Avoiding a baker's dozen

Jason Gregor
January 29 2010 02:19PM

Tomorrow is your playoffs Oiler fans! In case you haven’t noticed, the Oilers won’t make the playoffs for the 4th consecutive season, and are on pace to get their highest draft choice ever.

Some of you have started to waver in your enthusiasm and loyalty for the Copper and Blue — which is understandable — but if there was ever a time to muster up the internal fortitude to watch one more game, it's tomorrow.

I’m not an Oiler fan. I don’t get to ride the emotional highs and lows like I did before I got into the media, but the one aspect that has never left me is that I can’t stand the Flames. I grew up despising them, and that hasn’t changed.

Games like tomorrow are the few times where I can say that I actually care if the Oilers win. My buddy, Boris (his nickname, because he doesn’t deserve to have his real name written here) lives in Cowtown and is a die-hard Flames fan. Even though he knows I’m not a true Oiler fan anymore, he has been sending me crap emails or lame texts mocking the state of this franchise for four years.

While his ripping of the Oilers doesn’t bother me, having to put up with his constant dribble annoys me more than those dorks who stand up on the plane the minute it lands and rush to the front. I will watch tomorrow and pray to the hockey gods that the losers of 12 in a row can avoid making it a baker’s dozen.

If there was ever a game the Oilers needed to win it is tomorrow night. Not just for their sake, but, selfishly for my own and for every Oiler fan. The “Thirst for First” can be put on hold for one night. And really the way the Oilers are playing is there any doubt they won’t be there come April 15th.

Tomorrow night my disdain for Calgary will shine through. Listening to them snivel and whine after a tenth straight loss would make my weekend, and I’m guessing many of you could use a pick me up after an Oiler game.

Oiler fans have reached the conclusion that this year is now about the highest draft pick, and watching games doesn’t bring the same anger, joy, frustration, excitement, angst that you normally feel. You’ve become almost numb to the losing. It barely hurts anymore.

Tomorrow’s game will either be the death blow, ending the longest January of any Oiler fans live or it will just be another chapter in what has become the most challenging time to remain an Oiler fan.  How the hell does a team go an entire month without a win? A win tomorrow night won’t salvage the month or the season, but it will allow Oiler fans to remember what a win feels like.

Sure it is hard on the players, but it might be just as hard on the fans; if not harder. When you play at least you have a say in the outcome. Watching means you cheer while never losing the feeling of helplessness that you really can’t change the outcome. That feeling can eat away at the best of fans.

Last night at Rexall Place I heard and saw too many fans leaving with nary an emotion showing on their face. They’ve almost become robotic to the losing; scared to invest any emotion into the game, because the outcome seems automatic. Another loss.

Tomorrow might be the last time this season that you as a fan can really “get up” for a game. You know the routine. Stock the fridge in the afternoon, take a nap at four, wake up at five-thirty and watch Grapes spew something that doesn’t really interest you, yet his suit keeps you entertained. Then you order pizza, or make the trek to a buddy’s house or a local establishment like The Pint.

You start to ease your nervousness with a beer or hard liquor and get set for what is the likely to be the last game this season that youinvest real emotion while watching.

I have to call the Rush game v. the Roughnecks (another Battle of Alberta that Edmonton the City could use to boost morale) tomorrow night at five but I’ve got a table reserved at the Pint for 8:00. I will plant my ass down and ensure our fine waitress keeps the bevies coming on a constant pace.

I miss the feeling of excitement before a game. The Dolphins are my team, and outside of last year’s great 11-5 season I haven’t had much to cheer about. For one night I plan to return to my roots of a diehard Oiler fan. Cursing when Grebeshkov inevitably gives the puck away, or Souray misses the net by ten feet, or when Pouliot decides that finishing a check isn’t in his contract. And I will high-five my boys when the Oilers score, and get revved up when a fight occurs. There better be a few tilts tomorrow or neither team deserves to play in a Battle of Alberta again.

After tomorrow, I will go back to covering the games with little emotion, and the only time I will become a true fan again is when the Oilers and Flames meet in the playoffs. Don’t laugh, it could happen....someday.

Tomorrow night could be the last meaningful game of the season for Oiler fans. It won’t mean much in the standings, because Carolina is starting to separate from the Oilers, but it could keep the pride of Oiler fans intact until the Olympics grab your heart.

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#1 SirFozz
January 29 2010, 02:35PM
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You had me at "Tomorrow...".

GOILERS!!!!!1!!!

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#2 Travis Dakin
January 29 2010, 02:38PM
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@ Jason Gregor I still don't buy the "I'm not a fan" crap! I know you fist pump. haha although, I guess you can technically say you aren't a fan right now because there is not much to fist pump about.

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#3 Wanyes bastard child
January 29 2010, 02:50PM
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Here's a thought, and im just going by his on-ice enthusiasm and the way he gets so pumped everytime someone scores. Also the movember thingy he organized.

