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Lars Eller: Edmonton Oilers "play like a junior team"

Lars Eller apparently doesn't subscribe to the maxim that if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. (Minas Panagiotakis/Icon SMI)Lars Eller apparently doesn't subscribe to the maxim that if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. (Minas Panagiotakis/Icon SMI)

By Allan Muir

It's never a good idea to provide the opposition with bulletin board material, even if the game ahead is a low-wattage interconference matchup, like the one tonight between the Oilers and Canadiens.

Still, you have to admire the willingness of Montreal forward Lars Eller to offer up an unvarnished opinion.

Asked his thoughts on the Oilers, Eller had this to say:

"With this team it can be anything. They play a bit like a junior team sometimes. They take a lot of risks and lots of chances. They are a little all over the place. There isn't a lot of structure in their game always."

Ouch.

Given their 2-6-1 record and generally cavalier approach to defense, the Oilers probably can't say too much in their own defense, other than, "Oh, yeah? Well...um..."

And it's not just an indictment of the players. It's a harsh critique of the job that coach Dallas Eakins has done to this point.

In his defense, there are a lot of factors in play here. He has a young team that's had to deal with a lot of injuries. And honestly, if he had a goalie who could at least keep the Oilers in a game occasionally, Eakins would look a lot smarter.

But while you have to cut a new coach some slack as he tries to imprint his system on his charges, it's fair to say the early returns on the Easkins era haven't been good. More than one observer has noted that the Oilers played a more cohesive game last year under deposed coach Ralph Krueger. Eller's comment will serve to bolster that impression.

It'll be interesting to see how this plays out. One thing's for sure: the game-day scrums around Eller are about to get a lot more crowded.
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