THIS TIME IS NOT LIKE LAST TIME OR THE TIME BEFORE THAT

Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 5.00.25 PM

Or the time before that. Or that other time. Or the time
before that.

If I could put the keyboard of my laptop into autopilot and
set it to 1000 words it would probably write an article about how the Oilers
are in last place. Like every person writing, reading and commenting here on this site we have this storyline
covered from every single angle. There ain’t nothing left to say.

But the 2015-16 Oilers being in last place really doesn’t
have me all that concerned for the future. Yes they recently got shut out by the
Maple Leafs BUT THEN THEY BEAT THE BRUINS AND THATS CHIARELLI’S OLD TEAM AND THEY WON THE CUP AND…ahem. Despite the wild downturns and occasional brief shining moments of glory no one in their right mind truly believes they are a worse than the Leafs — I hope.

And when I look at the TV graphic above and know that it is only December 3rd, part of me wants to poke my eyes out with my branded Edmonton Oilers eye gouger. But I really don’t think the franchise is in 1% of the trouble it was
in at the end of last year. 

And you probably don’t either. Or maybe you do.

ISNT FREE WILL FUN?

Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 5.03.45 PM

Whatever pact Daryl Katz made with the Hockey Gods – “Let me own
the Oilers, let me build the nicest stadium in the league, give me new Gretzky
to play in it and I don’t care what happens until we move in” – is now in year seven.

Those who think there is some giant conspiracy to make us
all hate Rexall Place and run over in droves to Rogers Place to pay higher prices are correct. We
aren’t going to see a minute of playoff hockey in the last decade of the old
arena. Let that one sink in as you are most likely reading this on the toilet
on your phone.*

Yes, anyone with original issue Oculus Rifts can look at
the NHL standings and tell you that the Oilers are once again on the bottom of
the league. Good ol’ 30th place. Until they put those expansion
teams in Las Vegas and Beijing, this is as far down as a team can be without
being demoted to the AHL**

And so here we are Oilers fans.  Again. Left to pick up the pieces of another
NHL season and wonder where it all went wrong. Again. Except that this isn’t
really like the other years and even the crustiest angriest fans know it.

THEY SO ANGRY

Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 5.08.57 PM

We have run out of Here come the Oilers memes to make. Paper bags are selling out within 5 kms of Rexall Place on game nights. Twitter is going to start banning Oilers fans en masse due to NSFW language concerns. Like every other year – damn straight people are mad. There are Oilers fans now
entering grade four who haven’t seen a single Oilers win in the playoffs in
their life time. 

In colonial times, nine-year-olds were expected to have picked out
a wife and erected a sturdy barn on their homestead already. Fast forward to
2015 and nine-year-olds are expected to be Oilers fans because – hmm why exactly? Why would any kid who enjoys the game
of hockey and ostensibly want the odd win here and there like the Oilers
anymore?

Ah, that is an article for another day.

Anywhoo, I don’t believe for one second that this 30th
place Oilers team is like the 30th place Oilers teams of 2007-2014.
Not one bit. And rather than giving you a single rambling reason why here are four
rambling reasons why. 

4 REASONS YOU SHOULDN’T BE WORRIED ABOUT THE OILERS EVEN IF YOU ARE MAD 

Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 5.11.38 PM


1. CONNOR McDAVID

Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 5.13.44 PM

Remember this guy? Remember winning the
draft lottery despite the odds being smaller than winning the actual lottery?
Remember how he came into camp with the weight of the franchise on his broad
back and shoulders like they talk about in that Adidas commercial and 13 games
into his career it caused his clavicle to snap under the strain? (Note: Don’t tell me 13 isn’t an unlucky number)

Well he is currently willing his bones to
knit together at a faster rate than ever thought humanly possible. And
eating titanium. And doing one finger pushups and burning his pay cheques as
they come in because ‘Connor don’t want no money Connor didn’t earn.’

And you know what Con Con is gonna want to
do when he gets back on the ice? Get back to tearing the league a new one,
dragging all of his teammates and Oilers fans around the world along for the
ride of a lifetime in the process.

