Vancouver Canucks 5 at Edmonton Oilers 2 – 2022-12-23 recap

This is a game that the Canucks shouldn’t have even been in. A road scheduled loss against a team that ought to be much better than it is. Looking at it another way, it’s a game that the Oilers really ought to have won.

A favourite hobby of mine has been trolling Edmonton Oilers fans this season.

It’s a fun activity for the whole family. The hockey blogosphere isn’t what it is today without the influence of Oilers fans. Those that have been around for over a decade have contributed so much to hockey research and surface-level understanding of the game. The Oilers fans that inhabit online spaces can be the smartest and most measured.

They are still very bitter about the Oilers giving up on Ethan Bear, and whenever I get an inkling to post some Ethan Bear videos, it tortures those that always liked him and never wanted to see him leave. I get caught up in arguments, and you get the impression that this was a big battle among the fanbase. There are a lot of less-knowledgeable Oilers fans that want the smarter ones to “let it go” and that the plays I’m clipping are not that impressive anyway.

Edmonton is probably a town that deserves a better hockey team, at least for the ones I regularly interact with. They have two of the very best players in the world, and have failed to surround those talented players with a secondary core that can win games. The defence and goaltending are poor. They have some interesting depth pieces, but so much of the strategy seems to be to let McDavid and Draisaitl cook. It doesn’t seem like a recipe for sustainable success. Letting puck-moving defencemen like Ethan Bear go for left wingers that don’t move the needle is similar to a lot of the moves made in recent years by the Canucks. Not every useful player is perfect, but right-shot defencemen that can pass are much rarer than speedy wingers that don’t fill the net.

Oddly, in this game, as we’ll see, it was actually the depth on the Oilers that led the way at 5v5 for them. The Oilers at 5v4 are formidable, and a lot of McDavid’s points this year have come from there. He’s not even close to the league lead in 5v5 points rate, which is astounding considering his totals. The Oilers are a poorer 5v5 team than they ought to be, as shown in this game by the fact that they couldn’t out-chance a road-weary Canucks team that was on the second leg of a back-to-back before the holiday break. This ought to have been a gimme.

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