WWYDW: Jumping on another bandwagon

The Oilers, in case you hadn’t heard, got absolutely stomped last night in their home arena by the Buffalo Sabres. It was 5-0. It was gross.

According to Jim Matheson, the Oilers’ playoff hopes took a “huge hit” with that loss last night. I mean, he isn’t wrong. Edmonton, according to Sports Club Stats, saw their playoff odds decrease by a whopping -0.4 per cent last night, sliding all the way down from a 0.7 per cent likelihood to a 0.3 per cent likelihood of making the playoffs.

There are 34 games left in the season, and while Edmonton has a bunch of games left against divisional opponents, they’re 12 points out of a playoff spot right now. They would have to jump over Chicago, Anaheim, Los Angeles, Minnesota, and Colorado to slide into the final wildcard spot. None of those teams are bad and they’re all playing each other a bunch in the final few months of the season.

I think it’s safe to say that it isn’t going to happen. The Oilers are going to miss the playoffs. Sorry, but it has to be said.

I asked questions about Peter Chiarelli the last couple weeks. What question would you ask him and which move would you reverse if you could. But this week, I wanted to keep the tone a little lighter because it’s a damn morgue around here right now and we’re all sick of talking about Pistol Pete.

That brings us to this week’s What Would You Do Wednesday question. How are you going to play out the rest of the season? Are you going to keep watching the games? Are you going to cheer for losses like back in the good old Fall for Hall and Fail for Nail days? Or do you still have a faint hope that the Oilers can go on a run and make up the necessary ground to reach the playoffs? And, finally, are you going to jump on a bandwagon? Or are you an Oilers-only fan who’s going to be salty that the team isn’t involved in the big dance?

In regards to the bandwagon, here are some options…

  • The Vegas Golden Knights. How can you not love this story? The Golden Knights, in their inaugural season in the league, are flying. They have the most points in the Western Conference, and, beyond that, are fun to watch. The Golden Knights score a bunch of goals, play hard, and are one of the league’s most entertaining shows.
  • The Winnipeg Jets. Being born in 1993, I’m not old enough to remember a point in which there was an Oilers and Jets rivalry. To me, they’re the new and likeable Canadian team. The Jets are going through not only their best season in Winnipeg, but their best in franchise history dating back to their days as the Atlanta Thrashers. I would love to see a Canadian team win a Stanley Cup, and, right now, it seems the Jets are our best hope.
  • Whoever plays Calgary. Whether it’s during the season or during the playoffs, cheering against the Flames is a good time. Remember last year when they got swept by the Ducks in the first round? Hell yeah. That almost makes up for when the Ducks beat the Oilers in an incredibly frustrating seven-game series a couple weeks later. If the Oilers are going to miss the playoffs, it would be soothing if the Flames did too.
  • Whoever plays Toronto. They aren’t even a geographical rival, but I swear Leafs and Oilers fans have some of, if not the best beef in the league right now. Leafs fans filled up Rogers Place back in November in that game where Kris Russell scored on his own net, and boy was it annoying. The Leafs haven’t done anything since the league expanded beyond six teams, and their fans are still obnoxious, carrying on as if they’re hockey’s Yankees. Could you imagine if they actually won?
  • The Canadian Olympic Teams: It might be the dominant Team Canada teams we’ve seen the past few years loaded with NHL stars, but it’s still hockey with Canada on the jersey. Why not deeply invest in Ben Scrivens and Rob Kilkhammer living out their dream in South Korea? Also, the Canadian Women’s Team is always a good bet for gold. Enjoy watching our boys and girls represent Canada at PeyongChang for a few weeks to cure your Oilers-related blues.
  • Baseball. Hey, spring training is right around the corner. Pitchers and catchers are reporting in three weeks. Hope springs eternal. Just throw on a baseball game, go outside and enjoy the nice weather, and forget that hockey even exists until the draft lottery rolls around. I think the Jays might be OK this year. Like, second wild card OK. Come join us at Blue Jays Nation for good baseball times.

What say you, Nation? Where are you re-directing your focus for the rest of the season? Are you still holding out hope on this hapless Oilers squad? I mean, Hope Will Never Die, right? Or are you adopting a new team for the next few months? Let us know!


