GDB 14.0 EXPECTATIONS

 

As promised the 2012 Lockout has condensed the 2013 season and put ‘er on FF. Normally as Oilers fans we are entitled to at least several weeks of unreasonable optimism, followed by about a month or so where we are confused and perplexed about the team. Are they underachieving? Is the performance we are seeing legitimate given the talent the team has? Then we turn on each other for a month or two and then finally invent snazzy acronyms for being in last place.

But with the lockout shortened season this annual dance has been compressed and months have become weeks. Weeks have turned into days. Days become seconds. It’s all happening so fast.

THE POWER OF EXPECTATION

We all have one buddy who is the eternal optimist. No matter how bad things may get the guy just has that rosy expectation that things are going to turn out ok. And often as not that is exactly what happens. We have a buddy who is like this particularly when it comes to gambling.

He will walk into a casino and expect to leave up on the night. It’s just in his DNA that on the odd night when his old lady lets him go out sans leash he is going to walk away up a fat stack and then will spend the next few weeks telling us how he has spent the money secretly without the Missus finding out.

Others may sit at the blackjack table with him getting bad hands. "I never win" they will mutter under their breath. "This dealer is crooked. I can’t believe casinos are legal." As the night goes on they will come up with a million different reasons for why it is impossible to win at the tables.

And all the while our buddy will keep his mouth shut, brimming with secret positivity. If he loses a few hands – fine. If the dealer makes 21 off of a 6 and screws the entire table that’s ok too. Even if he has to make a few trips to the ATM in the process he is still completely confident he is walking away at some point up on the night.

And he always does.

EXPECT TO WIN

As it goes with a guy who can’t help but make a few hundy at the casino so goes it with professional athletes. Confidence is a big part of the game and an overriding belief that you are going to win goes a long way to being a winning team.

A team that is now this stocked with talented Super Kids has a major dose of individual confidence. Guys like Taylor Hall or Ryan Nugent-Hopkins didn’t dominate through minor and junior hockey ranks by being fatalists. They operate on the base assumption that they are going to win – just like our buddy at the casino.

Organizationally the Oilers have about as much confidence as Lindsay Lohan on Oscar nominations day* We can’t imagine what thoughts rattle around in Steve Tambellini’s head while he assesses the situation for the 6907th game in a row but we can’t think its "now with a couple more pieces added to the puzzle it’s playoff time for Steve!"

Hardly. He has shown us beyond a shadow of a doubt that he lacks the confidence to make any major moves and put himself at the risk of being crucified by fans and media alike for doing the wrong thing. He continues to sit and be fit.

THE TRANSITION TO WINNING

 

Part of the transition of this club away from the Shitanusly Bad Hockey Era (2007-2012) is removing all of the negative nancies in the room and moving towards the swagger that seeps from the pores of 4, 14, 19, 64 and 93. Think that the Nuge considers himself to be crappy now that he has been cold for a couple weeks? Please. Think King Jordan of Eberle lies awake at night surrounded by naked sleeping supermodels wondering if he will ever score again? As if.

This team is loaded to the rafters with world class talent. The pieces that need to be added – a couple role players here – a couple upgrades on the back end there – are waaaaaay easier to find than the Fab 5 that will be lacing them up for the Oil for the next 15 years.

Expectations cannot be lowered. Period.

Ask teams like Columbus and the Isles what happens when expectations are lowered and the belief in winning is snuffed out. You sit at the bottom of the league and never ever leave. Think Scott Howson came to work every day looking for ways to make big moves to get the team out of the basement? Nope.

Winners win. Losers lose. Excuses in the long run are just that. If you are paid by Kay-Z to play or work for this club and you  don’t think you can make the playoffs with every fibre of your being you gotta go. Yesterday.

GAME DAY VS AVS

The Oilers (5-5-3) play the Colorado Avalanche (5-6-1) tonight. A team with high expectations for its season – say the lofty goal of being the 8th best team in the Western Conference – looks to a game like this with an opponent below them in the standings as a night to score some goals and walk away with a win. The Avs are 4-5-1 in their last 10 games and there is nothing going on in Colorado that would suggest that the Mighty Oil can’t break out against them tonight.

