Oiler's have returned from their trip to Europe where they opened their season with a game against the New Jersey Devil's in Gothenburg Sweden. It's a bit of a strange start to the season for the Oiler's since they have only played one game so far and won't play game number two until Thursday. Many teams already have three games under their belt and one game into the season it already feels like the Oiler's have an uphill climb ahead of them.
The Oiler's don't get to come straight home as the have a few road games before their home opener on October 18th against the Boston Bruins, the same team they will be facing on Thursday. It will be a grueling month from here on out as the Oiler's face a few of the leagues best teams in rapid succession. Two games against the Bruins and Predators and games against Winnipeg, Washington and Pittsburgh. It will be extremely important for the Oiler's to grab a few wins over the next two weeks or else the hole they will be in could derail their entire season.
So far at practice this week, it looks like the Oiler's will be shuffling things around on the backend. The top pair of Klefbom and Larsson remains the same but the other two pairs have been changed from what we saw in Sweden on Saturday. Kris Russell has been bumped up to the second pair to play alongside Darnel Nurse. Jason Garrison moves into Russells spot on the third pair while Matt Benning gets bumped down from the second pair. Rookie Evan Bouchard is the odd man out so far and looks set to be a spectator for Thursdays game. The defense was not good in Sweden so changes seem like a good course of action.
A weird story occurred as the Oiler's return to North America and arrived at their hotel in Boston. Apparently the club crossed a picket line of hotel workers. The striking workers don't seem to happy about it and seem to think that the Oiler's player should do something about it since they also work in a union. A pretty ridiculous stance if you ask me. The Oiler's aren't even from the same country as the striking workers so I have a hard time believing they were even aware of the strike before they showed up to check in. And on top of that I don't think finding a new hotel after flying in from Europe is a very appetizing idea. The Oiler's aren't the first team to cross this line as the Yankees did it earlier in the week. I just don't see how a out of town sports team should have anything to do with the strike and the whole story just feels a bit silly.
I hope the Oiler's have a good week of practice because the season opener left a lot to be desired and there are a few kinks that didn't get worked out in the preseason. It was nice to see McDavid get on the scoresheet with a few assists but those points don't feel that amazing when they come in a loss. Hoping the team has a strong showing on the road trip over the next week.