— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) September 18, 2015
It’s fun days for Oilers fans, as the news churns out updates hourly on a long list of exceptional talents. Klefbom signs! followed Hall scores two! and of course there are heart attack moments like the Nuge getting hit with a puck by Cam Talbot. Take the temperature of the average Oilers fan and it’s 98.6 with a smile—and that stands in stark contrast with fans of other NHL teams when it comes to McDavid in Edmonton.
After a decade of mocking and laughing, it sure seems to me as though fans of the Calgary Flames, Vancouver Canucks and other teams have tired of Edmonton’s swagger quickly. While I understand the absolute unfairness of the Oilers winning the lottery—and let’s take a moment here to watch it again:
It seems to me we’re seeing a lot of sour grapes online and in print as the realization of McDavid in Edmonton comes into view. I’ve received emails talking about his ‘poor shot’ and ‘Schremp-like junior moves’ and that’s BEFORE the young man plays in a pre-season game. Lordy.
Hype does weird things to people. Many years ago I didn’t get a chance to see the movie “E.T.” until a few weeks after release. Everyone and their dog told me what a great movie it was, that it would blow my mind. I entered the theatre expecting to be amazed and the movie—while fun and interesting—did not in fact blow my mind.
McDavid has been hyped and that’s for sure, and it certainly doesn’t help that on first view (for this fan) his skating leaves one slack jawed and bewildered. Connor McDavid DOES have some issues—his release is quick but not powerful, he won’t block shots well and I doubt he could play shortstop for the Blue Jays—but it’s fairly obvious to those who have seen him that he’s a special player.
When times like these come up, I like to go back to the scouting reports, written before the Oilers won the draft. These reports don’t care a hoot that Edmonton won the lottery, simply don’t care that Flames and Canucks fans remain in a wild rage about it (comparing McDavid to Schremp is something I’d delete from the internet immediately were I you, young Flames fans) and simply inform the viewer about the player.
Craig Button, TSN: Two words; unprecedented speed.
Skating speed, hand quickness and mental processing that he executes
simultaneously to threaten defenders and create opportunities. He would
be the first pick at every draft since Sidney Crosby in 2005, perhaps
even in Crosby’s draft year. Source.
WHAT TO DO ABOUT HATERS!
Let me ask you something: Were Flames fans there to make you feel better on the night of G7 SCF? What about the night Sam Gagner was injured by Zack Kassian? Lots of Canucks fans feeling bad on line, were they? No. No there were not.
This is going to be a trying season in a few ways for Oilers fans. First, dumbass comments like Schremp comparisons. Second, jealous fans looking for any flaw (McDavid’s shot is going to get major play if he doesn’t fill the net early) and willing to shout it from the highest rooftops.
Finally, and I do think this is going to happen, McDavid being a target from other NHL teams. He’s a talented young phenom on a young team with a losing record, so cutting off the new kid and making every stride difficult is just good business. Intimidation, dirty hits and vicious slashes (Kassian’s apology was touching, no? Or did he apologize, I’ve forgotten) are all part of the business.
The glory Oilers had this kind of challenge early on, before Gretzky and Co. flew into their town and left their team in ashes. That was in the days before the internet, before twitter, and it was pretty bad then (old men talking about Gretzky not being good enough to play on the 1950’s Leafs).
Screw ’em all.
Smart Flames fans are talking about their (substantial) team and looking forward to their own glory days, and smart Canucks fans are shopping for a new team to cheer for over the next few years (and are welcome to join Oilers Nation).
Enjoy this. Don’t let one word spoken or written allow you to doubt the significance of that lottery win. No matter what comes today forward, winning that lottery and drafting Connor McDavid was a massively significant moment.
How significant? Enjoy this. And screw ’em all.