The Dallas Stars wander into Rexall Place tonight with a record of 33-26-5, clinging to the 8th place in the Western Conference. They are mildly hot with a record of 5-3-2 in their past 10 games and players like Jamie Benn and Mike Ribiero are taking care of business as best they can given their inferior skills and dim wits.
The Oilers haven’t played a game with any real importance to the standings in what seems like hundreds of years. But that doesn’t really matter all that much to the OilersNation who are beside themselves with excitement to see the bulk of the lineup healthy and kicking some ass.
The epic playoff battles of the late 90s and early 00s this is not. But with the NUUUUUUGE, Eberle and or Hall in the lineup anything can happen including a 15-3 win tonight where the game is called after two periods invoking a rarely used mercy rule in the NHL.*
THE FICKLE GODS OF HOCKEY
We have several buddies who wring their hands and lament the Oilers injury woes in the past few seasons. “How is it that the Oil can have so many guys on the shelf at the same time?” they cry. “It seems as though the Gods of Hockey are still trying to crush Edmonton. What have we done to deserve this curse?”
Any team coming off back to back last place seasons and looking to follow up strongly with a bottom 3 finish this year would have a tough time making the case that they are anything less than abandoned by those on Mt. Olympus.
We can look to a variety of supernatural reasons why the Oilers have lost an amazing 6,456 man games per season to injury these last few years.** We can shake our fists to the sky and curse the Gods of Hockey for letting Hall get his coconut stepped on in warm up or blowing out the Nuge’s shoulder while he skated solo along the boards. We can blame them for Khabibulin and Souray and the curse of Pronger hanging over the squadron like a black cloud of suck.
But at some point the Oilers will manage to stay healthy as a team for a full season. And when that happens they will undoubtedly slingshot upwards in the standings leaving mouths hanging open all around the league. Then these same Gods we scream at in the middle of the night might start looking a bit kinder.
IT’S ALREADY STARTING
Where do the Oilers powerplay rank in the league? Would you believe they are in 1st? FIRST PLACE? When is the last time the 29th place team in the league had a powerplay that hot? In 1946. That long ago.*** And the penalty killing is currently sitting in 14th place which is a damn sight better than it used to be back in the dark days.
What if all of the bizarre injuries, holdouts, refusals to sign with the team that we have been so loudly cursing as the Gods of Hockey forsaking us these past few years were actually these same Gods hooking it up big time in Edmonton?
Will bloggers years from now ask “now how on Earth did the first season of Eberle and Hall playing together result in the Oilers drafting the Nuge first overall? How did Eberle finish top 10 in league scoring, the Nuge win the Calder and yet the Oilers still picked (insert stud D here) in the top 5 next year?"
How did they get so lucky?
THATS THEN WHAT ABOUT NOW?
Tonight’s game probably won’t be remembered in a year.The Oil are playing far too well to have a chance to catch the Shitanusly Bad CBJ who currently sit at 45 measly points, 9 points back of the Mighty Oil. Fate has already dealt us our hand for the 2011-12 season and ain’t no game 64 gonna change that no time soon.
Having eloquently said that though Los Nuge has been stealthily awesome since his return from the IR and the other big two are rolling along too. Gagner remains hot and ever since Nick Schultz declared "there are lots of sexy players on this team" in his opening press conference we have enjoyed watching him play. It ain’t all bad in Oil City.
The Stars on the other hand need this game as they are in a dogfight to squeak into the playoffs. The Oil have the chance to play spoiler to a variety of mediocre teams for the remainder of the season before vaulting into the upper echelon of the league.
Sending the Stars home with a loss would be a good start tonight.
USE ME UP
Stupid Landeskog was named Rookie of the Month in February according to the often wrong NHL.com website. This is going to stop as the NUUUUUUUUGE returns to the lineup on the regular and begins showing all those old jackasses what a rookie really looks like.
Nuge wins the Calder. You read it here first.
FACT CHECKING FOOTNOTES
*That’s a rule. Look it up.
**Actual stat, we looked it up on a website you have never heard of.
*** Actual stat too, though you might find some bunk source of information that will claim it has happened since.