The advice in the proverb "Never look a gift horse in the mouth", is that when given a present, be grateful for your good fortune and don’t look for more by examining it to assess its value.
Right now how many of you are wondering WTH is happening with your Oilers? A better question is how many of you aren’t in total shock?
I understand after more than two decades of being average, below average and plain awful, many of you probably aren’t sure how to handle the Oilers’ early-season success.
If you weren’t around during the ’80s when the Oilers were consistently good, you might want to ask your father or mother how to deal with a winning team, because if you are 30 and under you likely haven’t experienced that feeling. Sure you might have been six or eight when they won their last Cup, but do you remember who scored the OT goal in game four of the Smythe division final over the Kings?
If you don’t you likely don’t really know what a winning team is.
Don’t fret you are likely in the majority.
Most of you experienced 2006, but that was a two month run. It was a shock, you weren’t used to success, hell even your friends, who aren’t hockey fans, got caught up in the euphoria of 2006. Winning regularly is a different phenomenon.
The last time the Oilers won more games than they lost/tied was in 1988. That’s right 22 freaking years since you’ve been able to say your team won more than they lost. In 2006 and 2008 they won 41 games to go .500, but that’s as close as they’ve come.
It is still early, but the Oilers are actually playing well. They aren’t winning by fluke. Yes they got a lucky bounce on Ryan Smyth’s goal last night, but we’ve all heard "Good to be lucky, lucky to be good." You need a bit of both, and right now the Oilers are playing well.
Did the Kings have one great scoring chance that hit the net last night? I can’t remember one.
ENJOY IT DON’T QUESTION IT
There will be lots of time to critique and question why the Oilers are losing, but right now it is hard to find many glaring weaknesses. Mostly we are watching things no one expected.
- The Oilers special teams have been great. The PP is 10th at 19.2, and they’ve had the 7th most PP opportunities.
- The PK is even better, sitting 5th at 88.2%.
- They are the only team in the league surrending fewer than two goals a game. The Oilers are only allowing 1.33/game. LA and Minny are next at 2.00, so they are significantly better than anyone else at the moment.
- Tom Gilbert is playing physical. He isn’t Scott Stevens, but he manhandled Dustin Penner last night and threw a heavy hit in the 3rd. He looks like a well-rounded D-man right now. Coloured me shocked.
- Smyth is off to his best start ever. He had a career-high 70 points in 2001, and while it is early, he’s on pace for 75 points. Most of us were expecting him to return home and show the kids how to give a consistent, solid effort every night, but not necessarily be in the top-two in scoring. He’s looked possessed so far.
- Nikolai Khabibulin is playing….I can’t even accurately describe how much different he looks this year. Fans are chanting his name at Rexall, which shows how truly ridiculous his turnaround has been.
The great debate for the next few days will be who does Tom Renney sit down when Ales Hemsky returns. Last night a few tweeps suggested the Oilers shouldn’t play him until they lose. I know the Oilers are playing great, but if Hemsky is healthy he plays on my team.
If Renney was basing his decision on merit, then one of Sam Gagner, Magnus Paajarvi or Eric Belanger would be coming out, but I’m not sure he will do that. The 4th line played very well last night, and they’ve done exactly what Renney wants from them. They rarely get scored on, bring some energy and most importantly they don’t turn the puck over.
With every passing game the decision on who to sit becomes more intriguing, and is one of the few things Oiler fans will disagree on.
WOMEN OF THE WEEK
The Oilers have won six in a row, so say hello to six eye catchers, and since the ladies of the Nation asked so politely maybe even something for them….
She was voted #6 in AskMen’s top 99 sexiest women. Cheryl Cole is an English R&B singer and a model.
I watched Underworld last week and how can anyone, guy or girl, not like Kate Beckinsale in her black outfit.
It is great to have the Jets back in the league, but we should always remember the great contribution the Thrashers made to the NHL.
The Oilers aren’t the only surprise in the Western Conference. The Dallas Stars are off to a great start, and they had over 200 ladies try out for their Ice Girls team. Congrats to those who made the cut.
Ask and you shall receive lady readers of the Nation….According to my guest male photo selector, Sarah, ladies think Miguel Iglesias is a looker.
Kelly Brook was #1 in FHM 100 Sexiest women in the World in 2005. She dipped as low as #69 in 2009, but rebounded to #7 in 2010. Just like Smyth has rebounded in Edmonton, Brook showed you she also can become a fan favourite once again. Kudos Kelly.