The Edmonton Oilers are among the worst teams in the early part of the 2013-14 NHL season.
They are playing so terribly that Montreal Canadiens center Lars Eller actually compared them to a junior league team prior to the Habs’ game with the Alberta club on Tuesday night.
“They play a little bit like a junior team, I think, sometimes,” Eller told Canoe.ca’s Chris Stevenson.
“They take a lot risks, a lot of chances. They’re a little all over the place. There’s not a lot of structure always in their game. It can really be anything. You don’t know.”
Edmonton head coach Dallas Eakins responded to Eller’s comments by saying “He may as well have sent me a fruit basket and a bottle of wine. It was a great gift.”
Eller’s comments may have given Eakins something that can be used to motivate the struggling Oilers, but his remark about Edmonton’s lack of structure is a fair criticism.
As a young team with forwards that have a skill set featuring an abundance of offensive talent and speed, Edmonton does take a lot of chances in the attacking zone, which often results in costly turnovers that provide the opposition with quality scoring chances at the other end of the ice. Edmonton has tallied the third-most giveaways (95) in the league this season.
Likely fueled by Eller’s comments, the Oilers defeated the Canadiens 4-3 on Tuesday for their third victory of the season, but with a 3-6-1 record, they still sit at the bottom of the Western Conference standings.