A Clash of Titans, an Oilers/Panthers Showdown.

Updated: November 6, 2013
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The Oil are a lukewarm team to watch, even if they’re stacked with a group of players who are supposedly going to represent the future offensive talent of the NHL, and last night’s game against the equally abysmal Florida Panthers was no exception. Whenever I watch an Oilers’ game, I hope to catch a glimpse of this elusive skill of theirs, the same skill that was apparent in Jordan Eberle’s 2010 goal of the year or Sam Gagner’s infamous eight-point game, a record that has only been matched by legends Wayne Gretzky and Paul Coffey. I’m invariably left feeling a little bit disappointed though. That’s when I turn to watch the bench. After all, the bench is where all the drama is. It is the stuff from which the most foreboding Greek tragedies are made. Let’s face it, Edmonton is where hockey coaches go to die. Yes, I said it. The Oilers have had five coaches in just six years, which means that bench boss Dallas Eakins shouldn’t get too comfy in Oil Country. That’s not to say that I dislike the guy, because I don’t. Dallas Eakins is exactly what the Oilers need. What happens when you draft a bunch of first overall picks and acquire highly touted prospects, none of whom had to actually earn a spot on your roster? Entitlement. This is just the kind of culture that Dallas Eakins is trying to change.

Courtesy of Zimbio.com

Last night, the Panthers opened the scoring midway through the first period with a swift slap shot from Marcel Goc just above the slot. The Oil were quick to respond with a goal that went in glove-side low from Phillip Larsen off a nice assist from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Edmonton netted two quick ones in the second period, only half a minute apart. The first came from Mark Arcobello, his first of the season, on a wrist shot that slipped in on an awkward angle. Taylor Fedun soon followed with his first of the season too. Scottie Upshall’s heroics in the third period resulted in two goals, tying the game for the Panthers and forcing overtime. Unfortunately, Upshall was penalized for tripping Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and on the power play, Mark Arcobello was able to net his second of the season on a slapshot from the left hash marks to secure a win, halting the Oilers’ five game losing streak.

Courtesy of echl.com

Oilers’ fans might get some satisfaction from this win, but it’s definitely nothing to gloat about. With only three regulation wins in fifteen games, Florida isn’t exactly what one might consider a worthy opponent. If the Oil want to compete they’re going to have to deal some of their talent for proven defensive assets. GM Craig MacTavish was scouting the Rangers/Anaheim matchup on Monday. One can only assume that his eyes were set on the team’s glut of young defensemen. Either way, Nail Yakupov’s position on the team has been uncertain ever since Dallas Eakins made him a healthy scratch two games in a row, and New York could use more offensive power.  

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