Yeah, we’re mocking small children for their choice of head gear. The game tonight is so intense we are literally starting a war! Can you feel the heat? Is the fire building up within you? Have you purchased an Edmonton Oilers garbage can in the past 72 hours? What kind of fan are you? (end NHL-esque marketing efforts here).
The Sharks aren’t that good, Nation. Let’s just call a spade a spade here shall we? 37 wins and 8 losses? You call that a hockey squadron? We call it a practice squad that would be throttled at the hands of a team of Oilers WHA Alumni from the late 1970s. How’s that home record treating you? 23-2 is it? Good heavens. Let’s not forget where one of your overtime losses came from.
Yes, if you are measuring the teams on bygone metrics like skill, winning percentage or past successes, this game is a slam dunk. But fortunately we are Oilers fans, prone to fits of irrational exuberance and bipolar mood swings. An hour ago we would have told you that the Oil were completely screwed. But then we remembered three things. A trio of facts that have been probably overlooked in all of the preparations done by both teams going into tonight’s game:
1. The Oilers don’t ever win the “gimme games” and often win games they have no business being in.
Example: A Gimme Game
30 Dec 2008: Oilers v Senators (3-2 Oilers loss)
Playing on home ice and having won three in a row, the Oil dropped a 3-2 decision to an awful Senators team that has had more coaches in the past season than the Oilers have had in the last eight years. This is precisely the kind of game that the Oil have no business losing—and yet the results are entered into history as just that.
Example: A no-business-winning game
06 Dec 2008: Oilers v Sharks (3-2 Oilers win)
Did anyone predict that the Oil would fly into San Jose to play a second road game in as many nights and would roll out with a win? We sure didn’t. But that is exactly what happened on this fine evening in early December. It could happen again couldn’t it? COULDN’T IT?
*falls on floor weeping bitterly*
2. The game is on pay-per-view and that means EXTRA entertainment.
Let’s pretend that you’re in charge of the Oilers’ pay-per-view broadcasts. You sit staring at the season schedule and try to decide what games should be broadcast on normal cable and what games should be on pay per view. Let’s review the criteria for tonight’s decision to run the game on PPV:
Q: Do the Oilers have a 1/1000 chance of winning the game?
A: Yes. The Sharks crush opponents with startling regularity at home but that won’t happen for some reason tonight.
Q: Is the game on an evening that makes sense to go to a sports bar and watch hockey?
A: Yes, nothing says “take me out to the bar” more than a Tuesday night. After a long weekend. In February.
If the Oil think tonight’s game is worth $15 dollars on pay per view that must mean that they know something we don’t. Like a win is imminent. Sweet.
3. Dwayne Roloson is a champion
How well is this guy playing right now? So well that the heir apparent to the starting job now collects paycheques in Pittsburgh. So well that his backup doesn’t even put on his jock strap on most nights so that he can sit more comfortably on the bench. So well that there is talk of *gasp* an extension to his contract in the off-season. Think he is scared of any team in the league?
No Sir. He is not.