We are 13 games into the career of Connor
McDavid as an Oiler. That still hasn’t sunk in for me. Years from now when he
has hoisted the Cup to the sky in the new arena we will turn to look at younger
Oilers fans and say, “You should have seen when we had to cheer for
Gilbert Brule. Man was that a dark time.” 

No one will be discussing the fact 97 missed a few weeks in his rookie year.
The Connor Show is but beginning and don’t even try to tell me we have had this
much upside potential in any player since 99 himself. Oh and the whole Jack Eichel
v Connor McDavid debate – pretty much settled already with Stupid Jack Eichel having all of 12 points in all 25 Sabres games. Connor hasn’t played in weeks, Jack, and is still outscoring you.

2. LEON DRAISAITL

Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 5.20.16 PM

Remember when that super rookie
for the Oilers went down? Remember when that other guy stepped in out of
nowhere and is absolutely destroying the league? With all due respect to the
Magnus Pajaarvi-Svensson’s of the world, we aren’t trying to convince ourselves
that an eight is a 10 anymore, when in reality he is probably a two.

What is the opposite of a
sophomore slump? Well whatever it is that is what Leon is displaying this year.
This guy is such a legit player that if certain players don’t get their shit
together he is going to boot them off the roster faster than you can say “seriously how do you spell Draisaitl?” and eat their ice time up like Connor McDavid ate titanium when his
clavicle broke in 2015.

Add another piece to the puzzle
with ol number 29 in the lineup. This guy is goooooood.

3. PETER CHIARELLI

Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 5.23.17 PM

Peter Chiarelli would make most
people’s lists of top eight GMs in the league. Harvard Graduate, expert Rubik’s cube
solver, nationally ranked salsa dancer. Except for letting *certain* people tell him to trade for Reinhart, this guy isn’t listening to any of the Boys on the Bus and their circular logic about winning. And he certainly isn’t
afraid to make moves. He is a mere 25 games into his tenure as the Oilers GM and you
know he ain’t impressed with certain players he is watching and you know he is
gonna do something.  

We aren’t praying
that Tambellini gets hit by lightning anymore and the juice rewires his brain.
We have a legit man running the team.

Give him time.

4. TODD McLELLAN

Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 5.26.19 PM

“If anyone feels sorry for
themselves leaving the arena I am going to kick them in the butt” – Todd
McLellan, on a recent date that I am too lazy to google just now. 

Just like how the GM ship has been righted I think that Coach
Todd 2016 – not to be confused with Coach Todd 2015 – will get things sorted
out.  We aren’t hoping that half the
crazy crap Eakins was pouring in the players ears works out anymore. 

The donuts
are back in the media room and an established proven ass kicker is behind the
bench. This guy is a legit coach and he is barely even begun to decide who
stays, who goes and who is gonna be on this team when it eventually makes the
playoffs.

Give him time too.

AND SO

Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 5.29.57 PM

I can totally understand these cats that are calling for
people’s heads in the comments section and on Twitter. But there is no need to
make changes at the higher up level. It has been a revolving door for years. Yes, the Oilers are in 30th
place. Yes, they will miss the playoffs again. 

Let Connor will himself back together and onto the ice and watch how
things will come up from bottom. Let him smack Yak Daddy – when HE comes back
from that savage beating at the hands of a referee – and drag him into the “New
Kevin Stevens” territory. Let the rest of the team become the supporting cast when the star returns.

Let Chiarelli pull trigger on whatever big shiny move
he is formulating in his big shiny head. Let McLellan make sense of everything
he is seeing so he can tell Chiarelli who needs to be sent where when. Let the
angry, angry spirits of Rexall Place have their final season tormenting us for
some reason before we move to the nicest barn this side of anywhere.

When 97 returns, we will all rise to our feet and cheer
our hearts out down the stretch, and will spend the offseason jumping from foot
to foot waiting for the new season and the new arena to begin.

Believe that. 

*We have analytics on these things. It’s gross and probably
true and you know it.

**Thank the Gods that can’t be done or the Oilers would
probably have done the unthinkable and lost to their own farm team opening a
rift in the space time continuum in the process.

  • Oilers-Entourage

    Remember when the Kid Line was going to save this franchise[Gagner-Nilsson-Gogliano], then we had the [still have] the Lotto line,[Hall-Nuge-Eberle[not so lotto], and now we are on to the next shiny best thing… McDavid-Drisaitl-Nurse…..

