THE SEASON AHEAD

Sitting around with the team at NationHQ the conversation never veers far from our beloved Oilers. "Ever hear of the Oilers?" we will often muse aloud to an empty room. "Remember the time they went to the Cup Finals in 2006?"

At this point a tumbleweed or something equally forlorn will roll down the centre of the office and we will go back to playing Clash of Clans, misty eyed with memories of a better time.

But things are starting to pick up around here. Full time staffers are starting to increase, there are ever more people showing up to work. And we get to have actual conversations with actual people. It’s all very exciting you see. Like an elderly Fred Durst in the song above – we are ready to go.

Just this morning someone asked "What do you think is going to happen next season Wanye?" We looked at their bright little faces glowing with the expectations of an Oilers fan in late July and said "Well gang, I suspect it will be much like Gloucestershire cheese rolling. We all know what that is right?"

Kids today. They haven’t heard of anything good.

EVER SEE THIS? HOLY COW

For the uninformed the Gloucestershire Cheese Rolling – also known as Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling – is a seemingly straight forward affair. 

"From the top of the hill a 9 lb round of Double Gloucester cheese is rolled, and competitors race down the hill after it.The first person over the finish line at the bottom of the hill wins the cheese. In theory, competitors are aiming to catch the cheese, (which) a one second head start and can reach speeds up to 70 mph (112 km/h),"

This doesn’t sound so crazy right? Kinda like the 2013-14 Oilers season we suspect. Last year there was a lockout and the team never really got a chance to gel goes the thinking. There were injuries that affected the standings too and the Oil were probably better than their record indicated.

This year everyone is healthy. The Oil have gone out and made some moves to address glaring holes in the lineup. They have a new GM and a new Coach and a new Captain. Grebeshkov is back. How badly can this go?

OBSERVE HOW BADLY THIS CAN GO

We have a sneaking suspicion that what looks like a straight forward proposition could end up going sideways in a hurry just like the cheese rolling. People going ass over tea kettle left and right. Medics coming out every 10 minutes. Danger lurking around every corner.

Speed. Excitement. Luxury.

The 2013-14 NHL season will have it all we predict. A very straight forward proposition – make the playoffs – could go sideways in a hurry if the Oil don’t avoid the dangers in the way.

DANGER ONE: YET ANOTHER REGIME

Pity the poor Fab Five of the Edmonton Oilers. The Nuge has had three coaches in three years. Do you think he has the faintest idea who is going to be telling him where to go score goals on any given night? He probably still wonders what happened to Pat Quinn for heaven’s sakes.

"One day he was here telling me to stand on the half wall and dish lazers to Hall" 93 probably whispers to his teddy bear late in the night. "Next thing you know he isn’t coming to the rink anymore. I was told he has gone to a ranch to hang out with other Head Coaches like Coach Renney. But sometimes I wonder if that’s even a thing."

Pity the poor Oilers and the circus of the franchise they are currently experiencing. Children need consistency and structure. Yet another Coach – no matter how sexy – with yet another spin on how things are going to go could lead to things going ass over tea kettle quickly if we don’t get the season started on the right foot. And a new GM? And a new Captain who remains to be named? 

Yikes.

DANGER TWO: STILL NOT ENOUGH THIS

The Oilers have arguably gotten tougher or at least bigger over the summer. With the additions of  Ferrance, Perron and Gordon they can be upgraded from "butter soft" to "pillow soft." But things still need to get a lot tougher, the Oil cannot go on failing to intimidate a single team in the NHL and expect to climb out of the league basement.

Not only would the Oilers have had a tough time competing in the playoffs this year, but 70% of the team would have probably suffered career ending injuries by game 3 of round 1.

Until there are handful of Oilers who will run guys through the boards for laying a hand on our precious Jordan, Taylor, Ryan or Nail they are going to continue to get frustrated, injured or worse. We can link to approximately 1,506,200 articles to this point in the past 5 years but the facts remain that.

