GDB 32: Phx v Edm

You’ll forgive us if we aren’t exactly wetting our pants in anticipation of the game tonight. See, Friday night didn’t go exactly as planned. Santa failed us. The Oilers failed us. The taxi companies failed us. Operation Red Nose failed us. The legal system failed us. Now we are left to sit at the Remand Centre looking out over a cold cityscape and wonder what went wrong.

OK fine. We aren’t really in the prison downtown. But we are in a way worse kind of prison. A prison of the mind. And that’s way worse, trust us. We are all imprisioned by a crappy team, folks, and we aren’t getting out any time soon.

Real round table analysis

We had a long talk over a tall beer with a few of the boys after the game. We accused one dude of being a bandwagon jumper –- which he took with characteristically bad humour.

“Screw you Wanye” he yelled. “I am no bandwagon jumper. I’m here every single game griping the entire time. I wish the Oilers weren’t so crappy this year. I wish that we could sit here and say ‘Wow, the forwards sure are scoring left and right.’ I wish I could say ‘It’s Christmas and I am already fairly certain the Oilers are going to make the playoffs this year.’ But that ain’t the case is it?”

It’s an interesting distinction between fans who have a legitimate axe to grind and bandwagon jumpers.

We ran into our boy Ssseth at the game on Friday. He is the prime example of an Oiler fan that has been completely failed by the squad, in our opinion. With every failed pass, weak back check and fancy play that went awry you could see his anger starting to build. Don’t get us wrong — when the Oil tied the game in the third, there was joy and high fives all around. But when the shoot-out ended, he left the building faster than Elvis leaves a concert. Don’t kid yourself: this guy is a superfan. But even superfans have their limits of the crap they can tolerate.

Is this bandwagon jumping? No. And we guess that’s the point.

No jumping here

All the comments on sites like these, all the calls to radio shows all over town, all the water cooler talk about “Whatever is to be done about that Oiler hockey squadron?” All these folks really want is a winner. No one really wants MacT to be fired. They just want the team to win. No one really wants to see Nilsson, Roloson or (insert other Oiler in the dog house here) shipped out of town. You ask anyone on here that is vehement that MacT be fired the following question and watch their reply.

“Would you rather see MacT fired or the Oilers make the playoffs?”

We will bet it will be ridiculously lopsided. In fact we will make it the poll.

Look around RX1 during any given night of late. Look at the good people who have shelled out hundreds of their own dollars for tickets –- and then thousands of dollars for flat beers. We don’t see a bandwagon jumper in the house. We have been to games in plenty of cities too, so we’ve seen the lame noise that passes for applause in all too many expansion cities.

It’s different here. But there really is a limit to how much mediocrity one team’s fans can take. And perhaps we haven’t arrived at that point yet, but it is definitely on the horizon and getting closer with every passing minute.

You can’t help but feel for the Citizens of the OilersNation. It’s nut-freezing cold out, pitch black 23 hours a day and there really ain’t shit to do up here but have a few beers and watch a few scores. So turn out to watch we do: in droves.

In RX1, at the bars, buying the PPV broadcasts or sitting around with a bunch of fellow “bandwagon jumpers” ignoring your poker game because the Oilers are down 3-1 “but on a powerplay.” Teams in 25 other cities would KILL for the level of fan dedication. Our team seems content to sit on its hands and issue a bunch of platitudes about effort and turning the corner.

So this is prison.

On a related note: we will see YOU at the JL meeting tonight.