Gregor asked your ol’ pal Wanye to handle the GDB today on account of the fact he is "handing out hampers to less fortunate Edmonton families today." If there is ever a reason to bang out a 400 word article for a guy in a pinch, this has to be it.
But be forewarned we aren’t in any mood to objectively look at this Oilers squadron and find a way to suggest they are going to win.
Nor are we in a mood to serve up another triple helping of negativity. We have had our fill of that too of late.
And so we will take a third approach to this GDB. We try and take the temperature of our fellow Oilers fans to see where all of our heads are at on the 32nd game of the year.
THE GLASS IS HALF FULL
On the one hand we are living in a world where three Oilers are in the top 30 in scoring in the NHL. The last time this happened we were enrolled in elementary school, Jason Gregor had a full head of hair and Rexall Place was considered a state-of-the-art facility capable of hosting Oilers hockey well into the next century.
3 guys in the top 30? Two of them are under 22? There is another Super Sophmore that isn’t on the list because he was hurt?
Some folks will tell you that this is more than enough joy for a team that is coming off back to back last place seasons in the NHL. "Rome wasn’t built in a day" they will say, looking to the distant horizon – presumably dreaming about Rome.
For the glass is half full camp, there is nothing to be concerned about here. Nothing – not even another season on the outside looking in at the playoffs – can reverse the progress made or diminish the potential of this team in the next decade.
THE GLASS IS HALF EMPTY
Even those who count themselves among the pessimistic group of Oilers fans are in far better shape than they were a couple of years ago. We aren’t exactly trying to pretend that Patrick O’Sullivan will be a servicable NHL player for years to come anymore.
You can’t find a fan or critic anywhere that will try and diminish the impact Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall and MC NUUUUUUUGE have already had on the NHL and most won’t even try and put a wet blanket on what they are capable of doing in their careers.
No, for the Glass is half empty crowd it is precisely because the Oilers are laden with this impossible bounty of freshly minted talent that this season is so frustrating. "How can you go from first to worst in such fashion? Where are the veteran leaders paid to guide these sophmores and rookies through the turbulent waters of an NHL season? Why are the Captains and Assistants sitting around waiting for the Kids to do something on most nights?"
Make no mistake – Daryl "Kay-Z" Katz is going to need a winner to sell out this new building due to arrive in 2023. Say what you want about the silent owner, he didn’t become a Billionaire by overpaying under delivering staff along the way.Sooner or later something will give if things don’t improve.
You can bet on it.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN?
It is impossible to predict the future. Unless you are the people who made the video above back in the 1960s. At that point it seems it was entirely possible to predict the future with stunning accuracy.
What if this isn’t simply a losing streak? What if the Oilers miss the playoffs for the sixth year in a row? Can Steve Tambellini really expect long term employment when his team will have failed so miserably under his watch?
Can his phasers be permanently set to "assessing" before someone is going to ask what he is doing exactly to earn his paycheque? How many years in a row can he ignore the pressing need to improve in size and grit on both the front and back ends?
Are third and fourth defensemen so hard to find that we can’t hope to bring another one in to Edmonton in any reasonable timeline? Is Ales Hemsky going be left to rot on the vine until he has injury-plagued his disinterest into half of the market value he was worth a few years ago?
What will become of our favourite NHL Ice Hockey Squadron?
The Oilers finally tweeted their lineup a few minutes ago:
No D pairings have been tweeted and if the starting goalie has been announced we haven’t seen it.
How’s that for some inside information?