GDB LXVI: SENS AND OIL

The unending roller coaster of emotion takes another twist tonight, as the Oilers go looking for their third consecutive win against the Ottawa Senators. Every win of late elevates the level of concern amongst fans that the Oilers might finish 29th, lose the lottery and end up drafting 3rd and miss out on Tyler Seguin or Taylor Hall.

It has been a very, very strange season that has gotten Oilers Fans to the point where the last thing anyone wants is a win. It goes against every natural instinct of being a fan, yet here at the Nation the interest level hasn’t wavered. Visitors to the site have actually increased in this season of futility and that just re-enforces how good of a hockey city Edmonton is.

In a season where the Oilers leadership has been questioned, and rightfully so, I find it interesting that the Nation’s supposed leader amongst the fans has become invisible. The 100 different Ogdens still show up on an hourly basis, Archaeologuy, Nate, Pokey Reddick, BS and JS, David S and all the readers who never post, still find a way to drag their beaten-down carcass to their computer screen, yet Wanye has become as rare as a hot-girl at Rexall on a Sunday home game.

WHERE’S WANYE?

Before I continue to call out Wanye, I should mention that I actually phoned him up a few days ago to yell at him in person. I originally thought he had become one of the bandwagon jumpers he gets so mad about and had just stopped caring about the team.

It was an even funnier surprise to find out he is just so dejected and furious at the team that he claims to have a case of writers block. I asked him if he still watches the team play and he replied that he still watches every second of every game, but is just too "emotional" to be able to write anything funny these days. He actually sounded like he needed an intervention of some sort, truth be told.

I’ll start by calling BS.

Hey Wanye? What happened to the three BL’s you’d drink every game? What about the grade one caliber artwork? Or how about calling out the other team, or rambling on about how Robert Nilsson will become a productive force?

Wanye: you have abandoned your flock of lambs at a time they needed your kool-aid filled glasses of Oilers juice more than ever.

You’d think that the trading of your goat, Denis Grebeshkov, would have produced an epic article filled with anecdotes that indeed March 1st was the day the Oilers became a winner again. But the only time you appear is with a half-ass post in the comments section.

Grebeshkov even takes a shot in the nards that required surgery and still you said nothing. You must really be suffering. Has this season finally worn you down? If so, suck it up and show up. You ask the Oiler players to produce; shouldn’t the OilersNation expect the same from you?

TONIGHT’S TILT

Back to the action on the ice. Can the Oilers actually win three straight? They might win five considering their next three games are against Northeast opponents. The Oil is 2-2-1 v. the NE, beating the Habs and Leafs at home, losing to the Bruins and Sabres on the road, and they picked up a point in Ottawa with a shootout loss on November 10th. The Oilers are 7-7-1 v. the East, compared to an ugly 14-31-5 record v. the west.

If the Oilers have a good week against Ott, Mont and Tor, don’t fret, after Saturday their remaining 14 games are against the west, so they should remain in the hunt for Seguin or Hall. There will be no lineup changes for the Oilers, because they only have 18 healthy skaters.

Ryan Jones is out for the year and Ethan Moreau is still out with a sore neck. Expect the Oilers to recall a player when they head out east. Chris Minard seems like a likely candidate. Daniel Alfredsson will return tonight after missing a game due to the flu, and Brian Elliot will start in goal for the Sens. The Horcoff/Penner/Pisani line should see a lot of the Michalek/Spezza/Alfredsson combo tonight.

KHABIBULIN APPEARS

Nikolai Khabibulin made an appearance today, but he didn’t talk much about his impending court case in Phoenix for drunk driving. “I have been advised by legal counsel that until everything is resolved I can’t talk about it, sorry,” said Khabibulin.

No surprise that Khabibulin didn’t elaborate on the charge, but he did say his back is feeling better and he hopes to get on the ice before the season ends to work on some technical parts of his game. He won’t get into any game action, but the doctors are happy with his progress and he is confident he’ll be ready for next season.