Saturday, November 10, 2007

A War of Ineptitude

Going into tonight's edition of the Battle of Alberta, both the Flames and the Oilers are on 4 game losing streaks, but each team is on their losing streak for their own specific reasons.

The Oilers are a team lacking in high end talent and depth. They have an injury decimated defensive group and have had a couple of key veterans (Moreau, arguably Pisani) missing since the beginning of the season; what this adds up to is essentially the Springfield Falcons plus a couple of diamonds.

Now, honestly, I don't find watching the Oilers particularly frustrating. My expectation for every game is a massive loss, and oftentimes the Oilers make it at least close. If anything the Oilers are throwing fans some heartbreakers.

They have a few bright spots which have been mentioned by pretty much everyone in the Oilblogosphere, but a quick rundown:

1. The youngins - Sam Gagne has expectedly dropped off in terms of production but certainly Andrew Cogliano looks consistently good. The real diamond for me is Tom Gilbert who continues to impress by doing the little things right.

2. Sean Horcoff and Raffi Torres - Sean Horcoff continues to be a very good 2 way guy, and Raffi Torres, while not producing as much as some would want, has shown more consistency than ever before.

The Flames are losing because they can't pull their shit together in virtually any area of the game. The Flames PK is a mess, their defensive zone coverage is absolutely horrendous, their best defenceman is playing like an AHLer, and they seem to be doing everything in their power to sabotage their own efforts. In terms of top end talent the Flames are stacked but their defensive group, while mainly healthy, is terrible from positions 4-6.

They are an unbelievably frustrating team to watch. There are too many times where I watch plays and I am shaking my head at the idiocy taking place on the ice. I expect mistakes from a rookie laden team like the Oilers, not a veteran team like the Calgary Flames.

If I were a betting man, I'd bet on the Flames. They still have the superior roster and who knows, once in a while they pull it together and play a good hockey game. But I suspect this game will not be won by a good team, it'll simply be won by the team that is the least terrible on the night, and for my money, that could be either one of them.

It might be an entertaining hockey game, but I doubt it will be very sophisticated.


MetroGnome said...

You're having a real tough time of it so far this year. Both your teams are at the bottom of the Western Conference. That must be pretty disheartening.

therealdeal said...

You know what, it's not. I knew the Oilers would be terrible, quite frankly after losing Ryan Smyth the rest just doesn't seem as bad. And I still feel the Flames are close to success in terms of personelle, even if not this year.

Quite frankly there has been nothing more painful than losing SCF game 7 two consecutive years, and I think God might be showing me a bit of mercy by snuffing out all hope very early.