Traditions are traditionally something that occur over and over and over again. Christmas. Easter. Your weird uncle telling the same three stories after a few scotches at every family gathering since the mid 90s. You come to count on them. You stand behind them. You guarantee them.
And so goes the annual goat selection here at OilersNation.
WHAT IS A GOAT?
Many many moons ago we used to sit around with our buddies and discuss the Oilers at extreme length over poker games of extreme length. Blame would be showered on 91% of the lineup on any given night only to have the same buddies declare their undying love for the same players they were dissing the night before.
It got annoying and as the seasons ran on and the Oilers floated gently to the bottom of the league floor we decided that all the negativity needed to be contained and the braintrust of the boys decided to name a goat. The goat is the player that you blame for everything that goes wrong.
Ales Hemsky whiffs one? Damn the Goat for passing him the puck in such an off tempo manner. Oh it wasn’t the Goat that passed him the puck? Damn his poor positional play causing a hurried pass. Goat boy wasn’t on the ice for the whiff? Curse his bench sitting technique all to hell!
Now should your Goat actually cause some sort of unfortunate incident on the ice? Now you’re talking! Friends witnessing the gaffe will often look to you and say “good call going with ___ as your Goat this season. That guy is twelve shades of shit.” You can then sit back, smug in your predictory skills, almost taking pleasure at the brutalness of Senor Goato.
This is the way we pass the winter Nation. Until we figure out a way to keep Edmonton 24 degrees year round, this is the best we can do.
Ah 2009 Wanye. How precious you were back then. If we could only go back in time and tell you what was on the horizon in your life wearing #14 and needing only to flash a single gap toothed smile to melt your heart.
WHO HAVE BEEN PREVIOUS GOATS?
The pantheon of previous Goaterati reads like a who’s who of crap. Theo Peckham, Tom Gilbert, Denis Grebeshkov (2x) Nikolai Khabibulin. They are generally overpaid, completely unsexy and whipping boys for yet another season gone awry.
We try and limit our goats to players who are paid to be impact players, expected to be impact players, projected to be impact players yet do little to help our beloved Oilers climb out of the nearly decade long hole in which they are plugged.
There is no sense naming a fourth line player or a prospect a goat. What do you expect from the guy? He is doing his best to remain in the lineup. He should be celebrated for trying to overcome long odds not heaped with scorn. For this reason ol’ goatie McGrebs will be spared a record third year of being named our goat.
No Grebs its impressive that you have somehow found your way back to our remote Canadian outpost from whatever frozen Russian outpost you have been at for the past while. We wish you nothing but luck in your quest to return to the NHL. Should you land a roster spot and sign a long term deal you will be back on blast.
But for now – good luck.
AND THE WINNER IS
We see you there Jeff. Wearing the ol’ Boris Mironov #2 special. Growing out your hair to look like your presumed hero Tom Gilbert. You play a lot like Tom Gilbert too – soft as a tub of margarine left in the sun in a town square in Yemen on the hottest day of the summer.
Yeah Jeff – you are exactly like that.
Do you know where your hero Tom Gilbert is playing now? Exactly. No one knows. He hasn’t been heard from in months. And if you don’t start to turn the corner and cash in on all of your promise you too will be on isolation island just like your best friend Tom.
You had 5 whole points and went dash 12 last year in 35 games Jeff. That’s absurd. Get ready for a year of scorn from your ol’ pal Wanye.
Please name your goat in the comments below and explain why he or she is the worst player in the history of organized sport.
Thursday is star day.