Well I didn't think I'd have to write this piece, but after tonight's game against Winnipeg, it must be done. Edmonton is only 3 games into their 2017-2018 season but already there have been red flags being raised and my own concerns about this team coming to light. For the first three games, Edmonton has played Calgary, Vancouver and Winnipeg. Throughout all of last season, Edmonton went 11-0-1 against those clubs (4-0 against Calgary, 4-0-1 against Vancouver and 3-0 against Winnipeg). As stated, Edmonton is 1-2 against these three clubs. And it's not like they were close either. The Calgary game was complete domination by the Oilers, outshooting them 45-26. Only a superb performance from Mike Smith, kept that game from getting out of hand (Edmonton won 3-0 on a McDavid Hat-Trick). However the next two games have seen Edmonton being outplayed, outworked, and generally out-every by the opposition. McDavid has been effectively shut down, the defence has been mediocre at best, and Talbot has allowed 8 goals getting pulled once. We all knew Sekera's injury was going to be hurtful to Edmonton, but were Pouliot and Eberle THAT important to Edmonton? Well here are my reasons for why Edmonton seems to be sucking. #1. Fatigue: Let's not forget, Edmonton went to round 2 game 7 against the Ducks. A series that physically demanded lots out of the Oilers and resulted in Sekera's injury. However looking at one game and listening to two others (I can't afford GameCenter this season), it doesn't seems like Edmonton's tired. #2. The roster: This one is interesting. Over the course of the off-season, I've heard people say that Edmonton's roster got worse, heck I wrote a piece on here about it (http://2bcproductions.com/threads/did-edmonton-get-worse.15502/). Naturally I didn't believe it since Jokinen was a natural upgrade on Pouliot, given his abilities, and Eberle's lack of defensive play meant that anyone would be an upgrade on him. 3 games in, and Jokinen hasn't looked good while Strome hasn't proven to be the worth the price of Eberle. However I'm also not going to blame this since it's only 3 games in and both are still adjusting. Both looked good in preseason and coming to a new team with a new system takes time. #3. The expectations: The expectations placed on the Oilers this season are justified given their successful 2016-2017 season and by virtue of having McDavid and Draisitl on the same team. However we can't forget that this is still a young team who hadn't experienced a season like that before. Could the expectations of "Stanley Cup Finals" have gotten to this team, causing this bad start? #4. Other teams improvements: Another possibility. As I said before, Edmonton went 11-0-1 against Calgary, Vancouver and Winnipeg last season. Those three clubs know they play Edmonton 3-5 times this year. Getting cub-smacked by them was never going to be an option for those GM's. Calgary shored up their d to slow McDavid down (though by the first game you wouldn't know it), while Vancouver and Winnipeg decided to go with the Anaheim strategy and have a player shadow McDavid (with great effect). #5. Defence and goaltending: This is probably the biggest reason. Sekera's injury meant that Edmonton's D was significantly weaker. You'd think a journeyman like Sekera wouldn't make much of a difference to a blue line that was 8th best last season, but his abscence is very noticeable. Klefbom and Larsson have looked as good as they did last season, but Benning (who had a great first year) has struggled mightily with Kris Russell, while Nurse and Gryba have struggled at times. Talbot hasn't been better either. He's allowed 8 goals over the past two games and has already gotten pulled. Not saying the losses are his fault, but he's let in goals that should've been saved. Again this is probably the biggest factor right now. Neither have been good enough to help Edmonton win. Now that being said, should I be pressing the panic button? Logically no. We're only 3 games in and even the best teams in the league still lose 35 times a year. Heck, Calgary got off to a 5-10-1 start and they still managed to sneak in. However, I think the frustration stems from the fact that I know the Oilers can play better than they have been, but they've not done that yet. Outside of the Calgary game, this team has looked like a pre-Todd-and-PC Oilers club. Edmonton has 4 days off between now and their meeting with Ottawa on Saturday night. They're not completely out of it right now, but if this continues, the Oilers are back to where they were in years past. Playing for a lottery pick, not a playoff spot.