SEARCHING FOR THE HEART OF SATURDAY NIGHT

I love Saturdays. When I was a kid, my Dad worked early morning until noon Saturday (men worked six days a week in the 1960s) and Saturday afternoon and evening we had him to ourselves. That meant fun stuff in the afternoon, and Saturday nights at Grandpa and Grandma’s, with cards, beer, smoke and Hockey Night In Canada. Those are some of my fondest memories going back to childhood. Why then would Saturday do me this way so late into our relationship?

You don’t need to go back in the record books to see how bad the Oilers have been, just living the team informs you. In my house, Saturday evening marks the end of the week, a chance to pour some wine (I have left the harder stuff behind, and beer is my summer drink, he lied), make a meal with my wife, enjoy the Leafs losing and then immediately dive into the pit of despair as the town team bleeds out on my television (or, sometimes, live).

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If the Oilers Sunday to Friday are a tough follow, then Saturday is Hell’s Canyon. Since January 1st, Edmonton has given fans the following results:

  • A shootout win over the Coyotes January 2nd. 4-3.
  • A shootout win over the Flames, January 16th. 2-1.
  • A 4-1 loss to Nashville on January 23.
  • A 5-1 loss to the Habs on February 6. An especially awful game, someone should still be ashamed about that effort.
  • A 2-1 shootout loss to the Winnipeg Jets February 13.
  • A 3-2 loss to Colorado on February 20.
  • A 4-0 loss to Arizona last night.

That is 2-4-1 over the last seven Saturday games, and some of those games have been incredibly poor. Last night saw the Oilers get all manner of chances, especially early, but they could not cash and the goal posts were not forgiving.

I am at a crossroads with the Oilers and Saturday night. I think next year may see me PVR the game and spend some time with my family. Until this team cobbles together enough of a roster and they can form a team, it simply isn’t worth my time. I don’t have so many Saturday nights left, to gift them to this Oilers team is folly. I think it wise to make these players prove they are worth the time. Recent evidence suggests otherwise.


  • Edsez

    Saturdays were always my favourite as a kid, too … The Bugs Bunny/Roadrunner Hour followed by Hockey Night in Canada

    It was the only night we were allowed to eat in front of the TV and kid’s food for supper (hot dogs, mac & cheese)

    That was before the Oilers joined the NHL, though

  • Litch

    Hey LT, I feel like they’ve been getting blown out on Sat nights fairly consistently for the last few years… Has anyone checked the stats to see our Sat night records? Assuming it’s fairly dismal.

    Starting to feel very disheartened at the fact I’ve been dishing out over $240 a year on centerice to watch all these jokers float around the ice… In front of the troops nonetheless! 🙁

  • Cameron

    For all the long suffering Oiler fans, myself included, let me quote from Treasure Island..

    “Them that dies, will be the lucky ones.”

    Long John Silver aka Robert Newton

  • a lg dubl dubl

    They will turn north, as you say LT! Don’t give in to the dark side.

    I too remember Saturday nights watching the Oilers kick a$$ in the mid 80s with my dad when he was home, he was gone for 2 weeks at a time because he’s in the natural gas career( now in the office for the same company, so not in the middle of nowhere for weeks on end). Those were good memories, watching great hockey and asking my pops a million questions about the game before sending me off to bed at 2nd intermission(those 8pm games sucked).

    Things will get better soon as long as PC doesn’t leave McDavid all by himself in trying to get better on the back end.

  • Verdad3.0

    If you want happier Saturday nights, start with firing Chiarelli and MacLelland.
    Indolence and inept willfulness.
    Also, come to terms that when players like Hall, Eberle and RNH are sent on their way, the team may actually play to win not just collect cheques.
    Gut this team as quickly as possible then happier times ahead.
    Chiarelli has sacrificed an entire season.
    Nelson should not have been replaced.
    The defense should have been dealt with last summer.
    We knew what we had last summer and it was mostly heartless and entitled.
    Chiarelli did nothing and now he reaps the whirlwind.
    An incompetent.

    40 year Alex Tanguay made more positive impact on the game than Chiarelli’s prize blunders Letestu and Reinhart.

