Or the time before that. Or that other time. Or the time
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?
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
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
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
1. CONNOR McDAVID
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
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
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
“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.
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
Give him time too.
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.
*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.