Tonight is like a playoff game for Oiler fans. Win and the Oilers can unofficially,
scratch that, OFFICIALLY, eliminate the Calgary Flames from playoff contention. The past two seasons have been excruciatingly tough to stomach, yet Rexall Place has been sold out every night. I know the Oilers are understaffed and are playing with three 3rd lines and a 4th line tonight, but the players must recognize what a win would mean to the fans.
A true Oiler fan despises the Flames.
You loathe them.
They disgust you.
Adhor sits at the edge of your tongue when you see a Flames jersey, and for the love of hockey the Oilers better SHOW UP tonight.
You’ve watched 106 Oiler losses — yes 106, because if you don’t win it is a loss regardless of the pity point — the past two years. I know one win won’t make up for all the tears Wanye, Ender, Horcsky, K-Lowe, Kodiak, JSBW, Chris, Tambo, Bookie, OBI, Dakin, Bucknuck, Bucky, Quicksilver, Debbie, Archguy, Sammy, Joey, Chris, Peter, Homie, Rindog, Nate, Boris, Dennis, Darryl, Sara, Christine, John, Paul, George, Ringo and the rest of the Nation have shed the past two years, but I’ll bet watching an Oiler win and putting the final nail in the "Flames playoff-hopes" coffin would feel almost orgasmic at this point.
Clearly Tom Renney realizes the magnitude of the game, because he pulled out the blender and came up with the following lines hoping they can somehow score more than one goal tonight:
The defence stays the same and Devan Dubnyk starts in goal.
EIGHT THOUGHTS IS ENOUGH
- Rob Blake will be the Asst. GM for Canada at the upcoming World Championships and when I asked him which Oilers would be considered he said Jordan Eberle, Shawn Horcoff and Taylor Hall if the latter two are healthy. Devan Dubnyk went last year as the 3rd goalie, and could possibly be invited back again. I wonder when Oiler fans will realize that despite his overpriced salary, Horcoff is a good NHL player. Get past the salary. He would be a 2nd line centre on many teams, and a high end third on rare teams like Det, Pitt, Phi, Van, and Chi. Horcoff isn’t flashy and won’t be a top-end scorer, but his overall game is appreciated by many scouts and opposing teams.
- I spoke with an Edmonton city police officer after the Rush game last night. I was stunned to hear that on a regular Saturday night Oiler home game there is normally eight fans kicked out of the arena, for being to drunk or fighting, and when Calgary is in town that number almost doubles. If you are going to the game, cheer loud, have fun chirping opposing fans, but act like a human being. I’ve never understood fans who think they have to fight to show loyalty to their team/jersey.
- Henrik Lundqvist has found his game again and the Rangers are 8-1-1 in their last ten. I think they will pass Montreal and finish 6th and face Boston in the 1st round. If Lundqvist stays hot in the playoffs the Bruins could be primed for an upset. The Habs could easily finish 8th with Buffalo and NYR playing well, and they’d get steamrolled by the Flyers in round one.
- You aren’t a sports fan if you weren’t intrigued watching the Florida State and Virginia Commonwealth game last night. VCU had to play a "play-in" game just to get in the tourney, and after last night’s thrilling 72-71 OT win they are in the Elite Eight. A few years back Gary Bettman casually threw out the possibility of expanding the playoffs to 20 teams and having a similar "play-in" style. After watching VCU, I wonder if the NHL should try it? Would you be for or against a possible best-of-three series between the 7th/10th seeds and 8th/9th?
- It has only been a few games, but Teemu Hartikainen has impressed me. He won’t win any style points for skating, but he can get to the puck and his size is intriguing. I’m hesitant to get too excited about him, because I question whether I really like his game or I just like the fact the Oilers have a winger with some size who hits. I’ll need to see more games from him before pencilling him in as a roster player next year, but I’ve liked what I’ve seen so far.
- Colin Fraser has been ripped all year, and he’s deserved some of it, but Ryan O’Marra and Chris Vande Velde haven’t been much better since coming up; at least not yet. These final ten games should allow O’Marra and Vande Velde to recognize what areas of their game they need to improve on over the summer. I’ll be curious to see how they look at training camp next season. It is rare that young players get a chance to test themselves in the NHL and find out first hand how much better they need to become to stick in the Show. One of the few positives from all the injuries is that guys like 42, 54, 56 and 58 get a chance to experience just how good the NHL is, while allowing them to see and experience the weaknesses in their game. They should all be much more prepared to battle for a roster spot next September.
- How many of you watched Ryan Nugent-Hopkins last night? He scored two goals in sixty-six seconds late in the 3rd to give the Rebels a 5-3 lead, and he also had two assists. It was only one game, but what a great statement by the 17-year-old. If i’m you, I try to make it out to watch him live at Rexall on Monday or Thursday night.
- Thank goodness I’ll be in the seats tonight and not watching at home. I’m not a fan of the late-night CBC crew.
GOING DOWN IN FLAMES?
GAME DAY PREDICTION: I’m not sure if it is even possible, but I’m calling the Oilers 3-2. I’ll admit it; I can’t stand Calgary and this is clearly a pick influenced by emotion rather than common sense. If Tom Brady can dump one hottie, and impregnate another at the same time and still come across as a good guy, then the Oilers can win tonight.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Paul Lorieau will get an extra long ovation after it was announced earlier this week that he’ll be retiring at the end of the season. At least one poster will be pissed that his/her name wasn’t included in the list, and will post about it. Don’t be offended it was off-the-top-of-my-head list.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: A loyal Oilernation reader will win the 50/50 tonight. Upon winning the $31,964 he will post on the Nation that beers are on him at On The Rocks after the game. Immediately everyone will vacate the Nation posts, except Baggedmilk, because he doesn’t have a car and spent his cab fare on an on-line auction for an alleged pair of Britney Spears panties. BM replies to his own comments for the final ten minutes of the game, and mocks those going to OTR because he will have Brit’s panties by Monday. On Tuesday’s game v. LA, BM is MIA in the posts because he is in the hospital after trying to parachute from his balcony. He got Brit’s panties monday night, but when he opened them they were size 48 granny panties. Rather than waste them he tried to use them as a parachute while hoping to get on the next version of Jackass. Meanwhile Wanye and The Scientist are overheard laughing about the pair of panties they bought at value village and used in a prank…Coincidence??? You decide.
***I recycled this NOAGDP, but changed the dates and $ value of the 50/50. Someone from the Nation deserves to win, and since an Oiler win is like winning the lottery right now I thought it was fitting.***