UPDATED: It’s lonely at the bottom

“It is possible to fail in many ways… while to succeed is possible only in one way.”

The legendary Greek philosopher, Aristotle, uttered these words well before hockey was played, but today they seem fitting in Oilerville.

A few months ago many felt the Dive for Five was the only way the Oilers could begin the long trek back to the top of the NHL standings. But not even the most optimistic Oiler fan felt the Copper and Blue could give themselves a 48.1% chance to get the first overall pick in 2010.

Well all of you doubting Thomases, this morning the Oilers sit in 30th place and they are 32 games away from having the best chance of being the first team to step up to the microphone on June 25th in Los Angeles.

Before you get too excited let’s look at the hurdles they face between before June.

They can’t keep losing every game. It just won’t happen, especially when you consider that their last two games have been two of their best in the past month. Losing streaks normally come to an end when a team loses a few games that they deserved to win.

Toronto is only six points behind the Oilers, and the Oilers have three games in hand on the centre of the universe. Only Chicago has a longer Stanley Cup drought than the Leafs’ 42-year stretch, so very few teams are better at being losers than the Leafs.

The Oilers have only gained three points on the Leafs in the past ten games, and they didn’t even win a game. How bad will the Oilers have to be if they want to fend of the hard-diving Leafs?

Carolina is playing better, but Jim Rutherford is an expert at overseeing his team fluctuate from contender to pretender season-to-season, so the Oilers can’t underestimate the Canes’ ability to lose games.

The good news for the Oilers is that 17 of the Leafs’ final 29 games are at home. They are 9-10-5 at home, compared to their horrendous 8-16-5 road record. The Oilers have 18 road games remaining and with only seven wins in 21 road games the THIRST for FIRST is realistic.

Gagner improving

Sam Gagner might derail the train to #1 if he keeps playing like he has in the past ten games. He has four goals and nine points in the last ten games and it looks like he’s found his offensive game again.

Gagner had ten points in the first ten games this season, but only had eleven in the next 30 before getting hot again. Ideally for Oiler fans Gagner will keep playing well and gain more confidence, but the Oilers will keep losing.

The Oilers will need more than the first overall pick to turn their fortunes around, so young players like Gagner, Gilbert Brule and Andrew Cogliano need to keep improving if fans expect to see the playoffs before 2015.

Who would you keep?

With Mike Comrie set to return to the lineup this week I wonder who the Oilers will bring back next season out of Robert Nilsson, Patrick O’Sullivan or Comrie.

If you could only bring one player back who would you keep?

O’Sullivan at $2.9 million, Nilsson at $2 million or Comrie at $1.5 million?

Souray gives his list

Sheldon Souray has given the Oilers a list of teams he’d be willing to go to. I will say this about the situation. I spoke with Souray about the family angle and moving closer to his kids. He said that Edmonton was great because his children get to see their grandma, aunts and cousins when they come to Edmonton and no other city can match that.

He said he understand the situation and would be happy to stay in Edmonton, but also that a move could make sense for both sides. I think this is more of a hockey decision than a family one for Souray. His kids live in Las Vegas, and yes LA and San Jose are closer, but there is no extended family there.

Souray is not a dumb guy. He sees the landscape of this team, and considering he has a no movement clause until July 2nd (remember last year we learned that July 1st isn’t the actual day) why wouldn’t he submit a list?

I still say the Kings are the front runner and I know they are on the list. San Jose and Anaheim would be some other obvious destinations. And don’t rule out an Eastern based team. When you consider that you have to be at the airport two hours earlier, then clear customs for his kids to come to Canada, would the entire trip be much longer if they had to fly out east to see him? Probably very close.

  • Skidplate

    At this point, I think I would trade Visnovsky instead of Souray. Both guys bring special elements to the team, but in Souray we have a guy that is willing to stay in Edmonton and brings a mean streak with one heck of a shot.
    We drop Vis's contract and he would bring as much or maybe more than Souray would in a trade.

    • I havent heard nearly as many rumblings about Vis wanting out as I have heard about Souray. More importantly though, after 2 years I like what Ive seen from Lubo more than I like what Ive seen from Souray. I think Lubo has more to bring than Souray in terms of the complete package. If it were up to me, Vis would be the guy I build this team's Defense around. I just think that if the team follows through on the plan to go young then having a guy like Vis would be the prefect mentor for young d-men.