    The spin drama never ends. The fans after twenty years have ever right to be “mad as hell”, this gong show continues.

    I doubt Pete Chr. will fix this, because Katz was the big player in attempting to assemble a team based on chasing shiny marbles and not building a real and proper NHL team. Like his other toys he likes to keep them…he even kept Lowe and MacT, who fronted this circus for him.

    PS; For a minute a I taught Stauffer wrote this article.

    • Lol yes Katz wants the team to suck. That has been exactly the problem this entire time. Take your rage to the grave homie, I’ll look on the bright side of things especially when they are clearly brighter than 12 months ago by a LONG shot.

      • Soiled Trousers

        I don’t think Katz cares if this team sucks. Team value has doubled since he purchased the Oilers. He scammed a new arena from the City tax payers and his cronies from the 80’s all have jobs. Guys like Katz generally don’t concern themselves with the opinions of the masses.

        I just don’t get how you can say things are better right now. I agree with you, things might be better in the future, but then again they might not. The fact is, professional sports is one of the few things in life that can be measured almost completely objectively. The Oilers are in last and that means that as things stand today, they are the worst team in the league.

        I have been a fan of this team for a long time and I really hope they get better but I’m not going to hold my breath. I’ve read the same article you just wrote every year for the last ten years. I’m not saying you’re wrong, but I don’t necessarily take it as gospel when a guy who makes his living off of a website that relies on fan interest tells me to keep the faith.

        • 1) I guarantee you Katz cares that this team sucks. His reputation has been riddled with bullets since day one buying the team. No one likes being told they suck – let alone by hundreds of thousands of fans. He may not concern himself with the opinions of us regular joes but part of buying the team is vanity. And his ego can’t be enlarged by how crappy the team has done.

          2) “I just don’t get how you can say things are better right now.” Are you out of of your mind? 12 months ago the Oilers had zero Connor McDavids. Things are better than they have ever been. Broken clavicles don’t last forever, I cannot comprehend how you don’t think things are better.

          3) “I don’t necessarily take it as gospel when a guy who makes his living off of a website that relies on fan interest tells me to keep the faith.” That’s harsh dude. I don’t make my living off this site – I made these sites because I love hockey. Feel free to go elsewhere if you don’t like reading my stuff, it won’t bother me one bit.

          • Soiled Trousers

            Sorry about coming across as a dick, that wasn’t my intention.

            As far as McDavid goes I agree having him is one thousand times better than not having him. My issue is that without him in the line up the Oilers are in last. Hockey is not the same as basketball in the fact that star players don’t have the same impact purely due to playing time. No matter how good McDavid is he will only be on the ice for max 25 min a night. McDavid will definitely make this team better, how much better remains to be seen. The entire team needs to better and the last place results highlight that fact.

            As far as Katz goes I guess we will have to agree to disagree. I don’t imagine Katz hears any of the negative feedback about his team. The best part about being uber rich is never having to hear what you don’t want to hear. And I’m just guessing, but I would assume that even if Katz hears one hundred thousand fans telling him he sucks, he would just think they are wrong. There’s nothing a billionaire values less than the opinion of the poor. Especially a guy like Katz who never earned a dime of what he has.

            Again sorry about sounding like a jerk.

          • I happen to know quite a bit about Katz’ back story. He may not have come from the slums of Shaolin but it is categorically wrong for you to say he “…never earned a dime of what he has.”. For you to say so only paints a picture of a person jealous of those who are smart enough and work hard enough to be successful.

          • Katz put together a National chain of pharmacies and purchased a generic drug supplier to be his own supply chain. Now he is transitioning into being the landlord of Rexall Drugs stores whenever possible and is pushing to own most of Downtown. With the exception of his foray into the movie business this guy is a can’t miss businessman and even that might turn out. I am not sure why you don’t think he earned his money but he absolutely has and is a legit genius regardless of the success on the ice of his hockey team.

          • Soiled Trousers

            These are the facts of Katz’s back story as I know them, please correct me if i am wrong. Katz’s father established a successful pharmacy chain before Katz’s involvement. Katz and his father purchased the rights to The Medicine Shoppe with a loan from Vencap Equities. Vencap was started and funded by the Alberta Government using the Heritage Trust Fund. So in essence the tax payers bought Katz his initial pharmacy chain.

