“Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.”
If you’re a typical fan of the Edmonton Oilers, you can probably relate to the old line from Michael Corleone in the Godfather III. After eight years of considerable suckage by your team, you were wound pretty tight after Dallas Eakins and the Oilers staggered out to a 0-4-1 start through five games. Fire Eakins! Fire Kevin Lowe! Fire everybody and the horse they rode in on!
On the flipside, Monday’s 3-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning at Rexall Place offered long-suffering fans a welcome opportunity to exhale – without uttering profanities about the lameness and ineptitude you’d witnessed on the way to the parking lot for the drive home. Not a jersey was tossed.
@Robin_Brownlee I can totally see them missing the playoffs by like only five points
— Beau Rossel (@TheBeaudozer) October 21, 2014
QUICKLY NOW – FOLLOW ME TO THE PARADE ROUTE BEFORE THE BEST SEATS FILL UP
— Wanye (@WanyeGretz) October 21, 2014
What is this strange feeling I have? Waking up after an oilers victory…pride? Or just lack of embarrassment…
— Ginny Jenny (@ginny_jenny) October 21, 2014
ONE AT A TIME
Yes, it’s only one win. A 1-4-1 record hardly signals that the Oilers are off to the races or that their glaring lack of depth at centre is OK or that Eakins is a Jack Adams candidate, as many of you rightfully pointed out. Cynicism, given the results of the last eight seasons, isn’t a bad thing and it’s to be expected.
That said, and recognizing there’s a multitude of hurdles facing this team before a return to contention can even be contemplated, a 24-hour break from the angst and frustration that was bubbling over as the Lightning rolled into town isn’t a bad thing before the Washington Capitals come calling.
With this seven-game home stand looking like a pivot point that could turn the season one way or another – a lot of fans feared the direction would be south and it might still go that way – the players certainly needed to taste a little success after a better effort, but another loss, against the Vancouver Canucks. That sinking feeling of “here we go again” was settling in.
And you needed it, knowing full well the bigger picture still isn’t pretty and the mood could go sideways, yet again, in a hurry. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – when you suffer with every loss, there’s nothing wrong with taking 24 hours to enjoy a win before moving on to the next one. Have at it.
WHILE I’M AT IT
- Fans have been packing Rexall Place for seasons on end and they’ve paid a pretty penny for what little success they’ve seen at home by the Oilers. Since the start of the 2009-10 season, the Oilers have won just 78 of 191 home games. Just using $100.00 as the price of a ticket – I know, that’s peanuts compared to what some of you are paying – and not even including the cost of beer, food, parking, gas and jerseys for throwing, that works out to $19,100, or $244.87 per win. I can see the real number easily being double that.
- Jason Gregor wrote an item about the possibility of returning Leon Draisaitl to junior the other day here. While I don’t disagree with his take about the benefits in developing him elsewhere and saving the first year of his ELC, the options are limited. Is Will Acton or Anton Lander the answer? Mercy. A trade to fill the hole? If GM Craig MacTavish is working the phones, as has been the buzz lately, and he can pull the trigger on something to fill Draisaitl’s spot, I’m all for it.
- Martin Marincin and Mark Fayne look like a pairing with potential to me. There’s a calmness and poise to Marincin’s game that isn’t always there with young defensemen, but it was apparent with Fayne last night against the Lightning. Marincin played 18:07 Monday.
Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260.