GDB 35.0: A Festivus Miracle

Festivus was made famous by Frank Costanza in the Seinfeld  episode “The Strike” in 1997. He invented the holiday to serve as an alternate instead of participating in the pressures and commercialism of Christmas. On December 23rd, Frank and his family would celebrate Festivus.

There was a Festivus dinner, an unadorned aluminum pole, and fun activities such as the Airing of Grievances and Feats of Strength. If George could pin his father in a wrestling match Festivus would conclude for that year. There was also the labeling of easily explainable events as “Festivus miracles.”

It is fitting that Edmonton’s final game before the Christmas break falls on Festivus. Regardless of the outcome tonight, the Oilers will enter the Christmas break with their lowest win total in franchise history.

Oilers fans have a lot of grievances this year.

I suspect we would break a Nation record for comments if we asked each reader to post one grievance. In fact, why don’t we do that? It is good to get things off your chest. Keep it to one only. A few witty ones would be nice as well.

I have many, mostly non-hockey related, but my main grievance regarding the Oilers is their consistent stubbornness to believe that rushing youth into the lineup will benefit the players. History shows that isn’t the case. Until they stop that cycle, I don’t see them becoming competitive.

My non-hockey grievance is that despite performing multiple calf raises, my legs are not getting much bigger. It is embarrassing that my legs are still as skinny as Strudwick’s.

LINEUP

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Draisaitl draws back in between Yakupov and Pitlick. Matt Hendricks is sick, so Luke Gazdic will slot in on the 4th line. Yakupov is the veteran on the 3rd line, and that is a perfect illustration of my main grievance. His game is not mature enough to be the “veteran presence” on a line at this point, yet the Oilers continue to try and force Draisaitl and Yakupov to create chemistry while both of them are battling confidence issues. Put players in positions to succeed.

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Nikita Nikitin is close to returning, but they will give him another four days off. He likely will play after Christmas in Calgary on the 27th.

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Ben Scrivens starts his fifth straight game. The Oilers want him to get in a rhythm according to Nelson. I’ll be curious to see if they give Fasth four or five consecutive starts after Christmas, or if they want lean heavily on Scrivens. If it is the latter then it is obvious which goalie they believe should be here long term.

The Coyotes won’t skate this morning, and after last night’s drubbing in Vancouver you can expect a few lineup changes.  You can find their lineups at DailyFaceoff.com

QUICK HITS…

  • In the Oilers 30 games not involving the Coyotes they are 7-17-6, while the Coyotes are 7-18-4 in games not including the Oilers. The only reason the Coyotes are ahead of the Oilers is because they are 4-0-0 vs. Edmonton this season. The Coyotes are just as bad as the Oilers against the rest of the NHL. Arizona has been outscored 57-101 vs. rest of the league while Edmonton is slightly better at 66-98. The fact the Oilers are 0-3-1 vs. Arizona reflects how bad they have played this season.  
  • Devan Dubnyk has stopped 64 of 66 shots in his two wins over the Oilers, and he’ll get the start tonight. The Coyotes got clobbered 7-1 in Vancouver last night, while the Oilers blew a three-goal lead on Sunday. You’d think one of these teams would actually play like they have something to prove tonight.
  • The Oilers have started a new series on the website called True Blue. The first episode was Luke Gazdic and it was quite good. I think fans will enjoy this series more than most games at this point. I recommend watching it here.
  • Finishing last in the NHL is more difficult than you think. The Oilers only have one win in their last 19 games, but they are only one point back of Carolina and if they defeat Arizona tonight they are only three points back of the Coyotes. The battle for 30th could end up being more difficult than people expect. It is a three-team race.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…

From James Tanner at HockeyBuzz…

I don’t even know what to write about right now, there isn’t a single positive going on with this franchise. Ice Arizona bought the team, tried to make everyone all positive about the situation and then immediately sold 51% off to a guy who may or may not be backing out of the deal. The team is garbage, the coach is out of answers and the only moves the GM has been able to make involve fringe NHLers. 

Its a disaster that needs a new a direction and new people running the show. 

Oh, and if you somehow felt like reading this much about the league’s worst team, the Christmas miracle I mentioned was me not throwing my remote threw my TV when the Canucks made it five nothing. 

It’s the Oilers tonight. I can barely mask my enthusiasm. 