How about Sam Gagner as the new captain?

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#5 Twiggs
January 29 2010, 02:53PM
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"Oiler fans have reached the conclusion that this year is now about the highest draft pick, and watching games doesn’t bring the same anger, joy, frustration, excitement, angst that you normally feel. You’ve become almost numb to the losing. It barely hurts anymore."

I think this sums up the sentiment of many long time, die hard fans very nicely.

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#6 Jodes
January 29 2010, 02:59PM
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One of these days I'll have to get my arse to the city and watch a game at the Pint..

I will then truely find out (in the words of the immortal Ernie Scar) and see if its really for real or just a load of BS..

Hopefully it won't be as pretentious as some of the other "similiar" venues in the city (The Ranch, Hudson's, Druid, etc).

I guess I'll find out on Feb 9th and 10th when I'm down for Teacher Convention..

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#7 Connor
January 29 2010, 03:05PM
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Wanyes bastard child wrote:

Here's a thought, and im just going by his on-ice enthusiasm and the way he gets so pumped everytime someone scores. Also the movember thingy he organized.

How about Sam Gagner as the new captain?

I agree, but maybe let them wait until after the first month of the new season to try out who emerges as a leader. Gagner would be awesome

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#8 jeanshorts
January 29 2010, 03:08PM
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@Jodes

The Pint is pretty wicked. I've only been there one time but I'd definitely go back. It's an honest to goodness pub. No dance floor (as far as I can remember anyway). Good food. And towers of beer! How can you go wrong?

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#9 jeanshorts
January 29 2010, 03:12PM
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@Jason Gregor

Oh, and I enjoy the fact that you keep referring to plane d-bags off and on. My favorite part is watching them get uncomfortable and antsy because they've been standing for like 15 minutes.

If it's your first trip on a plane, then you're excused. But if you're clearly coming back from somewhere, then you're just an a-hole.

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#10 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
January 29 2010, 03:15PM
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jeanshorts wrote:

The Pint is pretty wicked. I've only been there one time but I'd definitely go back. It's an honest to goodness pub. No dance floor (as far as I can remember anyway). Good food. And towers of beer! How can you go wrong?

Sounds like a place worth visiting if I'm ever back in Edmonton. I was planning on making the trip last March when I was visiting my friend in MHat, but it didn't really pan out.

Likewise, I've got a couple great pubs to show you guys if you ever wake up @ss-up on a park bench in Winnipeg (I'm looking at you, Wanye/Dakin. Don't pretend it's never happened).

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#11 Darren
January 29 2010, 03:15PM
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Is Brownlee done writing here?

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#12 jeanshorts
January 29 2010, 03:16PM
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Darren wrote:

Is Brownlee done writing here?

He's far too busy soaking up sun and not thinking about the Oilers.

Well, he's probably thinking about the Oilers, but either way he's on vacation.

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#13 Darren
January 29 2010, 03:17PM
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Odd, I thought he was on the radio just yesterday

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#14 bingofuel
January 29 2010, 03:26PM
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@Darren

Jeanshorts is right, he's on vacation. He'll be back next month... so in like a week.

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#15 Jodes
January 29 2010, 03:34PM
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jeanshorts wrote:

The Pint is pretty wicked. I've only been there one time but I'd definitely go back. It's an honest to goodness pub. No dance floor (as far as I can remember anyway). Good food. And towers of beer! How can you go wrong?

Towers of Beer?

I'm so there!

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#16 McCreeper
January 29 2010, 03:34PM
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Here's my problem with this blog, you have just pumped up myself and a few others. It's like when your single your friends invite you out cause there are going to be lots of Dames and it's a can't miss night. I have trusted the oilers before only to walk home empty handed. It's like the never ending tease. I am a fan and what fan won't watch and cheer, but I've been tricked before. It hurts.

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#17 Ender
January 29 2010, 03:36PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

I’ve got a table reserved at the Pint for 8:00. I will plant my ass down and ensure our fine waitress keeps the bevies coming on a constant pace.

Nation Party!

Ender the Dragon will be there, and I look forward to meeting as many of the citizens as I can. A 'Voice' or two would be icing on a pretty good cake. Bingo? Amber? Wanye? Any of you at the Pint tomorrow night?

And who among the you the citizenship will share this last meaningful game of 2010 together?

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#18 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
January 29 2010, 03:50PM
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Ender wrote:

Jason Gregor wrote:

I’ve got a table reserved at the Pint for 8:00. I will plant my ass down and ensure our fine waitress keeps the bevies coming on a constant pace.

Nation Party!

Ender the Dragon will be there, and I look forward to meeting as many of the citizens as I can. A 'Voice' or two would be icing on a pretty good cake. Bingo? Amber? Wanye? Any of you at the Pint tomorrow night?

And who among the you the citizenship will share this last meaningful game of 2010 together?

I'll be there in spirit.