    Hall last year for OEL was so obviously the key move, but Chiarelli had no insight or will.
    Now we are down to like Gagner returns for Hall.

    • madjam

      Maybe you should be blaming the decision to remove Kreuger from coaching and MacT. for player and coaching changes . Is Chia just another group thinker or extention of his group of Howson , Green , Lowe ,MacT. and Nicholson ? Perhaps even Katz ? If the rest were so bad why are they still in organization ? Chia just seems like a new figurehead of same managerial jungle , beholden to those people and their advice that he is supposed to be replacing and changing that group think . Has any coach been able to motivate players to levels that Ralph could and was doing ? I see new signing of Jere Sallinen from KHL – feisty left winger .

    • oilerjed

      I’m starting to think that these military appreciation nights should come to an end. The energy level of the buildings(not just oilers) is very low on these nights and the troops don’t look like they are having fun. Forced to wear their uniforms and not allowed a beer. Good Times!
      Don’t get me wrong I am not against the CF, retired this year. But the majority of tickets go to airforce and admin clerks who don’t go anywhere anyway

  • fran huckzky

    Not only are the Oil breaking my heart, they are breaking my wallet. Like a fool I continue to pick them to win on pro line. To quote another tune, When Will We Ever Learn/

  • Stack Pad Save

    I sadly agree Lowetide. I used to love sitting down on saturday for HNIC. It is a terrible now. The product on the ice (Oilers suck on HNIC) and even the production value from Sportsnet is subpar. I miss when Cherry only used to get 1 syllable wrong in a guys name.

  • Total Points

    Oilers need veteran leadership.

    Keep some of the young core (whoever they may be) and assemble veterans like Andrew Ladd and Brian Campbell to show them the way.

    One of the biggest Oiler mistakes was not having veteran on the team, they cut loose all veterans and expected the kids to lead.

    As we now have found out, it doesn’t work with just young players without veterans to help pull the heavy load at times.

  • tileguy

    And to think on the wrap up I was pining for those sweet spring days when the temperature would go to 20 degrees and yet I would plant myself in front of the tv to watch Oilers playoff hockey. Wife use to say what a waste of the day, but not in my book. Now every hr watching oilers hockey is a waste of the day.

  • The Last Of Barrett's Privateers

    I’m not sure if it was hockey night in Canada or not, but didn’t it go M*A*S*H then some Canadian cartoon then hockey night in Canada?

    I’m might have got the wrong channel but then again I had farmer vision growing up so we got like 3 channels.

  • 99 NOW 97

    Its been said over and over , with varied opinions of who is untouchable.
    Honestly , there is only one and its Connor. Dont get me wrong , i enjoy watching Hall , Eberle and Nuge, Leon and so forth. But this mix is not working, will not work as an entirety. Do what you have to do at the proper price and opportune time to move some if these gentlemen.
    If it takes one more year to make this right so be it as sick and god damn tired of it as i am. Make The deals. If we beat all odds and scoop Auston , well , he stays with Connor and its open season on everyone else if it isnt already. The number 2 pick or beyond , PFFFT – Trade it , take offers right up until Chia is to walk up and announce the selection.

    I get more pumped for watching HNIC than most of these guys do getting to play. There should be some cash going back to the Oilers from many players based on efforts. You should feel ashamed of yourselves.
    I guess your making the big bucks now and who really cares right ? Few on this team thats for certain.

    Fan forever but my patience is pretty much gone. Lose fine [sort of ] but you better make sure you battled.

  • BobbtOiler

    I hope Chia keeps Nuge, I think he makes life easier for Leon and McDavid.

    The more I hear TMac rip this team after games like this the more I like him. Finally someone connected to the team is telling the truth and the players are going to have to own their effort!!!!

  • Little Buttcheeks

    I had the fortune of attending the Saskatchewan Rush lacrosse game last night and going out after so I missed most of the latest debacle. I love the Oilers and always will but it’s always a lot easier to take this garbage when you don’t spend precious weekend time watching them soil themselves.

  • Oiler Al

    What happened to that heavy game we saw right after Maroon and Co joined the team a few games ago. It rubbed off for a few games on to the cup cakes, but has now disappeared.

