Before the season began, Edmonton Oilers head coach Tom Renney was quoted that last year the team was "playing with house money" and that this year would be where winning and the formation of expectations would take place.
After a start that had many fans salivating about the ever-elusive, meaningful April hockey (8-2-2 through the first 12 games), the team has won 26.67 percent of the games it has played since then.
The zenith of the team's fall from grace was originally thought to be on December 7 against the Carolina Hurricanes at Rexall Place. The game was hyped as a rematch of the first post-lockout Stanley Cup Finals.
A rematch it was not, as Carolina dominated the game from start to finish, winning 5-3. The game's score was close, however it was a pure lack of effort and determination on the part of the Oilers.
We may have reached a new low this season after Friday evening's 5-0 embarrassment at the hands of the 29th-ranked Anaheim Ducks, a team who, like the Hurricanes, experienced enough turmoil this season and had the foresight to change head coaches midway through the season.
The low point of the low point came when Sam Gagner, a skilled forward by trade, was the only willing combatant after a Francois Beauchemin hit to forward Taylor Hall. Perhaps Tom Renney, who should have the adjective "embattled" by his name, summed the evening up best: "I don't see ice bags in there. I don't see guys sore from really gutting it out to do everything possible to win a hockey game."
Does Tom Renney deserve a majority of the blame for the Oilers struggles thus far?
With Renney's assessment fresh in our minds and the reality of a third consecutive lottery pick slowly sinking in, here are five statistics that explain the latest disappointing season in Edmonton.
-Through 43 regular season games, Oilers forward and biggest bargaining chip at the trade deadline, Ales Hemsky, has the same number of even-strength goals, three, as Ladislav Smid. Smid's career high for points is 11, set back in 2008-09. Hemsky's career high is 77, set in 2005-06.
-Hemsky, making $4.1 million, has the same number of points this season, 15, as free-agent signing defenceman Corey Potter. Potter's cap hit is $525,000.
-Eric Belanger is the only Oilers center winning over 50 percent of his faceoffs at 57.4.
-Sam Gagner, a skilled forward whose role is to show up on the scoresheet, has been in more fights this season (2) than free-agent signing Ben Eager, who has a reputation as a "tough guy."
-The team ranks 29th in shots per game at just 26.5. The only team below them? The latest team to conquer Rexall Place—the Anaheim Ducks.
Those are five statistics that shed some light on the kind of season it has been so far in Edmonton. In other words, the script to another lottery win.
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