The facts.

Year over year over year over year.

DANGER THREE: GOALTENDING = SHAKY

Call us crazy but bringing in LaBarbera and Randy Bachman of BTO and punting Khabibulin doesn’t exactly qualify as "fixing the goaltending situation in Edmonton." There are far smarter people who will be able to more intelligently describe what needs to happen between the pipes but suffice to say that the tendy situation doesn’t exactly fill us with confidence these days.

Yes, MacT was in the running on a few goalies and he seems to understand the gravity of the situation but that doesn’t really keep the biscuit out of the basket on opening night does it?

And to close more people chasing cheese.

That’s good hockey commentary right there.

  • OilClog

    Toughness is a real issues with this team. You run them out of the rink the first period and its pretty much game over.How many times have we seen that happen.!! They are soft on the back end , aswell as on forward. Other than Brown, there is no tough players.. and I dont mean just in the sense of dropping them. I dont care of how much speed you have , you are still going to take
    rock em sockem hits .. all over the ice, with no come back. Very dissapointed in MacTs efforts in this regard.

    Time, to stop hiding behind the “rebuild excuse”
    and start playing like you are playoff team. Oilers forward payroll is north of $43 million.
    Thats more than Penguins, Hawkds, Kings, and Bruins. Time for the lads to look around the room and start earning their pay.

  • Bucknuck

    Goaltending is not the issue. The defense in front of the goaltending, and the lack of defensive intelligence is.

    I think they took a step forward getting Gordon, then a step back dishing Horcoff. So who knows what’s going to happen this year.

    Reading between the lines in the Hitchcock interview, he basically said Perron is inconsistent in his effort. Did anyone else read it that way? That’s the last thing this team needs.

    I hope Eakins can get everyone on board with effort, but the last time I thought that, the coach’s name was Quinn and we all know how that went.

    I think I am too weary of being disappointed to be overly optimistic this year, but I have to admit that this team looks better on paper than any team since 2006. I have some hope for playoff hockey.

  • oliveoilers

    Good day all! I agree that goaltending is fine, but think that Wanye was maybe alluding to the odd softy that gets through dooby that goes against his otherwise stella tending? Can someone do the stats to see if any of those goals actually costs us games or just GA stats? (I know they certainly didn’t help our cause.)

  • Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate

    Totally agree! Dubs is getting better every year. At first he was a bit jittery and had trouble with some positioning. That has proven to have been corrected and his totals on a poor defensive team were above average, even outstanding compared to some of the primadona goalies. With maturity on the team defensive aspects his numbers should even improve further and shutup all the doubters. Now if we can lose the albetrose of Hemsky and his no care, play when he wants attitude that would help. He has always been tagged as talented but last on the ice and first off for practise is not what I would expect from a veteran or a rookie! Can’t believe he was made a assistant captain at one point.

  • LinkfromHyrule

    I’ll agree. Goaltending isn’t an issue, it’s defense by the forwards. Other than Nuge and Horcoff (who’s gone), that didn’t really exist. I like the upgrade on defense by defensemen, but the forwards better backcheck like demons.

  • I just do not understand the distaste for Dubnyk. He has had a Top 15 Sv% the last 2 years on one of the worst teams in the league. He had a better number than guys like Fleury, Lehtonen, Miller, Hiller, Rinne, Smith, Backstrom…. The list goes on.

    OUR GOALTENDING IS FINE IF NOT ABOVE AVERAGE.

  • LinkfromHyrule

    still don’t understand the mistrust in dubnyk, plus how is bringing in a backup who can actually play a few games in a row without being injured not an improvement? Khabby was great, when he wasn’t injured. Too bad he was injured all the time.

  • Czar

    The cheese rolling looked more like Flame fans fleeing the bandwagon at the last trade deadline,banana hammocks and all!

    Like an elderly Fred Durst in the song above – we are ready to go.

    Still laughing at that one, well done Wanye!