I had the good fortune (I bought tickets) of going to see the Oilers play the Capitals in Washington, D.C. last night. It was part scouting mission / part curiosity, as I've never actually watched more than 8 seconds of an Oilers' game. The Caps won, 4-2.
Here's my takeaway:
If you could use an extra $10,000, what you should do is take the $10,000 you have in your bank account, give it to a bookie, tell him you want the Pens -1.5 tonight, and then wait for him to come to your house tomorrow with $20,000 (or $19,000 depending on his cut).
It's not that the Oilers have bad players -- they actually had some impressive individual plays, including a beautiful deflected pass and counter-attack by Justin Schultz (mind you, it was after intercepting a lazy pass from Mike Green) -- but whatever cliche intangibles that a hockey team is supposed to have so that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts ... they don't have that. They don't seem like a real hockey team.
And they don't have a real goalie.
The best way to describe Edmonton is that they look like one of those men's league teams that brings in a bunch of young guys who are home from college to be ringers and help the team win the Molson or Heineken Cup, or whatever beer is sponsoring this year's Christmas Tournament. Except everyone on the men's league team forgot how few shits college kids give about anything -- especially rec league hockey over their winter break -- and the college kids, while talented, end up just skating around the edges trying low percentage fancy moves, and then piss everyone off by refusing to come off the ice during a power play.
|"Pretend like you don't see the old guys trying to get on the ice, and we can play this whole power-play."|
So how should Dan Bylsma coach his team in a game that has no bearing on whether the Pens are good or bad or what systems the Pens should run going forward? The answer: he shouldn't.
For the sake of hockey fans everywhere, Dan Bylsma and Dallas Eakins should recuse themselves from tonight's game and just let the players play. No coaching. No systems. No line-matching. Nothing but up-and-down hockey. Raw talent, free from the shackles of structure and discipline.
|"Now you've got my attention."|
|Screw it, scratch Tanner Glass and let DB suit up.|