In this new recurring post, I ask some questions to a staff writer or editor of an opposing team’s FanSided Blog. This week, I interviewed the editor of the Edmonton Oilers site, Oil on Whyte, Derek Stykalo.
U&B: What has been the biggest strength for the Edmonton Oilers so far?
Derek: Given that the Oilers are last in the Western Conference, it’s difficult to say there has been a strength. If I have to pick one, I’d say it’s been the ability to score goals, although that hasn’t been the case on home ice lately. This team seems to play better away from Rexall and can actually score a few goals in a game when playing as the visiting team.
U&B: Who should the Columbus Blue Jackets look out for on the ice?
Derek: The usual suspects for the Oilers aren’t exactly lighting it up but Taylor Hall has shown flashes of brilliance lately, despite some defensive gaffs. Mark Arcobello has been one of the few bright spots on this under achieving team and has a way of creating scoring chances out of nowhere.
U&B: Who do you see as the biggest threat to the Oilers from the Blue Jackets?
Derek: Given the struggles the offense has had lately, I’d say it’s Bobrovsky. With the Oilers having a hard time scoring at home and losing five straight on home ice (at the time of writing this), the pressure is mounting and beating one of the league’s premiere goalies could now become a mental challenge.
U&B: What is one area in which the Oilers have struggled this season?
Derek: It’s hard to pick just one but defense has been the biggest blunder all season long. When Dubnyk turns in a fine outing, the defense gives up too many chances and are losing battles that must be won down low. Thankfully, on some nights Dubnyk bails them out. Other nights, he’s the biggest struggle. Did I mention this team can’t score on home ice? That could be a struggle as well. Hell, the whole team has been a struggle all season.
U&B: What are your expectations for the upcoming game?
Derek: The optimist in me says the Oilers will compete in this game, both physically and on the scoreboard. They have one of the fastest teams in the league and when they utilize their speed they can create a nightmare for the defenseman on the opposition. Hopefully that holds true tonight, providing the Oilers come to play. Prediction: 4-2 Oilers. Call me bias, it’s true. But I keep waiting for things to turn around. Maybe this is the game.