December 23 2009 11:15AM
Today marks one of the most popular pop-culture days of the year. And, oh yeah, the Oilers are playing the Wild tonight.
If you don’t know what today is, then you weren’t a fan of the greatest TV show of all time.
Festivus is a secular holiday celebrated on December 23rd. The holiday, as portrayed in Seinfeld and now celebrated by many, includes practices such as the "Airing of Grievances", in which each person tells everyone else all the ways they have disappointed him or her over the past year. After the meal the "Feats of Strength" are performed, involving wrestling the head of the household to the floor, with the holiday ending only if the head of the household is actually pinned down.
So it is fitting that the Oilers play today, because I’m guessing many fans of the Copper and Blue have some grievances today. Feel free to share with the group; it can be refreshingly therapeutic for your well-being.
If the Oilers celebrated Festivus, I don’t know if the holiday would ever end because I don’t see anyone who could pin Pat Quinn.
Quinn has aired his grievances after pretty much every game this year, and if the Oilers play as badly tonight as they did v. the Blues on Monday, Quinn might have his most entertaining post-game presser of the season.
Quinn will change his lines again tonight looking for that magic elixir that will produce offence, but somehow play solid defensively.
Penner — Potulny — Brule
Jacques — Horcoff — O’Sullivan
Moreau — Gagner — Cogliano
Nilsson — Stortini — Stone
He's going back to the lines that won five games in a row, except he has switched Potulny and Gagner.
Offence isn’t the problem with the Oilers. They are fifth in five-on-five scoring with 75 goals. Only Toronto (76), Pittsburgh (77), San Jose (78) and Washington (86) score more five-on-five. Look at the superstars that Wash, Pit and San Jose trot out, yet the Oilers are keeping pace at even strength scoring.
Memo to Oiler fans: Offence ISN’T the problem. It's their defensive coverage and neutral zone turnovers that is killing this team.
They’ve given up 79 goals, 3rd most in the league, only Carolina (82) and Columbus (85) have given up more five-on-five. When you look at this number you understand why Quinn is breathing fire after most games, because the Oilers continue to make horrendous decisions with the puck and by covering the wrong man.
The Oilers forwards need to learn how to play away from the puck and how to defend in their own zone, otherwise this team is going no where but down. And I know Oiler fans are dreaming of Taylor Hall, but he isn’t anymore defensively responsible than Gagner, Cogliano, Nilsson, O’Sullivan or any of the other perceived offensive players.
It is becoming painfully obvious that the only way the Oilers will improve is if their offensive players understand that they need to play well in both ends of the rink.
If the Oilers win tonight, feel free to yell, "IT'S A FESTIVUS MIRACLE..."