...except when I say "I'll be there in spirit" I actually mean "I'll probably watch the game at home or go check out Jannik Hansen on his conditioning stint with the Moose".

Scott Arniel, the head coach, called out Sergei Shirokov today. Should be a decent game against San Antonio this weekend, at any rate.

Urgent Update: The San Antonio game isn't until next weekend. I will be watching the Oilers beat the Flames.

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#19 Cru Jones
January 29 2010, 03:53PM
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How exactly has getting into the media taken the fan out of you? Did you have to check your passion when they handed you press credentials?

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#20 papaburgundy
January 29 2010, 04:00PM
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I too, like Gregor, don't cheer for the Oilers anymore. Nothing would be sweeter than to see that 13th loss in a row come to fruition! The Oilers have become a JOKE! I watched the St.Louis game and they lost a game they DESERVED to lose. They played with no intensity or emotion against a team that had played the night before. That tells me that their level of professionalism is right near the bottom of the scale. Yeah, you are not going to make the playoffs, but still come out and give the fans something to cheer about! I mean, Oiler fans, does this not piss you off that you pay good money to go to the games and yet they still disrespect you by putting forth a lousy effort? I predict a good night for Calgary tommorrow and think a 5-0 score will be the result as the Flames need to win and Sutter will not let them throw a game away.

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#22 Jamie B.
January 29 2010, 04:49PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

If you listen to my show I'd think you'd realize passion isn't lacking.

You don't cheer in the pressbox. You have to watch the game without bias, which forces you to just evaluate rather than care who wins or loses.

DOn't get me wrong. I think I have the best job in the world, and I'm not complaining, but one thing you have to give up to stay in the business is being a fan of the teams you cover.

Unless you're Dan Tencer.

~ ... maybe

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#23 Maggie the Monkey
January 29 2010, 05:50PM
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"Tomorrow might be the last time this season that you as a fan can really “get up” for a game. "

Not for me.

I'm an Oilers fan living in Toronto, and since this season turned sour sometime in November, there have been two critical dates on the calendar: December 30th and March 13th. Mercifully, the first game against the Buds went well, which has made the last 12 games more bearable.

It's not just the Leaf fans around here who would make life unbearable if they won (I don't hang around with many people that foolish anyway), but rather the fans of every other team. Each game against the Buds is a test of fortitude, with the possible shame of a loss being somewhere between missing the playoffs and being caught in bed with a cousin.

I'll invest energy into tomorrow night's game, but will have to keep some in reserve for mid-March, too. We all have to survive this season any way we can...

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#24 The Magic Man
January 29 2010, 05:59PM
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How about this for a trade Tambo and Lowe for a carton of cigars, and a monkey...

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#25 jeanshorts
January 29 2010, 07:02PM
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@The Magic Man

Does the monkey do any tricks?

Ah hell, who cares, MAKE IT HAPPEN!

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#26 Costanza
January 29 2010, 08:53PM
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I always say that Calgary is a city that celebrates losing, I just hope they celebrate tommorow!

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#27 BigE57
January 29 2010, 10:47PM
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Good read, it's been a tough year to be a fan of the Copper and Blue so with spring approaching I thought I would turn my attention to the coming baseball season and the Jays.......awww crap no more Doc. C'mon Oil give us a win tomorrow night.

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#28 Travis Dakin
January 29 2010, 10:55PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Since you've never met me why assume things, because you are flat out wrong. Ask my friends. I don't cheer. If you don't get that then you haven't been paying attention. Trust me, my show is actually easier when the team loses because people are more prone to bitch and moan.

HAHA man I've been paying attention and I think you do a fine job of staying unbiased (No Tencer type teets) but to me, passion runs too deep. We've been through so much with this team that it's just something you can't shake. Obviously I'm not going to argue about a matter of opinion. I am just saying, I can't see it myself. Like I said to Brownlee before, If they win the cup, I know damn well you are getting drunk to celebrate. You have to or I don't ever want to meet you!!!

HAHA I'm just ribbing you.

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#29 PattQuinn'sChesthair
January 30 2010, 08:05AM
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Hey Gregor,

I haven't been able to read all the articles and posts lately and I was wondering about the comment you made about the ethical situation you were in. You said you would reveal why you made the comment and I haven't seen anything. I only ask because Ive been hearing things about a player on the Oil lately that don't jive with what the msm have been feeding us about their medical condition, what say you?

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#30 bigrroberto
January 30 2010, 12:07PM
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"Tomorrow might be the last time this season that you as a fan can really “get up” for a game. You know the routine. Stock the fridge in the afternoon, take a nap at four, wake up at five-thirty and watch Grapes spew something that doesn’t really interest you, yet his suit keeps you entertained. Then you order pizza, or make the trek to a buddy’s house or a local establishment like The Pint."

Are you stalking me? Hahah great read.

I sure hope the game's entertaining, I'll be at it!!

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