Ahhh, that coach-firing aftershock, hangover, disorientation. The Oilers, they know it well.
And tonight the Islanders are their victims, or maybe the benefactors, as they are the first opponent to meet the Oilers after they fired Jay Woodcroft and replaced him with some such Knoblauch. The 3-9-1 Oilers need to win, and win fast, and win lots, in order to restore their “Cup or bust” season.
The Islanders have no such lofty expectations, but they’re generally expected to compete. To be good enough to be in the playoff bubble all season, maybe slip into a low seed and see if they can recapture some playoff magic.
But their recent form hasn’t looked like that is their destiny.
Tonight, some potential changes:
- Adam Pelech, dealing with some lingering injuries, is a game-time decision to return.
- Julien Gauthier is also a game-time decision, and would apparently replace Matt Martin, who was on for extra time at the morning skate.
- Oliver Wahlstrom is another possible addition, with Hudson Fasching reported to be on long at the morning skate too.
- Ilya Sorokin should be in goal, and that would be fun if he tossed one of his world-beater performances at the Oilers to spoil their new coach’s debut.
I don’t actually wish the Oilers any ill will — and Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl deserve better fates; but Oilers in Crisis makes for endless entertainment, so it’s hard not to root for that.