In a league of salary cap parity, there are some teams who transcend scheduling challenges (and some that stink even with a prolonged homestand), yet long road trips and back-to-back sets leave plenty of average ones stumbling.
(Of course, this assumes that the Oilers won’t just be flat-out bad. That’s a considerable risk, especially since they still lack a win against a Western Conference team and saw Taylor Hall suffer another potentially worrisome injury last night.)
In the beginning of the 2014-15 season, the Oilers prompted jersey-throwing hysteria with a slow start, yet it probably didn’t help that they played three of their first four games on the road. Edmonton then generated some excitement by winning four straight games as part of a seven-game homestand, although that enthusiasm has dampened now that they lost three of those seven contests.
Still, aside from a 4-1 flop against Nashville, the Oilers have shown glimpses of competence early on. In other words, they might just be good enough to make people furrow their brows at highly probable highs and lows in November (rather than just shrug their shoulders and say “Same old, same old.”):
Again, there’s always the chance that the Oilers are much better or worse than they’ve appeared so far this season. Eleven games isn’t exactly a huge sample size to forecast success or failure.
Still, if their current 4-6-1 record is a decent barometer for where this team is (not good, not awful), then the Oilers may find themselves hitting some serious peaks and valleys thanks in part to the whims of their schedule.