The annual tradition of selecting a goat for the coming season is serious business. Serious business indeed. Were it not for selecting a goat – the player whom you blame for all the problems of the team – these past 10 playoff free years would have been hard to stomach amirite? But they just flew by didn’t they? HAHAHAHA
*single tear made of oil rolls down cheek*
As an Oilers fan I cling to hope like Leonardo DiCaprio clinged – clung? hmm – to that piece of debris when the Titanic sunk before Rose shoved him off and sent him to the ocean’s floor despite there being tons of room for him to wait for rescue out of the water. But that’s love amirite? We need hope around these parts and this isn’t the season to be yelling about no old beefs and goats and whatnot.
With the second season of Connor McDavid before us – THAT is still something happening we haven’t wrapped our brains around – and the introduction of the new 1.9 billion dollar Rogers place this seems like as good a time as any to draw a line in the sand.
It’s time to pull the plug in the old memory bathtub.
“Wanye did you let the car run too long in the garage this morning?” you may be asking yourself. “You seem like you have been exposed to noxious fumes of some sort. What is a bathtub memory and what does it have to do with goats?”
The concept of a bathtub memory was popularized by Warren Buffet. It’s basically one of his founding tricks for getting through life and being ultra successful:
“Warren never dwelled on anything unpleasant. He came to think of his memory as functioning like a bathtub. The tub filled with ideas and experiences and matters that interested him. When he had no more use for the information, whoosh – the plug popped up, and the memory drained away. Painful memories were the first to be flushed, along with anything that might detract him from his goal(s).”
The idea that you can just pull the plug in your brain and drain out all of the bad Oilers memories from the past 10 years might seem impossible at first. But the fact of the matter is if we want to be mad about Oilers stuff there is p-l-e-n-t-y of water to be had in that bathtub. But sooner or later we need to pull that plug and let it all drain out or we may indeed all go mad.
Perhaps you are angry that you haven’t seen a game that matters for the standings in the past 10 years. Fair enough.
Perhaps you are furious that Kevin Lowe, MacT and Scott Howson still collect paycheques from the team despite pointing the nose cone of the good ship Oilers at the ground and smashing into it at 100,000 mph. We totally get you.
Maybe you are crushed that you bought into the 2010 rebuild like a good Oilers fan and bought all the tickets and merch and were patient as we were commanded to be and just watched Taylor Hall and Nail Yakupov get traded away for returns that can be described as “underwhelming” or “WTF” Totally fair.
Despite all that has occurred in the past 10 years – the next 10 years of the Oilers is ultra bright – despite the best efforts of the team not because of them. Winning Connor McDavid in a lottery was undeniably the Hockey Gods recognizing the torture we have endured and sending us salvation like a bolt of lightning from above.
If I could go back and talk to Wanye 2008-2015 about the Oilers but couldn’t divulge how the future turns out (you know for reasons of time travel) I’d just keep smiling and saying wait all mysterious like.
Wanye 08-15: “But the damned Oilers they are screwing it all up!”
Wanye 2016: “They absolutely are but just wait.”
Wanye 08-15: “How can I just wait, don’t you realize that with every loss they are burning a game of Magnus Pajaarvi’s ELC?”
Wanye 2016: “Er well, that can be fixed. Don’t worry about Magnus. Just wait.”
Wanye 08-15: “You smug SOB stop telling me to wait! I want to smash beers and celebrate wins now!”
Wanye 2016: “Har har har just wait. Things have a way of working themselves out. Just don’t give up hope.”
All this time none of the line combinations and innumerable permutations of the lineup we all pondered here at OilersNation really mattered. None of the reclamation projects, none of the trade speculation, few of the draft picks turned out.
Acres of digital print, millions of keystrokes from all our comments and theories. Hundreds of millions of dollars in salaries spent in vain. None of that ultimately saved the franchise. What saved us was pure blind luck. Sweet beautiful karma-induced luck.
The way I see it is that the Oilers have 1 Connor McDavid and 22 Not-Connor-McDavids in the lineup. It isn’t to say that they don’t matter – they most certainly do – but all the other players are a supporting cast to the new 19 year old Captain. Everything is built and tweaked with him in mind from here on out.
Fact is if he had wanted Taylor Hall to stick around he would still be here. Think Chiarelli didn’t run the concept past Connor before pulling the trigger and sending 4 out of town? Damn straight he did. No way the Oilers risk pissing off 97 by trading away his roomie for most of last season. Every major decision is run past the New Boss from here on out. If Con Con says we don’t need ’em, we don’t need ’em. His mere presence is already changing the team faster than anyone could have predicted. No Connor, no Chia, no McLellan, no Lucic in the first 15 months. Not a bad start.
Despite the best efforts of some very well paid, very long term employees to keep us in an infinite tunnel with no end in sight the team really has made a significant course correction and are headed in the right direction at warp speed.
SO WHO IS THE GOAT YOU NON MURDEROUS CLOWN?
I think the team gets a goat free pass this year.
Fact is that all the promising goat candidates are gone. Nikitin is gone. 2015 goat Justin Schultz is gone (oh snap he won a Cup didn’t he haha) Platinum level goat Denis Grebeshkov is gone (despite oddly being brought back for a final twirl on ’13) I scan the lineup and don’t see anyone that makes me grind my teeth with goat induced rage anymore.
Where I used to see a bunch of quasi-impact players who didn’t seem to understand what being an Oiler even meant I now see Nurse, Hendricks, Maroon and Lucic. Guys who bleed Oilers honour and courage. Where I used to see a good dozen Assistant Captains and no leadership I now see Connor freaking McDavid blazing around with the C15 tatted on his heart.
When I used to look up into the management part of the catwalk of Rexall Place and wonder WTF ARE YOU PEOPLE ASSESSING I now don’t even know where Chia sits in the new Downtown Palace but I know if he has proven anything thus far it’s that he ain’t afraid to pull trigger.
Are there holes in the lineup? Absolutely. The D still looks shaky, the bottom six probably needs a few tweaks and the jury is out on Talbot in between the pipes. But things are reassembling and reorganizing all around us and it is time to pull the plug and let the rage drain out of the tub.
There will surely be players that we will want to shoot in the sternum with a finely tuned crossbow as the season goes along. Playoffs – certainly not impossible – might be a stretch this year and that will mean some real stink shows on the ice. But there is WAY more positive than negative going into the season and for that reason I will declare “haters and trolls” to be my enemy for the year and give the Oilers a goat free pass.
But that doesn’t mean that you have to. Please leave your goats in the comments section below, or tell me I am a hippie and peer pressure me into naming an actual goat for the year. You pick.