Photo Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Oh what a…feeling?

Alright, it’s been a week. We’ve had time to cope and reflect, both as a city and in our own individual ways (a lot less orange, basically). It’s been a while since we’ve had to deal with a disappointing end to a successful season. So, how ya feeling?

Not too bad, I bet. But that’s kind of weird, isn’t it? Even during the day of game seven in Anaheim, I was surprised by how nervous I wasn’t. Other people felt the same – excited, but without angst or dread. Then the game happened, and I felt super bummed out, but not distraught. Tears were never close.

For those of you under 30, this is not what a playoff loss was like in the nineties. Losing felt different then, because we had no reason to be sure we’d be back the next year. Potentially beating Dallas was our Stanley Cup. We had reason to be confident we’d be back in ’07, but that feeling went with Pronger…to Anaheim.

But right now, there is no arrogance in saying that next year we expect the second round. The ’06 team was well balanced, with a game-stealing goalie and game-dominating defenseman. The 2018 Oilers might have the best two centres in the league, and Talbot seems way too calm to regress.

And while I’m far less informed than everyone on this site, our division looks winnable, evidenced by the fact that the current titleholder needed two blown call wins to beat us.

Few fan-bases have gone through such acute, concentrated suffering as Oilers fans have in the last ten years, and like abused animals, we might be hesitant to think we’re finally safe. But we are. The best that two experienced playoff teams could do was hold McDavid to just under a point per game, in his first playoffs.

I’m not old enough to remember the earliest eighties, and what it felt like before we first made the finals. But I’m positive right now is closer to that (or the ’07 Penguins), than it is to the pre-salary cap playoffs. Orange was big then, too.

Grant Fuhr talked about losing before you can win, and we all know about Lowe and Gretzky’s walk past the Islanders’ dressing room. But I feel a bit guilty, because instead of mourning, I’m thinking of questions like: does anyone else feel like the Oilers’ core learned those lessons this year?

Teams like Nashville are mediocre for so long and only now might get their chance. Maybe the Oilers franchise is binary – either suck worse than the suckiest bunch of sucks that ever sucked, or rule like the Original Six Candiens. We could be closer to the Cup than anyone thought even to start the playoffs. Instead of depressed after losing in the playoffs, I’m excited. The last ten years already feel like they were part of the nineties, and I gotta say that in the moment, I don’t really mind dealing in extremes.

  • Spydyr

    The team has had a taste of the playoffs. The experience will undoubtedly help the team moving forward. The feeling of losing game seven will also be a good motivator. This is the beginning of a run for Stanley. Good times ahead folks.

  • Derian Hatcher

    Sadly, this shows my age, but that ’84 cup (as well as other years’ cups) were shared with many of the fans of the city…the players brought it to many bars and clubs and encouraged drinks out of the cup and many pictures (if there was a camera around). It was a magical time in the city!

  • Craigolas

    I’m still salty. Despite the underdog, “happy to be here” mentality going in, I can’t help but believe that the Oilers could/should have been playing the Preds right now and wonder how they’d be doing, and how much more crazy the playoff fever would’ve gotten here in E-town. April/May 2018 still seems very far away. I’ll get over it, but not yet. I want the cup!

    • Derian Hatcher

      I hear you. As I watch the Preds, I too find myself analyzing their play and wondering how the Oilers would would fare. Their defense is very good. On the other hand, I so enjoyed the Oiler season and playoff run. AND…the off season is not as long this year 🙂

    • Gravis82

      Oil should have had that round. Also could have taken Nashville. Now that is a real playoff run. This was fun, but was barely a run. Should have been so much more, Chiarelli should have done much more. But it was clear he was not planning on winning this year, so he made only minor moves. But whether it was in the plans or not, this could have been the year.

  • Clayton

    I hope the Oilers are watching the Preds series. Some serious lessons they can take from it. For example…when you get calls that go against you…like two questionable goalie interference calls that took goals off the board…you regroup, suck it up and overcome it…don’t dwell, whine and complain. That is a big part of why the Oilers lost the series…too much looking back, too much complaining about things out of their control and not enough push through tough times! Losers look to blame and make excuses when face with adversity, champions overcome adversity!

  • 99to17

    For this fan it is not enough to be content with this years progress. They should still be playing! The bitterness of getting screwed out of wins by the refs in games 4 and 5 will stay with me as long as the game 7 loss to Carolina in 2006. Cheaters DO prosper evidently.

  • Butters

    I enjoyed the whole season, a little bummed by game 7 but we will come back next year hungry. McDavid gor a 100 points, he will likely win two major awards, Chiarelli and McL are up for recognition, team got over 100 points. Good year all around. All the way next year boys.

  • Freddie the fog

    It wasnt until the Oilers 3rd go-around with the New York Islanders in the post season before Wayne Gretzky scored a goal against them. And back then …even in the playoffs, ALOT of goals were scored.