            Katz expanded his pharmacy chain and eventually moved into larger U.S markets. When those investments failed they declared bankruptcy and were sold. So in reality, the money owed to creditors was lost but Katz still made a profit.

            The details of the new arena are well known and the majority of economists have shown that deals like this do not benefit taxpayers.

            I’m not saying Katz isn’t smart or hard working, but the notion that he is a self made man is absurd. Katz was born into money and parlayed it into more money with the help of the tax payers. When things didn’t work out he sloughed off his debts and continued on. That’s not jealousy, thats just the facts.

          • Sooo…local businessman grows small Edmonton drug store chain into multi-billion dollar national conglomerate using the resources any businessman has access to (BTW – The Vencap loans had to be paid back. Taxpayers made money on the deal.) He had the vision and carried it out. I have mad respect for that.

            I’m well aware he didn’t start from scratch. The fact that he built an empire from a local business chain pretty much defines “self made” to me given the scale.

            You sound like one of those idealists that think just because a businessman has billions he should donate it to the community instead of actually make a profit like anybody else would. In fact it’s well known that Katz is one of the biggest silent philanthropists in the city. Sorry but nobody has the right to tell someone else how to spend his money.

            The arena deal as it was structured was the only way we could get it built. I’m OK if Katz makes a profit in the process and I won’t hold him to some greenie fantasy that everybody should be worth the same and people who are smarter, use the luck presented to them and work harder shouldn’t reap the rewards of their efforts.

          • Soiled Trousers

            First off I’m not some lefty who thinks everyone should be equal and I couldn’t care less what people do with their money.

            As to Katz, his father grew a local business into a respectably profitable chain. Katz, with his father’s and tax payer money, bought the naming rights to a pre-established pharmacy chain in the states. Katz didn’t start the first Medicine Shoppe, he franchised it and other pharmacists built the chain. I’m not going to say Katz didn’t capitalize on a opportunity but you have to admit that opportunity is not open to ninety-nine percent of the population. Saying Katz is smarter or works harder is a spurious argument. I’m sure Katz is smart and works hard but there are a great many smart people who work hard and weren’t born with the same opportunities as Katz.

            The area deal was bad for tax payers. A select few will make a lot of money off the deal but the community will see little to no benefit.

          • ubermiguel

            Come downtown some time and I’ll point out the benefits of the arena. I’ve been working downtown for 15 years and the changes I’ve seen in that time are mind boggling, a large number of which are due to the Ice District.

      • Soiled Trousers

        I am not in a rage, just stating my viewpoint.

        The team stated that the REAL rebuild really started in 2010, basically with arrival of Hall,Ebs and Nuge.

        Well now they want to tear this down and start over again.That is why I made reference back to the Kid Line….
        I am not suggesting Katz wants the team to suck, but this on going rebuild has been under his watch

        PS; Bright = 30th place ?

        sorry for the late response..

    • Zarny

      Nope, I don’t remember when the Kid Line was going to save the franchise. Or the Lotto line.

      If you or any fan ever thought 2-3 players were going to save a franchise you were/are as delusional as Lowe and MacT.

      There is not a single contending team that is carried by one line or a few players while the rest of the roster looks more AHL than NHL.

      Chi, LA, NYI all finished near the bottom of the league when they only had one line supported by garbage. TB finished 28th with the top 2 scorers in the league. Benn and Seguin didn’t save Dallas. They missed the playoffs with both last year. Their problem was garbage goaltending and a supporting cast that wasn’t good enough.

      And by all accounts, no it wasn’t Katz who pushed for chasing shining marbles. That was management’s response to being spurned by Pronger, Nylander, Heatley and other failed attempts to bring in elite skilled players. Management chose to burn the house down to build around young, high draft picks.

      The problem is they didn’t build anything around Hall, Nuge, Eberle etc. They put custom oak cabinets, marble counter-tops and Sub-Zero appliances in a shack with plywood walls, no roof, no plumbing and shoddy electrical thinking it would sell for a million dollars. Doesn’t work that way.

