Los Angeles was playing chess, Edmonton was playing checkers

The defending Stanley Cup champions handed out a beating to the constantly rebuilding Oilers, once again exposing Edmonton’s soft defensive underbelly. Just how bad did the Oilers look? Let’s roll that clip.

Darryl Belfry is a skills coach who works with elite NHLers such as Sidney Crosby, Patrick Kane and John Tavares. So when he breaks down game tape, the analysis is pretty sound. And if you needed any more evidence of how big a gulf exists between the Los Angeles Kings and the Edmonton Oilers after a 6-1 thrashing, just watch Belfry’s assessment of a Kings breakout from Tuesday night:

The Edmonton defenseman in question is veteran Andrew Ference – not rookie Darnell Nurse, who made his NHL debut that night, not defensive work-in-progress Justin Schultz. But this sort of miscue just seems to be so common on a team that can’t afford to play in such a manner. Unfortunately, Edmonton has been Meme Central for awhile now when it comes to defense and #TheSwarm is a legitimate Thing now on Twitter. Lest we forget, here’s The Swarm in all its troubled glory:

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So what is the answer in Edmonton? You can’t accuse the team’s brass of standing still, as reinforcements were procured over the summer. But the early results are the same and you have to wonder when perennial losing becomes too poisonous for the team’s young stars to overcome.