2016-17 GOAT SELECTION

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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. 

BATHTUB MEMORY

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“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. 

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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.”

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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?

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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.

  • Serious Gord

    The term goat in the above context comes from the word scapegoat.

    Here are the original and the current definitions of that word:

    From wiki:

    “A scapegoat is a person or animal which takes on the sins of others, or is unfairly blamed for problems. The concept originally comes from Leviticus, in which a goat is designated to be cast into the desert with the sins of the community. Other ancient societies had similar practices. In psychology and sociology, the practice of selecting someone as a scapegoat has led to the concept of scapegoating.”

    In recent oilers history we have seen several players burdened with the sins of the team and cast out into the desert – Justin Shultz being the most recent.

    I think it most likely that the next goat will also be a dman as they are more likely to be in a position to make a mistake that immediately causes a goal.

    The obvious choice would be Russell, but I think his conservative style and good work ethic will make it less likely that costs the oil several games in blatant fashion

    My dark horse nomination would be either klefbom or nurse.

    Fans have high expectations for both (remember Shultz when he first arrived?) and both are very inexperienced. Nurse has demonstrated a penchant for taking risks and klefbom will be playing on the first line – forced to play error free against the greatest forwards in the world. The chances for both to cost the team in very visible ways is great.

    But as the definition implies scapegoats are not fully to blame for the sins of all. Bill Buckner was a very good first baseman. And Fred Merkle was a very good one for 25 years after his “boner”. Both of their teams managed to lose three games before they dramatically ended their team’s championship hopes.

    • This is one of the reasons I legit had problems finding a goat. The players in the lineup that are sub optimal really don’t have very high expectations. I don’t see anyone failing supremely compared to their slotted roster spot unlike days of yesteryear when I had to convince myself that Cam Barker was a serviceable player due for a GIANT second act to his career.

      *remembers past, shakes fist*

  • vetinari

    I cast thee goat horns Anton Lander! You were suppose to continue scoring at the NHL level and I’m tired of saying ‘anytime now, just you wait’. Waiting sis over Lander. Wear these goat horns with pride.

  • billythebullet

    Lucic, Fayne, Russel, Nuge, Larsson.
    If Lucic doesn’t find that magic with Connor, he’s gonna be a tough sell to fans imo. Fayne and Russel are easy targets to be goats. Nuge, if he doesn’t returm to 50 point Nuge will be the next coming of Horcoff only a Horcoff that can’t win faceoffs…ouch. Larsson will be under a microscope due to who he was traded for, he had better be magnificent. But seriously there is so much oppertunity for goats this season we should just look to our wonderful gm…Chia for goat gets my vote.

    • Serious Gord

      Lucic is an interesting one. If he doesn’t come out of the blocks clicking with mcdavid right away or more seriously looking like he has lost a step he could become a goat of biblical proportions.

      • OnDaWagon

        Lucic won’t be anyone’s goat. He’ll be exactly what he was brought here to be.

        THE DRUMMER.

        Yep, keep’n da beat. Now if da Drummer loses e’s stick…e’s likely look’n fer WAYNE. Why? Cuz Wayne mentioned GREBESHKOV. You Sir, need a lobotomy

      • Joy S. Lee

        Lucic gets points, but brings much, much more than that alone. I’ll guarantee you that his teammates appreciate him, even if or when he isn’t scoring. Did Gaudreau score 20 points more than Lucic last season? What was his impact in other areas of the game, in comparison to Lucic’s?

        • OmJo

          Actually, he scored 23 more points than Lucic in 2 less games :/

          As much as we might hate the kid, it’s unfair to compare a 5′ 9″, 157lbs 23-year old to a 6′ 3″, 233lbs 28-year old.

  • Butters

    Does my goat have to be a person? Can it be the Griffen Reinhart trade? Not Griffen Reinhart the player, but the trade. The 16 + 33 picks we gifted to the Islanders made their opening night roster.

  • Spoils

    i’m a little choked Yak and Versteeg are gone… oh and Larsson was not enough for Hall. Barzal compared to Reinhardt…

    maybe I am just in a bit of a mood.

  • Drew R. Fan

    I don’t agree with this picking one player to blame for everything business. Pretty classless imo but when in Rome…. if I have to pick one, I definitely agree with the earlier commenter that it has to be klefbom. He’s playing on the top pairing, he’s making more money than I think he should and he’s a fan favourite of oilersnation who like to play this silly game. if the oil get off to a slow start he’s my pick

  • Jaxon

    Gustavsson: if he plays around the .900 range (which is entirely possible) instead of the .920 range (there were free agents and even waiver pickups that achieved that range) over about 25 games, he will cost the Oilers a lot of wins. At 30 shots per game over 25 games will be 15 extra goals against. Not cool Chia, not cool.

