I like to think our fledgling website shares a lot in common with the Oilers. This site was started for one reason and one reason alone: the Oilers need independent coverage from people that aren’t comfortably seated next to Kevin Lowe on the plane. People writing about the Oil need to have the stones to call Pronger a chicken, MacT an alien or whatever they please, because they aren’t in the pocket of the team. The Oilers’ goals are different, but we’re both doing what we love, and we’re doing it because we want to see this team succeed.
The team was all but written off in February by even the most hardcore fans. But something happened in February, some point was turned. And we hardly noticed it, but suddenly the Oilers were winning games, giving fans hope, and playing some good hockey in the process. Sure, mistakes were made, bad luck and injury befell some of our stronger players, but from the ashes rose the likes of Glencross, Stortini, and Cogliano to name but a few.
Am I pissed we didn’t make the playoffs? Absolutely! I feel like we were robbed. Last night’s game against the Flames should have been ours. It WAS ours but for Owen Nolan’s sudden Robert DeNiro-like awakening from his geriatric sleep. Calgary’s win put this year’s Battle of Alberta series at 4–4, hardly the outcome we were hoping for.
Mathematically eliminated from the playoff race, we’ll like hear a lot from the Oilers about rebuilding, focusing on next year, and all the things players and coaches need to say to get past a devastating loss and look toward the future. I think the Oilers are in a good spot for next year. But I think we were in a good spot for this year too, certainly after an astounding March run.
So, I’m not going to whine like Wanye. I’m not going to hide under a pile of clothes or drown my sorrow in low-fat strawberry ice cream covered in chocolate sauce covered in beer covered in tears. I’m going to watch the rest of the playoffs with detached interest, and recall with fondest an impossible final push that ended badly. I’m going to look ahead with the hope that the Oil Kids stick around, develop more over the summer, and come out next season with guns blazing.
So thanks, Edmonton Oilers. Thanks for proving me wrong so many times this season. Thanks for the dizzying highs, and the terrifying lows. Thanks for the excitement, and the excuse to drink beer and force my girlfriend to learn to love hockey.
Thanks for a great season. Here’s hoping the injured players get well, and we have a real go at this next season.