Embarrassing

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 10:58 AM ET

It was comical in the ineptitude of it. Quote, unquote, Craig MacTavish.

If he was in denial and playing spin doctor the night before, MacTavish had a reality check along with his team last night.

"There's not a lot you can say about a game like that. It was a complete debacle from one end to the other.

"Right now as a coach, I'm numb.

"When it comes to having confidence in your club, right now I have none. How can you after a game like that?''

No rodeo or circus ever left the joint smelling like this. And it's been a while since the Edmonton Oilers messed their hockey pants like this, either. Rexall Place will likely be closed until further notice for fumigation.

It was a 7-1 loss - repeat 7-1 loss - to the Colorado Avalanche. It was the Oilers' sixth straight loss. Sixth! If you're going to suck, you might as well suck like a vacuum cleaner.

"Terrible,'' said Shawn Horcoff. "The worst I've ever been part of since I've been a professional.''

The Oilers are now taking dead aim to break the team record for ineptitude - 11 - in the fall of 1993. It's their longest loss streak since losing nine in a row in 1994-95.

It was the most goals they'd given up at home since Detroit scored eight here Oct. 3, 1997. The Oilers lost 7-0 to Chicago here in '95.

"It's humiliating and embarrassing, especially at home,'' said Steve Staios.

'WE JUST WEREN'T READY'

"I can't think of any one worse than that one off the top of my head,'' said Ryan Smyth.

"We just weren't ready at all.''

Down 3-0 after 14 minutes, and 7-0 after two periods, the Oilers no-showed in their final game at home before heading out to play 10 of their next 11 on the road.

If they're road kill, you're going to have wished the lockout had lasted longer.

It's open-line open season.

Remember the giddy city with the new collective bargaining agreement? The arrival of Chris Pronger and Michael Peca? A three-game winning streak to start the season?

They've flushed that all away now.

It's time for them to start looking like $6.25 million US and $3.99 million US hockey talent.

It's time for Kevin Lowe to admit he gambled and lost on his goalies. And it's time to trade to get some goals.

The GM gambled on two back-up goalies and didn't find the forwards with the extra money available to add players under the new collective bargaining agreement.

The open-line radio shows will feature dozens of reasons why this has happened to the Oilers, why they are well on their way to sewering the season early the same way they did in 2003-04 after the Heritage Classic.

But really there are only two things wrong.

1. They can't score on the other net.

2. They can't keep it out of their own net.

You can win all the faceoffs in the world and have whatever other positives you can name (I can't come up with any other than maybe the play of Jarret Stoll). But if you can't score and you can't stop them from scoring, you're pretty much screwed.

Take the first period. Henny Youngman would say "please.'' The Oilers, who were even in shots at 76-76 with the opposition in first periods going into the game, have now been outscored 14-5 in the opening stanza.

You don't need a map here.

Jussi Markkanen, who has so far played like an NHL back-up, was yarded out of there after the three quicks to start the game.

Ty Conklin, who so far has played like an Eastern League back-up, brought his .864 save percentage in to drop it even more as he gave up four more on 11 shots in the second period.

NO VOLUNTEERS

With no volunteers to put on the pads for the third, Markkanen went back in to mop up the mess.

There are rumours that the Oilers have been talking to Washington about goalie Olaf Kolzig. If they're not, the phone number is 202-266-2200. Maybe the Caps might want Jani Rita, Cory Cross, Georges Laraque, Igor Ulanov, Alexei Semenov, one of the goalies, power play coach Craig Simpson and future considerations in exchange for Kolzig.

Probably not.


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