The Edmonton media is starting to turn on Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl

Published February 11, 2022 at 10:14

There has been a revolving door of coaches in Edmonton stemming back over the past decade and despite having two of the best players in the world on the same team, the Oilers just can't seem to build any momentum.

With the likes of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl in the fold, you'd have assumed that the Oilers would at least accidentally find some success, but the team has routinely found a way to come up short of the goals that the organization had set when they drafted McDavid 1st overall in 2015.

The question is, how many coaches and GM's need to be fired before the team takes a look at the roster structure and tries to actually fix what's wrong? The Edmonton media has been asking this question over the past few seasons, and now it has resulted in the media blaming Connor McDavid for the lack of results. Here's just one example of what's being said in Edmonton.

So what does it mean when a coach who has a proven track record of building a stout defensive spine into previous teams comes to Edmonton, and in three years hasa team that gives up Grade A chances like Oprah gives out cars? Or for that matter, when Todd McLellan leaves Edmonton in failure and moves on to coach the L.A. Kings to unexpected success?

Does it mean Tippett, and fired assistant Jim Playfair, forgot everything they knew about how to coach a team to play a proper defensive NHL game? Or perhaps after most of three seasons, did a roster that could not or would not accept anything other than star-driven, stats-hungry hockey finally, stubbornly stop listening?

Connor McDavid uses his surreal speed to fly the zone and scorer highlight-reel goals, but not often enough to prevent chances in his own zone. He's great with the puck, but without it McDavid who has spoken of his need to defend better, and has made strides still couldn't carry Sid Crosby's equipment bag.

He could, if he wanted to. If McDavid ever wants to win, he'd better learn to want to. Leon Draisaitl could be the best all-around player on this team. Quite possibly the facto captain. But when a team has wild swings like the Oilers have had win six, lose seven, lose six, win four it appears rudderless.

We're not in the room, so we don't know for sure. But when a team is this streaky, we believe the top players (like Draisait) should be able to stabilize the effort. To achieve buy- in. To bring players like Jesse Puljujarvi- who has been entirely lost for two months into the fold.

Does a new coach bring in new ideas?

Sure. They all did.

Will it end the same way for the next guy?

If the best players don't lead the change buying in on trying to win a Stanley Cup, not a bunch of Harts and Art Ross's it's only a matter of time until we're writing this same column again.

Now, let's be very clear about something.. if anyone in Edmonton is to blame, it's not McDavid and it's not Draisaitl. These guys have been carrying this team for the last 7 years. I think if you asked them, they'd tell you that they'd trade all of their Hart, Art Ross and Rocket Richard trophies for one Stanley Cup.

With Dave Tippett out and Jay Woodcroft in, hopefully the Oilers can put together a strong second half and climb their way back into the playoff picture. I think just about everyone knows that the Oilers face a pretty tall task in the playoffs with their current goaltending tandem. If you want to pinpoint what's wrong, maybe start there.

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