21 Things I Learned in 2021

1 year ago
As we wind down another year, I started thinking back to all of the crazy stuff that happened in 2021 and the lessons I’ve taken away from what was undoubtedly another strange year to be alive. As much as this list of 21 lessons I’ll take away from this past year could have gone almost anywhere, I’m going to do my best to keep my list related to the Edmonton Oilers as best as I can. Let’s see how close I get.
  1. COVID blows and will continue to blow.
  2. Connor McDavid was, is, and always will be worth the time spent watching him play. Our captain is a living cheat code and I will never waste an opportunity to remind you, dear internet friends, about how lucky we are to watch him.
  3. Leon Draisaitl keeps getting better and it’s almost scary to think about where he’ll end up when his career is over because I never would have expected him to turn into the warlord he is when the Oilers took him at third overall back in 2014. Once again, I want to thank the Florida Panthers and Buffalo Sabres for passing on him for us.
  4. Despite not being the Detroit Red Wings, we’ll keep having to hear about how things worked there for as long as Ken Holland is around.
  5. Don’t ever get excited about your team having cap space. No matter how much room your GM has, he will waste a bunch of it in a way that annoys you just as certainly as the sun will rise.
  6. The trade deadline will probably always be disappointing.
  7. Expecting to hear anything interesting from a coach or GM in their press conferences is about as likely as me turning into a unicorn. I mean, I get it but it doesn’t make some of these availabilities any less of a waste of time.
  8. No matter how inconsistent your depth scoring is on a nightly basis, there’s a segment of fans that will blame the best players on the team.
  9. I now know that I will never understand why the NHL thinks managing the game instead of calling the rulebook is a better option. Up until this point, I thought I might be able to figure it out but I’ve realized that understanding what the NHL is doing is a fool’s errand.
  10. Expecting young defencemen to come in and play at an NHL level just isn’t realistic in most cases. While a guy like Evan Bouchard looked like he could handle the work early on, that’s not always the case and some of these kids need more time to work on their games in the AHL. Shout out to Broberg and Niemalainen and Samorukov for all making their NHL debuts this year, which was only the first step for all of these guys.
  11. Expecting a longtime NHL coach to suddenly change their tactics and deployment strategies isn’t going to end well. These guys are stubborn and seem to adjust at a glacial pace.
  12. We will constantly worry about the health of our 39-year-old starter. Wrap the guy in bubble wrap pls.
  13. Having Duncan Keith on the roster in 2021 kind of reminds me of having Adam Oates on the roster 2003-04. Both guys are Hall of Famers, but they were not the same players near the end of their careers.
  14. Jesse Puljujarvi is the gift that keeps on giving and I’m so incredibly happy he’s back with the organization after it seemed like a messy breakup was coming. I know I ripped Ken Holland a little bit at the top of this article, but he also deserves a tonne of credit for repairing this relationship and bringing Puljujarvi back to Edmonton.
  15. He’s only been around for a few months, but you can already see how much this city is going to love Zach Hyman and I am here for it. I’m still not so sure about the contract length, but man am I ever happy with how he’s started out his Oilers career. More players like him, please.
  16. There is no comparison between having fans in the stands and playing to an empty building. As much as I appreciate the NHL pumping in crowd noise and doing what they could to make the 2021 all-Canadian season happen, it just wasn’t the same as when there’s a live crowd in attendance.
  17. The 50/50 will always lure me in no matter how many times I say I won’t be buying tickets.
  18. I will always be grateful for you amazing Nation Citizens that read the site daily, yell at us in the comments section, buy merch, come to events, and participate in all of the shenanigans that make this website work. Thank you so much for being here and making Oilersnation a part of your life.
  19. NHL referees will continue to be as horrible as the league allows them to be. Call it game management or whatever you want, the inconsistency in officiating in the NHL boggles the mind and will remain an embarrassment in 2022 and beyond.
  20. Sports betting is here to stay and it will only get bigger. I mean, could you have ever imagined hearing about the betting odds on the broadcasts or on Sportscenter even three years ago? Now it’s everywhere.
  21. After 10 years of running my mouth, the team finally Kept Nuge Forever and I am so incredibly happy about it. Now if he could repay me with a few more goals, that would be nice. First step is him being okay after he left today’s game with an undisclosed injury.
Anything I missed? Any lessons you learned over the course of the last year that we should all know about? Hit me up in the comments section and let me know what your biggest takeaways are after another strange trip of a year. Happy New Year, everybody!

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