Dubnyk is starting in the next for the Oil and the lines are as follows courtesy of the Oilers twitter feed:

Hall-Nuge-Eberle

Hartikainen-Gagner-Hemsky

Smyth-Belanger-Yakupov

Eager-Vandevelde-Petrell

Whitney-Petry

Schultz-Schultz

Smid-Fistric

IN CLOSING

Leave your game day predictions in the comments below. We predict only one thing: the Oilers win. Seriously.

*ZING!

**ZING!

  • Pharmboy

    I like the look of the forth line, should have some good energy. I too dislike Yakupov on the third line, he won’t see much ice time there if Belanger and Smyth have to kill a lot of penalties. I wish they could find a few more opportunities to play him with Nuge on the power play, set up the one-timer we haven’t seen enough of yet.

    • DSF

      yeah i feel they should give him some 1 PP unit time and tell him to post up for the one timer.

      the oilers havent had this kind of depth with good hockey players in a long time. yakupov is going to be a superstar but we finally have the depth to ease him into the role like boston did with tyler seguin, san jose did with logan couture and what the oilers did with jordan eberle. He only 19 and looks like a typical 1st overall pick, sort of all over the place with flashes of brilliance. look what 1st line duty has done for RNH. last year you would see him send a pass through 2 players legs and hit hall or eberles tape. he hasnt looked as good this year but it might have something to do with his shoulder. i hope if hes injured he goes for surgery now instead of what they did with hall last year.

      • paul wodehouse

        i remember that Darrell but i was never one of them …EVER…MacT has hockey acumen suited well to be the GM of this club imo…your Tambeloni ( ya i know sounds like a sandwich meat ) is a feckless oaf who has squandered opportunities to make this team a contender and for any number of reasons has survived in spite of his incompetence…now apart from DSF being a Hall of Fame troll please never refer to him and any inference to me in a sentence from this point on in time …thankyou

        • O.C.

          Sincere apologies – I would not compare any of my Oiler brothers to DSF and here was my thought. I am far from a Tambo fan but have grown tired of starting from scratch as the solution. We may be one Management move away from the goal but have to be ready as its our last option for any excuses.

          Once again, I apologize and would NEVER compare you to DSF as I can’t stand him and everything he stands for …. Cheers brother

    • MattyFranchise

      4-3 Shootout win. Gagner with the shootout winning goal and assist. Eager pots a dirty one, Whitney, and RNH with the other. Oilers are outplayed and outshot 39-25. Powerplay is better and goes 2-6. Penalty kill gives up one but is generally solid reducing Colorado’s shots to the outside. Whitney scores on a slapper 5×5, but gets benched late do to poor gap control. Eager finishes the nite an assist short of the Gordie, however gets the Eager hat-trick with a goal and fight, and some penalty box boobies. RNH scores on a rebound after Hall and Ebs drive the play to the nite, and he bounces off a defender goes low blocker ala Joe Sakic. Dubby lets in a softy because of a bad angle on a 2-2, however its Whitney’s fault as he lets the forward walk in, The other two are deflections and one should of been goalie interference.

      Krueger benches Hemsky and Yakupov for too many neutral zone turnovers, but they don’t care cause their boonies in the penalty box area tonight, and that makes everyone happy.

      And Ref’s stink and the crowd goes into full on BS chant for the second time this year after a series of four second period Col PP’s and a goal being called off. A hotdog manages to hit a Linesmen square in the temple and the other Linesman falls on his ars trying to pick it up. The crowd roars in laughter.

  • Stack Pad Save

    Interesting to see a Smid-Fistric D-pairing. They must be going out their with the mandate to hurt people, because they surely cannot be going out there with the purpose to move the puck gracefully.

    I don’t like that Paajarvi is out, I thought he was playing a much better game then Hartikienen.

    Prediction: Oilers win 4-2

    OGDP: Smyth scores

    NSOGDP: The other Ryan scores