    Russell: after asking my brother in Calgary about him and expecting him to laugh, he was jealous of the pickup. He says most fans loved him (maybe not stat-heads) and imagines Oilers fans will love him too. That tells me he may not become the goat.

    Lucic: if he has lost a step or cannot find even a bit of chemistry with McDavid he may be a goat. I think Pouliot should be McDavid’s LW. He is faster, he retrieves pucks well, he interrupts the other team’s progress. He is pretty good at the McDvaid chip pass. If Puljujarvi *eventually* ends up on McDavid’s right, I think they will be the best line, due to their overall speed, size and skill. Tough to handle. And Lucic, Nuge, Eberle is a hell of a 2nd line. Will he then be a goat just for not being on the 1st line? As long as the team is winning and he is producing somewhere then I don’t think fans will mind.

    All that to say, I think Gustavsson is the most likely goat.

  • Jaxon

    F#$%K I hate the Flames. They keep getting players I was hoping Edmonton would get. Kris Versteeg, Doug Hamilton, Kenny Morrison, Joe Colborne, Alex Chiasson, Andrew Mangiapane, Rasmus Andersson, Adam Fox and Chad Johnson. Grrr.

      • Jaxon

        Maybe, but Hamilton, Versteeg, Colborne and Johnson would all make our lineup right now and make the team instantly better. And I would say Gaudreau, Brodie or Giordano but they weren’t on many people’s radars. We didn’t have a chance at Monahan as they drafted him one spot ahead of us. And I’m glad the Oilers got Draisaitl and Puljujarvi over Bennet and Tkachuk. I guess they kind of stole Monahan, though, so maybe I should add him to the list.

  • Bucknuck

    It is a lot harder to pick a goat this year in comparison to other seasons… and boy that is a good thing.

    My goat this year will be Caggiula. What the hell are they thinking putting a rookie winger in as a centre.

  • Reg Dunlop

    Watching fans turn on Hall and Yak, the next one is obviously RNH. If the 2nd line struggles to score, little Nuge will face the wrath and then be traded next summer. And a 6 million $ 2nd line center who weighs a buck seventy isn’t going to fetch much.

  • FlamesRule

    “A scapegoat is a person or animal which takes on the sins of others, or is unfairly blamed for problems.”

    I like this and it leads to no other than Talbot as your goat this year.

  • Mo Playoffs Mo Problems

    Chiarelli

    Rapidly running out of goodwill after getting fleeced on 3 trades involving first round picks (or former first overall picks) in a year and a half, giving Lucic 2 more years than he should have, rushing Puljujärvi and the Drake, and sitting on the waiver wire as he watched his RW depth sign 3 hours south of here.

    I hope some of his other moves end up being nice surprises, but it’s getting hard not to doubt…

  • Eulers

    Wow! This was going to be a really hard decision until Chia signed Kris Russell for a cool $3.1 million.

    Russell, I dub thee goat of 2016-2017. Thou shalt be blamed for all goals against whether or not thou art on the ice. Thou shalt out-duel the shin guard assassin. The stench of the Flames sticks to thyself and thy wretched CorsiFor%/RelTeam at 5×5.

  • toprightcorner

    Russell, the analytic crowd will continuously remind everyone how bad they say he was. Even if he plays well defensively, fans will also remember that a RHD was supposed to be added and Russell was signed instead so he will be blamed for not being offensive or a PP option. He is basically in a lose/lose situation.

    Plus, I don’t think he will play that well and Davidson will quickly take his spot on the second pair and Russel and Nurse will be a nightmare together.

  • No GOAT for me, done with the negativity. The fanbase here in Edmonton has a right to be disappointed, but with the actual attempts at turning over this team, it’s time we actually watched some hockey before getting negative again.

    I will definitely be on commenting during wins, and not here after losses!

  • socaldave

    No goat for me this year – 90 pts and finish just outside the playoffs will be an incredible feat, and I think that’s where they’ll end up. I couldn’t care less about the idiots swarming over from the Flames site – they obviously don’t have anything of note to talk about themselves.

    We gotta look at this as a long game – new rink, best player in the game, Lucic came this year, more will come next year… Onwards and upwards – the Oilers will be much improved this year and challenging for the trophy the year after.

    I can live with that.