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  • 51Geezer

    I heard the rumour that Oilers’ management was considering trading Adam Larsson for a forward. If this is true, the person behind the debacle is coming into focus…

  • slats-west

    I liked Gregor’s article earlier today and he did a good job in that piece of summarizing all the rants of what us fans are thinking with some very pointed constructive criticisms of many aspects of what’s wrong with this team.

    I do believe you should take a few steps this year (and IMMEDIATELY) which may help them going forward:
    1. You MUST change special teams coach – it may be the exact same system on road vs home but the message is lost somewhere. You need a new Messenger.
    2. Go with the goalie who’s hot from now until end of season. You win you play. Tell them that.
    3. Rotate in the practice squad players in every game for the weakest performance eg on D time for Benning to take a seat and give Sekera a night off once in a while as I think his knee is not 100% and his confidence and reaction time are off. Have him sit a game next to Paul Coffey and watch from Press Box. All the sitting D should do that.
    4. Letestu off the PP – in fact he needs to sit. He’s too slow and he hasn’t had a point on PP in 15 games. He’s just not good. Sorry playing him isn’t going to “fool” any GM that he’s worth something more at the trade deadline than he’s worth – sorry but it’s true. Time to develop others.
    5. We need to identify and develop two players who are always going to be aggressive on your #1 PK unit. I would bring in a recently retired PK specialist who played with heart every game, maybe Cup winner (Dan Cleary comes to mind) to solely work with these two forwards – EVERY EFFIN DAY!
    6. I would designate Drai’s line to become a checking line for every game going forward. The guy is in a complete funk so I would give him one thing to focus on. You are going to play against the other team’s Top Line and your only purpose is to shadow and keep them off the scoreboard. I think they will learn accountability and responsibility. They won’t fly zone like they are. They will hit – because they aren’t doing that now and chances are they will create turnovers leading to offence but they will always think DEFENCE first.

    That’s what I would do as you have to work with these players because as Greger says they are here next year.

    • jultz=2cups!??

      If you’re sitting Benny, why does klefbom get a free pass. Oh right. Because his abs. And he’s oilersnation favorite klefbom. He’s invisible every night but Benny takes all the blame. Klefbom 14 points -12. Benning 10 points +1. Tell me again who’s been a “train wreck” this season as oilersnation likes to say.

  • crabman

    As much as it hurts to watch sometimes I just can’t look away. I’ll watch as many games as I can. Watch and hope for personal development. Nurse’s emergence as a potential #1. Hoping Talbot can bounce back and give some hope for next year. Puljujarvi continue to improve and get consistent. And of course the McDavid show. Lots to still be potentially entertained by. And the days of cheering for a tank are behind us….I hope. It’s more important the team right the ship as best they can this year to help the team next year.
    As far as bandwagon jumping, I watch as much playoff hockey as I can anyway so that won’t change. I will actively root against the Bruins*spits* and probably cheer for whoever has made me get excited to watch the games. But really in the end if It’s not the Oilers I really don’t care who wins as long as the games are good to watch.

  • D'oh-ilers

    When the Oilers are out, I always cheer for former Oilers, regardless of what team they play for now, and am happy for them when they’re successful. Once an Oiler, always an Oiler.

  • Bag of pucks

    Usually if the oilers are out Irootfor former Mooseheads in the playoffs. This year looks like I’ll be following Winnepeg (Ehlers), Colorado (MacKinnon) and New Jersey (Hischier). No matter how much I like Voracek I could never cheer for Philly though.

  • Opi

    The Oil are on pace for 77 points this season … when they were expected to be a bubble team or better by most everyone. Retaining McLellan indicates acceptance of that pathetic pace and acceptance of the worst home ice penalty kill in the history of the league and acceptance of the 29th place power play in the league & acceptance of their 26th spot in league standings … after 48 games, this isn’t a small window, folks …

    It’s bad enough that the Oil players have accepted all the above as normal & satisfactory … you guys really think it’s OK for Oil management to accept it too … ?

    I don’t … McLellan must go … whether he holds blame or not ..

    • TKB2677

      So if the Oilers do fire McLellan and the new coach comes in and they play better next year but say finish in 8th and then lose out in the first round of the playoffs. Then what? That would be an improvement from this year but it wouldn’t meet people expectations I would have to assume. So do you fire the next guy too?

      I am not here saying McLellan doesn’t deserve some of the blame but when do you look at the players? To a man except maybe Nurse, I don’t think there is a player on this team that has played up to expectations including McDavid.

