GDB 58: Where The Oilers Play Everybody’s Favourite Team

2011-12 has, to a large extent, been like the two seasons preceding it. The Oilers have iced some good young talent. The team has had a bunch of obvious weaknesses that were obvious weaknesses in the summer, and has suffered for not addressing them in a satisfactory manner. And meaningful games were more or less finished by the time the Christmas break rolled around.

There are, however, exceptions. Judging by what fans here and elsewhere have told me, a game against the Vancouver Canucks is always a meaningful game.

I’ve always had a soft spot for the Canucks, personally. My dad’s a Canucks fan, and has been for his entire life. Unlike a lot of fans, for who last year’s finals appearance was the only one they remember, my dad has seen three – 1982, 1994 and 2011. He’s never seen them win it all, and when I think about a long-suffering fan who has been through the tough years, my dad comes to mind.

(I took after my mom, who fell in love with the Oilers during the dynasty years.)

Still, my dad isn’t the image most people have in mind when they think of Canucks fans. The Stanley Cup riots, and the perception that many fans are indifferent people jumping on a trendy bandwagon have given even good hockey fans a bad name.

It’s one of the reasons that people tell me they like to see the Canucks lose. Others commonly mentioned are the Bertuzzi/Moore incident, the Cooke/Ruutu years, and the current peskiness of players like Burrows, Kesler and Lapierre. Whether or not it’s a deserved reputation, there’s no denying that the Canucks are not a team well-loved on the whole by other Canadian fans.

The Status Quo

According to associate coach Ralph Krueger, the Oilers will roll with the same group up front and on the back end as they did against Colorado. From the official website:

"(Corey) Potter and (Theo) Peckham are both really close and they could in an emergency be put in, so that’s going forward, but tonight we’ll go with the same defencemen and the same forwards.”

Also according to the official site, Nikolai Khabibulin will get the start in net. This isn’t a surprise after a weak performance by Devan Dubnyk against the Avalanche.

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers will come out fired up, but the Canucks will dominate the play.  Khabibulin will have a great night, and the Oilers will force overtime but lose 3-2 in the extra frame.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Two of the Canucks’ goals will come off Cam Barker giveaways, while Jordan Eberle will score one for the Oilers.

NOT-SO-OBVIOIUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The camera will turn to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in the press box, where we’ll see him paying rapt attention as Darcy Hordichuk gestures wildly and makes insane faces.  It will turn out that Hordichuk, just like Jason Strudwick, has a few Krzysztof Oliwa stories that he was sharing with the Oilers’ rookie.

  • oilman3

    Oiler fans, good news for you! Columbus is only 9 points back of you guys! Keep this losing going and hope for some Columbus wins and you’re looking at a three-peat!

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    I have defended Horcoff’s rep numerous times over the last few years, but he just keeps getting worse. Nice finish on Smytty’s feed, but otherwise awful.
    Also, does Barker have club feet?

  • Slapshot

    We might as well start cheering for a three peat and hope we end up with the 1st pick again this year!!! Watching these last two games really puts things into perspective,we are going to be watching this type of hockey for a few more years. (Brutal!!!!)

  • a lg dubl dubl

    Know what the worst of it is?Not only was I at the game, and had to endure another horrible start with the away fans drowning out the home fans cause there’s nothing, just NOTHING going on, and the gap between the Canucks and the O is so huge that I don’t EVER see it closing, not only that but I sell my extra ticket before the game to a scalper for 40 bucks and here two minutes in and already down 1-0 and being outshot 10-2, a big ol’ Canuck fan in a big ol’ Kesler Jersey sits down beside me, and I’m ready to have another in a long series of wasted nights, and you know what the worst of it is??? He turns out to be a decent dude. I can’t even have the satisfaction of hating all Canucks fans anymore. He’s comforting me (“It’s ok, man you guys look like we did a couple of years ago, you’ll be ok, man”), he’s modest (“Man, the twins used to get pushed off the puck so easy, your kids are way ahead of them at this stage”), he’s humble (“man, I was downtown for the riots last year, 80 % of Canuck fans are bandwagon jumping aholes..”). We end up having a decent time, and he even laughs when I tell him the scalper made a 150 buck profit on his ticket. And, I confess, I even said “Good luck with your team” at the end of it. Now I feel worse than terrible. We suck, and I can’t even let the hate of all things Canuck cheer me up. Crap. I’m going to bed.

  • Slapshot

    Oh, and for those of us who are going to get beaked at by canucks fans tomorrow, a five-point guide to shutting them up:

    #1: I can’t hear you, my ears still ring from those five stanley cup celebrations.

    #2: Mark Messier. Anything to do with him.

    #3: If the canucks fan actually gets that reference, tell them we’ll trade them smytty for his leadership. And that the canucks are going to strip Sedin of the captaincy. Oh, and Smytty decided he likes #16, so they’re unretiring Linden’s number.

    #4: Go totally scorched-earth and tell the canucks fan that you hope Burrows (Kesler, whoever) takes up motorcycle riding this summer. (Know your audience before you use that one, it’s pretty offside).

    #5: http://mit.zenfs.com/206/2011/04/61019026.jpg

    • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

      pretty sad list when your top 2 items go back so many years.

      Here is your new list:

      1) it isnt 1988 anymore

      2) dont fight the suck, embrace it.

  • A lot of my family lives on the west coast and I still hate them(Canucks). Canucks and the Leafs For the for the favoritism by the league and the national broadcasters.And I dont like the Flames because of the rivalry.But I would never make a comment about motorbike riding that would be as classless as a van city rioter