It’s awfully quiet right now in the Nation. Some would say TOO quiet.
Perhaps one could chalk it up to the confusing play of the Oilers of late. Coming off two big wins — one against the Kings in which they dang near gassed a three-goal lead and one against the Sharks where they were outshot an astounding 231-5 but managed to win — you could expect a lot of cheering and excitement from the Citizens of the OilersNation.
Yet that is hardly the case.
If you believe some of the hallowed writers covering the team this squad has been the vicitim of the schedule makers in NYC so far this year. Still others believe that a rodeo-induced road trip is hardly to blame for a 13-11-2 record that falls far short of the optimism that surrounded the team going into the year.
Maybe that’s why Oilers fans aren’t quick to throw their full support behind this latest two (edit THREE) -game winning streak. Or perhaps it’s the mild weather which has messed with all of our biological clocks. It’s Dec 11, Nation. Usually we’re sitting under a foot of snow and are burning old furniture to keep warm. Instead we’re experiencing a lovely spring — completely unheard of in the month of December.
Whatever the case may be, tonight’s game against the Panthers is sort of one of those “damned if you do and damned if you don’t” type games. Lose to the Panthers and all the pent-up thunder that has been silenced in the past seven days will return with vigor. Calls for MacT’s head will return, fantastical trade proposals will be drafted with breathtaking speed and complexity. Win against the Panthers with anything less than a 3- or 4-goal output and people will be saying “so what?” And Florida is currently on a 4-1-0 winning streak — by no means are they the terrible team the Oilers coaching staff would have hoped to see fly into town.
For you see Florida hasn’t won in RX1 in almost 13 years. That’s right — it was January 5, 1996 the last time the Panthers managed to win a game in Edmonton. Craig MacTavish was only six years old at the time, but managed to take most of the heat for the loss at the hands of a 19-year-old Robin Brownlee who was looking to make a name for himself at the time.
As much as the 27th game of the year between two struggling teams can be pressure packed — this is it.
Big ups again to Dryden Roesch for the cartoon. Also, have you voted for Souray today? You should.