    Maroon and Cranknel has 13 hits last night, all of the rest of the team had 12. So much for the rub off.

    PS… Kassian back to his old tricks.Forgetting to be a hockey player again/still. Not sure of his survival rate with team.

    • RJ

      Every stop, Kassian plays great for a couple of days. Excited the fanbase. He’s the next great power forward! Then he goes invisible for weeks on end. At some point they decide he’s too inconsistent to rely upon and he gets traded.

      I was wondering how long he would go before that inconsistency showed.

  • Release the Hounds

    Thanks Mr. Lowetide for bringing back some great memories. Growing up on a farm in southwestern Saskatchewan in the 60’s I remember Saturday mornings playing dugout hockey with my brothers and neighbour kids then going indoors to watch ABC’s Wide World of Sports with Jim McKay, then Bugs and then HNIC. Foster Hewitt doing Maple Leaf games or Danny Gallivan shining for the Habs games. My original 6 team was the Blackhawks. Supper was usually my Mom’s famous baked beans and Dad’s homemade smoked sausages.

    Now we get the brutal Sportsnet Oilers crew of the ever clueless duo of Drew Remenda and Kevin Quinn most nights.

    After watching half of last nights game, I became annoyed with another lousy game switched to Discovery Channel. How appropriate that they were describing how a SEWER PUMP is made! No word of a lie! Methinks the Oilers could use one of these as could Sportsnet.

    Living in BC,(very few Oilers games televised) I reluctantly coughed up the $200 for Centre Ice after a 2 year hiatus, thinking that my team would be sniffing at a playoff berth. Disappointment reigns again and it looks like this organization is still a very long way off from competing! Looking forward to football season (CFL and NFL)

  • notarealdoctor

    I wonder – total speculation on my part – whether the weekend habits of a predominantly young and single team have anything to do with this? Maturity, in all its aspects, is coming painfully slowly for many (not Nuge, of course) of these kids.

    • Gordon Bombay

      How do you explain them playing so badly on all the other days of the week? It’s more then just Saturday, if our core is more concerned with going out drinking the team should have realized this by now and shipped them out the door.

  • CDNinATL

    I didn’t get home last night with the wife until almost midnight (eastern time). By that time the Oilers were already down 3-0. I was listening to the game in the car and just couldn’t believe what I was hearing. By the time I got home, there was no way I could actually turn on the game as it was clear, that they were shipping in this game.

    Glad I didn’t waste my time it watching the third period.

  • Verdad3.0

    Who would not trade Hall or Eberle for Vermette asap?
    One is a productive player.
    Vermette shamed them last night ,as he has for years.
    Hall must be the dumbest $6 million hockey player in the NHL.
    And Eberle the softest.
    But Chiarelli is resting.
    Can’t wait for his European restaurant tour after the end of the season.
    Can’t he just stay in the bunker and do his job on Kingsway?
    Look at video and get ready to gut this team!

  • Ivan Drago

    Im extremely unhappy with everything right now. Im unhappy with the effort some players give and the losing that goes with it but even going to the odd game isnt very exciting anymore. Im usually able to go to 3 or 4 games a yr and I would always be jacked on those nights. But after so many yrs, with so much lack of effort from the team, leaving my house in the cold to trudge to rexall, the prices for everything, I now stay home for all 82.

    Also sadly, now tv broadcasts suck balls. We need more TSN, less everyone else.

    In summary, the team pisses me off, going to the rink pisses me off, and now tv broadcasts piss me off. Thank god for McDavid. He is literally the only positive.

  • Hawk E. Pashyn

    First game I’ve been to for a few years. Popcorn was the worst I’ve ever tasted, and then… that.

    I’ll thank my bro for the tickets anyway, but I wonder if he’ll apologize.

    Great article, Lowetide, you’ve really hit the nail on the head with this one. I hope it goes viral and the players hear about it, but I kind of doubt it. Not sure they’d really care, anyway; unless they can earn some promotional revenue, that is.

    Loved the comment about repelling Nurse to the ice to help revive the team, though. Take a 20-year old kid out of the lineup and we suddenly become lethargic? Yeesh. He’s got a pulse… we might have to trade that guy.