You were expecting a dozen long-stemmed roses and perfume or perhaps a candlelight dinner and a corny poem scrawled on a note tucked in with the dessert. Oh, the seduction.
Instead, you got a fistful of $7.99 daisies from Save-On and a pack of express check-out Turtles. Big papa the Love Machine thought pulling on a clean pair of sweatpants before a quick trip to the drive-thru at DQ would put you in the mood for love. You’re pissed, and big papa ain’t getting any.
The latter is pretty much what the Edmonton Oilers served up to their long-suffering fans with a 4-0 loss to the Anaheim Ducks Sunday on the heels of a 5-3 loss to the pitiful Ottawa Senators Saturday — two mostly emotionless, half-assed displays that screamed "We don’t really care."
Affairs of the heart can turn ugly in a hurry, and the relationship between fans and the hockey team they have an emotional investment in certainly qualifies as that.
Given that GM Steve Tambellini and the rest of the front office has been whispering sweet nothings about rebuilding and "the process" in the ears of its fans and asking them to buy into it for some time, is it any surprise ticket buyers are feeling just a bit frosty today of all days after witnessing what they just saw over the last two games?
Not a bit.
TALK IS CHEAP
While much of what’s being said here and elsewhere is flat out over the top, I certainly understand the frustration that’s generating commentary with a distinct lover-scorned bent to it.
Twelve shots against the Ducks? Losing at home to the Sens, who haven’t been able to beat anybody outside their own city limits? A team that seems to be regressing rather building toward a climb back to contention we’re told could take four to six years? Four years — soon to be five — out of the playoffs and an effort like Sunday is going to fly with fans? No chance. No way. No how.
And please, fans who are actually calling for reason and cool heads today because losses are part of the deal — it sounds smart and superior to trot out that bit, but it isn’t — stow it. Losing is one thing. What the Oilers delivered Sunday, and Saturday for that matter, is quit another. That isn’t part of "the process" they signed up for.
If the Oilers want those who’ve bought in to the rebuild — the vast majority of fans here have been pretty reasonable about that, all things considered — then they’d better cut the sweet talk and come up with a fancy dinner or two and some real romance the rest of the season, starting tomorrow against the Dallas Stars.
Clean sweatpants and the drive-thru lane isn’t going to get Tambellini and the Oilers anything but the cold shoulder from fans if what we just saw isn’t nipped in the bud in a hurry and "the process" starts to make some sense. You can only sell hope so long.
There is something a lot worse than the fear and loathing fans have expressed today. It’s called indifference, and once a lover scorned goes down that road, history shows that it’s tough to rekindle that flame.
WHILE I’M AT IT . . .
— Dustin Penner said all the right things about being and staying in Edmonton the other day.
Call me a cynic, or Dave Mitchell even, but based on an opinion expressed in the press box by somebody I trust yesterday, I’d love to jab a syringe of truth-serum in Penner’s butt and take another run at how he feels between now and the trade deadline. I imagine we will.
Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.