Smid told the Journal. “We’re not scoring goals. We’ve been outscored, outshot, outchanced . . . you just can’t expect to win any games when you play like that. We have to wake up here.
“We should talk about it within the team and ask ourselves what’s going wrong and how we can fix these things, but this was just another embarrassing performance by us. It is unacceptable.
“We have to hold each other accountable. We can’t be comfortable in this situation, so everybody has to take responsibility here.”
Here are some details of the carnage:
- Edmonton is 1-4-2 on this epic road trip, with games at Chicago and Colorado left to play. The Oilers were outscored 9-0 in the last two games.
- The Oilers are 2-6-2 in their last 10 games.
- They have been outshot in 16 of their 24 games so far. They are 2-9-4 in those games.
- During their first 23 games the Oilers created scoring 16.7 chances per game but averaged 19.7 scoring chances against.