TONIGHT…

YakLegDrop

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The only team in the west the Oilers might catch this year is Arizona. If you are a believer in “McEichel” you want the Oilers to lose tonight, but since they rarely do what the fans want the Oilers win 3-2. It is a Festivus Miracle.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Carolina loses in New Jersey and the Oilers leap frog them into 29th.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION:  After the game, the Oilers have their secret Santa gift exchange.  When all is said and done, there is one single present left in the corner of the room. Craig Ramsay heads over, picks up the present, and reads the card allowed, “To MacT, Thank you for this opportunity, I won’t let you down. From, Anton.” The awkward silence in the room is deafening.  

DAY 16…MONTH OF GIVING

Thanks to Eddie, Mike and Corey for their generous bids yesterday and to Lifford Wines, The Golf Den and Michael Anthony Jewellers for their donations. Today is our final day and we are hoping to finish strong.

Item #1:

  • A $1,000 shopping spree at Derk’s Mens Wear
  • One Derk’s Black Label Suit.
  • $300 in tailoring to help with your new wardrobe.
  • In store consultation with Sterling Derk to ensure you fill out your wardrobe properly.

ITEM #2:

The Eskimos VIP Package:

  • Two seats in the Presidents Suite with Len Rhodes to watch the game.
  • Complimentary food and beverages all game.
  • Two signed Eskimos jerseys. You can pick which colour and which player’s jersey you want.
  • You will chauffeured to and from the game by yours truly in a Lexus LX 570 from Lexus of Edmonton. We will be joined by an Eskimo alumni on the ride and in the suite for the game.

You can bid by calling 780.444.1260 or text 101260 between 2-5 p.m. today.

Thanks in advance. All proceeds go towards Santas Anonymous and The Christmas Bureau.

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  • Zamboni Driver

    I hope Sportsnet puts up that stat how the Oilers are “winless” in 8…now 9.

    Not nine game losing streak…”winless”.

    Sounds more positive.

    10 bucks says Justin Schultz gets third star.

  • Zamboni Driver

    My grievance is that the oilers management still believes that by losing they will win. Losing is acceptable for these idiots because they think McDavid or Eichel will magically fix things. The team still sucks with Hall, Nuge, Yak because the organization has a loser mentality another #1 pick won’t change that. I guess we know how Islander and Thrasher fans felt.

  • Oiler63

    Disaster is an understatement for this team. This is a derailed train coming at you at 200 miles per hour and you used face to stop it. This is the kind of face palm that your hand punched through your head and your brain is all over the wall. Santa’s gift to you is his middle finger!

  • Zamboni Driver

    Also…

    Dear Oilers fans,

    Please STOP making fun of ‘Johnny Hockey’ – he has the exact same number of goals as one of our #1 overall draft pics, one MORE than another, and SIX more than the one who is the same age as he.

    You look and sound stupid when you do that.

    ~ and thus ends the Airing of the Grievances.

    Happy Festivus, and Merry Christmas Nation.

    Look on the bright side. Season’s almost half over!!

    Almost.

    Z-D

  • Gilmore Tuttle

    Here is the Sun’s evaluation

    GAME GRADES

    Offence D

    Defence D

    Goaltending D

    Power play D

    Penalty kill A

    Toughness C

    Effort D

    They must have been smoking crack out back by the LRT to be able to put this much lipstick on that pig.

  • Zamboni Driver

    December 23 was just too much pressure on the Oiler
    Players and Management. Imagine the thoughts of playing with 6 foot aluminum sticks without a blade
    (Poles) and having meatloaf as a before game meal!
    Playing and then losing the FESTIVUS CUP against the Coyotes was a 4 point loss.Now the record is .3333333. Enjoy FESTIVUS. MERRY CHRISTMAS. December 23 is finally over!

  • The Soup Fascist

    One of the biggest problems with this Oilers team is that they will only match the other teams effort as a maximum. Arizona was not playing that well tonight, just the oilers played a seriously uninspired brand of hockey. They talk about taking time and space from the opposition, Arizona had way way way too much of each. I bet OKC could have beat us tonight.

  • SSB1963

    I recall fans from other teams saying that hall plays far to recklessly and will continually be hurt. This does not sound like a player who doesn’t go the the tough areas of the ice.