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    You nailed how I’m feeling, Wanye. Yeah we’re last place, but this time we’ve got proven people in important positions, a big/skilled forward who can play centre or wing in Drai, an absolute warlord/potential #1 D man in Nurse, and one of the best hockey players I’ve ever laid eyes on. I have faith!

  • CofC

    Agree with most of the article; But I think we really need to put an end to this ridiculous and juvenile (not to mention I’ll-informed) notion that any errors made by current front office is a result of the former regime, whereas any positives going forward are solely the result of the current leaders. Oye vey – have ye all gone mad?

    Please grow up and accept there will be successes and errors under any group; We are and have been in a tough situation and slowly things will turn north. It either takes patience and trial/error, or blowing up the ship (doesn’t hurt to have Connor!)…

    Let’s hope the ship’s core stays intact and the contributing pieces are thoughtfully enhanced as we go forward.

    • The Last Of Barrett's Privateers

      So repeating the same mistake is ok with you?

      Chiarelli had no idea Reinhart even existed until he was told about a certain Edmonton Oil King defensmen with real pedigree

      I wonder who the hell he heard that from……….

      Until you clear the past you can’t expect the future to change when the same people who made past mistakes are earning a paycheck being advisors.

      Oh, there cannot be anymore trail and error, it didn’t work the first time, or the second. This is why they hired a competent GM.

      • CofC

        I guess by your estimation Chiarelli must be an idiot, because he apparently jumps in with both feet when told to jump, and doesn’t make the effort to assess the situation himself…

        Give your head a shake – he’s the one in charge and accountable for his own decisions – you obviously are inexperienced with regards to managerial process, accountability and chain of command.

        Laughable to think of Chiarelli coming in as a puppet GM, obediently carrying out the actions of Kevin and Craig…(!) Pease give Peter more credit, and particularly credit where credit is due regarding decisions he makes…!

  • Danglishish

    Let’s not go overboard about one win against a club who took us lightly and played a poor game against us , as Julien alluded to in presser . We still have major problems that did not mystically go away with just the win last night .

  • Danglishish

    Funny people mentioning McDavid being UFA at 25 when he’s likely to receive multiple $12M/season offer sheets from numerous teams well before then as RFA.

  • OldeTymeHockey

    Wanye, if you have analytics showing phone/toilet users (and I’m not disputing that use case at all!), then why the hell is this site such a pain in the ass to read on my phone?

    (Typed while using my phone in landscape orientation, but on the bus and not the throne)

  • Given how expensive the new rinks seats are. Old Katz has one year in the new barn to right the ship or I anticipate all these years of apathy are going to come home to roost. Or stay home to roost as it were.

    Next year is a freebie as the new toy joy will carry them through. Beyond that, economics are what they are and at some point value has to be present. I am stunned at how loyal Oiler fans have been to the Katz era of on ice product. It really is a wonder. Mind boggling in fact.

  • Derzie

    So basically any Oiler that is shiny and new (est. 2015) and hasn’t messed up yet is great and everything and everyone else is bad. How long until this team wins again? Hope Chia plays mean D with Todd in the pipes.

  • Soiled Trousers

    I’m am optimist today.
    i don’t see this group out of the playoff race just yet.

    they may be 30th, but, only 7 points out.
    This isn’t over yet.

  • Soiled Trousers

    Leon appears to be crashing down to earth. We need to change this core or we will never stop seeing the next 18 year old begin an injury riddled career with us.

  • Zarny

    ON would be a great study on PTSD. The comments section of any article highlights the distorted reality many live in due to the last 6 years of pain.

    That’s right…6 years. 7 years ago the Oilers finished 21st with 85 pts. That certainly isn’t parade worthy but they weren’t even in the vicinity of worst in the league. That was the NYI who finished 24 pts below the Oilers.

    17 of the Oilers 26 games have been against top 15 teams and yet 12 of their 15 losses have been by 2 goals or less. After 26 games last year their goal differential was -38; this year it’s -14.

    That’s improvement. It’s unlikely the Oilers remain in 30th place this year. They probably won’t move higher than 24th or 25th but it’s improvement and that is what is required this year. Pick the bar up off the floor.