      • Glencontrolurstik

        So, do you keep McDavid & fire the entire team???
        Most would agree that the problem is not the players skill but their motivation… new players would eventually be feeling the same way…
        This issue with the Oilers is 100% coaching/management related.
        The same players are not the same as they once were & that is lack of direction & guidance.
        The GM maybe caused this, however at this point has very little influence over the players. Both off and more importantly on the ice… If you are going to fire the coach (which you should soon, before deadline), the GM must go at the same time…
        Also, Gretzky I get, but geez, quit hiring ex-Oiler Pats… This isn’t an old boys club & the game is 360 degrees different than when they used to play… I can’t for the life of me see what they will bring to the team.
        Gretzky even said that the middle of the pack teams of recent years (Calgary, Colorado, L.A. etc) could easily handle the Oilers of 1985… The game is that different, players like Semenko & that style of play would be an anchor on that team if they played now… And really, the players now just look up to them as figureheads, they can’t relate to them as seeing them perform, these players are history, that only motivates to a point…

  • Frank Rizza

    I’m not even really mad at this season. I’m disappointed. I mainly agree with what the GM was trying to do. Probably should’ve added a veteran winger and dman but the organization has so few blue chip prospects, it’s hard to trade first and second round picks. He had a 103 point team and he brought back the vast majority of them for this year. Just write off the season and don’t fire the coach and let’s hope to win the lottery but I won’t cheer for losses like the old days. I did that for 5 years and I’m not doing that again.

    As for another bandwagon, I always cheer for the Rangers because for some strange reason I love NY sports teams. Definitely no Canadian teams. I can’t cheer for any of them and if Calgary wins I’ll jump off a bridge

    • Mtnman64

      Frank – 100% agree with the statement of disappointment rather than anger. Given how well we played last year and the experience gained in the playoffs by Drai, Sleppy, Nurse, Benning, etc. I actually would have been upset going into the season if Chia had made significant changes. My thoughts were “why mess with something that worked” and the additional experience would result in the young players being better. I was actually okay with the loss of Ebs for Strome plus a bit of cap space – what I am surprised by is the fact nothing was done with the cap space. Hind sight is 20/20 but I honestly didn’t see any of this coming

  • Dobbler

    I keep telling myself that the more pain I feel now, the sweeter it will be when we next win the cup. No bandwagons for me. Just teeth and nerves being ground raw and eternal hope.

  • Glenn

    I get a kick out of the Calgary haters. That rivalry has been dead for many years. The Flames fans hate Vancouver. That’s their biggest rivalry over the last dozen years. Oilers fans are still living in the eighties!

  • Heschultzhescores

    We are all still going to watch the Oilers. If we’re still here after 10 years of the DOD, we’ll be here after 1 year in the playoffs and 1 year out. Sad, but true.

  • Big Nuggets

    My Dad’s team is the Islanders so I guess I will cheer for Ebs, Barzal and Tavares. The Islanders have had a rough go since their gliry days too so it feels similar to being an Oiler fan. Also they had a worse GM than the Oilers ever had back in the day, can’t remember who it was that traded away all those great players, Luongo, Bertuzzi, I think Chara, and many others. But Chia might give him a run for his money if he stays on the job long enough.

  • Kevwan

    I’ll be cheering against whichever team gets Maroon and Letestu and whoever else we trade for picks so those picks are higher.

    Oh yeah and for whoever’s playing Calgary

  • madjam

    Has he exhorbitant contracts Chia has made over the summer drawn the ire of other owners and Bettman and group , vastly adding to cost of doing business ? Maybe even the officiating that seems to not favor Oilers ? Lucic, Maroon and Kassian getting the Wideman treatment ? We may gain favor again when Chia no longer at helm ?

  • Oilswellthatendswell

    At least tonight we do have something to cheer for, because they do always bring their A game against Calgary.Flames just stand there and watch McD in awe and jealousy. Can’t jump off that bandwagon. Ever.

  • btrain

    I will be cheering for Chiarelli’s other team, the New York Islanders. He has done a lot of good work with that organization. Now if he could find a way to trade Talbot for Halak, straight up, they may be a real threat come playoffs.

  • Mike Modano's Dog

    The one trade I would change was the Griffin Reinhart trade. Above all else! The second move I would change is the Draisaitl contract (I’m not blaming Draisaitl himself) where Chiarelli was negotiating against himself. Should have been a lot closer to 7 Million/year – 7.5 max.!