  • Skidplate

    Either Chorney is up due to the game tomorrow and Smid in not ready or the Souray deal gets done tomorrow or Wednesday. My guess is feeling is that Smid isn't ready but hoping he is OK, and the deal gets done tomorrow.

    One month to TDD!

  • DK0

    I think this sums up the Nilsson/Sully or Comrie debate:

    "A boat's a boat, but the mystery box could be anything! It could even be a boat! You know how much we wanted one of those!" – Peter Griffin

    and thus we will keep Nilsson and get rid of a proven scorer

  • papaburgundy

    This team is going nowhere fast and nothing will change because this organization will not change. Lowe will keep his buddies like Moreau, Pisani, Staios, Souray, and Gilbert and the team will be the same next year, minus maybe a veteran defenceman but the team will be virtually the same. Even if they do get the first pick, they may not take Hall and draft some guy from Slovakia that should be in the third round. I am now an ex-Oiler fan and am jumping on the Calgary Flames boat. They are an organization that will not tolerate losing and make the changes necessary to compete every year. The young players like Eberle and Hall (if somehow he were chosen by the Oilers) should and may come to their senses and once their rookie contracts are up, sign with a contender team like San Jose or Chicago. They will NEVER WIN A CUP HERE!!!!! so they should move on and do what's best for their careers. Good luck oiler fans, but don't waste your lives on a bunch of losers. Come to the realization that I have come to and pick another team to cheer for

      • papaburgundy

        Ummm….last time I checked, the Flames were in a playoff spot. Where are the Oilers? I believe 11 points out of 14th in the West. Yeah, good job Oilers!

          • papaburgundy

            Ok, so they are in 9th place, big deal. They are still in a spot to make the playoffs and they probably will. You can't say that about the Oilers so shut your pie hole. You are trying to stick up for a team that at the end of the day is not good enough to win and doesn't care about their performance or preparation. And you think that I am not paying attention!

          • I'm pretty critical of the current state of the Oil. If that means "sticking up" for the squad then I guess we are using different dictionaries.

            In any event, I am what people call a "fan". This means I cheer for my team even when they stink. I am not someone who went out and bought a pink Fernando Pisani jersey in 2006 because the team made an improbable cup run. I cringed when Steve Kelly turned out to be a bust. I cheered for Bucky and Marchant when the Oil made an improbable OT comeback against the Stars. I nearly killed my eye surgeon when he told me that my long scheduled Lasik operation would prevent me from watching game 7 in 2006 (I had to listen in darkness).

            People that talk about abaondoning "their" team in its darkest hour for one of its traditional rivals have no idea what it is like to be a real fan. At best you are a hockey enthusiast.

            FlamesNation needs some commenters so go hang out over there. It might be a bit lonely but at least you'll give RossCreek someone to talk to.

          • papaburgundy

            I was a 'real' fan of the Oilers since I was 4 years old and lived and breathed with the Oilers. I either watched (when on TV) or listened to the games even through the really bad seasons. That was before the salary cap and now all the teams are on an equal footing and the Oilers are still overpaying players and not drafting like the smart team. Management has had the opportunity to turn things around but Lowe and his management team keep maintaining the stauts quo and have no interest in making the Oilers a powerhouse team. I have played and watched hockey since I was very young and have a father who scouted for the WHL. Now, just because I don't drink the Oiler Kool-Aid, you say I am not a hockey fan. I expect the best from an organization and Oiler fans should be too. If they don't want to give me their best, why should they get my support? In professional sports, continuted losing is unacceptable and turning a blind eye to that for many years is insulting.

  • Milli

    the Flames…now that is funny!!! My Flames friends sound increasingly like canuck fans, there all talking now about battling us for the best pick!!!! A month ago, they where winning the cup, now, Iggy's gotta go!!!! GOLD, PURE GOLD!!!

  • papaburgundy

    If Team Canada had any guts they would leave Iggy off the team. The last thing they need this time is to bring 'star' players who can't score to this tourney like back in 2006.