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Believe

Edmonton OIlers
Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
BlackDogPat
1 month ago
I was out with a friend last night having a cold pint (she was having Long Islands) on a patio on Queen Street in the heat. It was delicious and the conversation was wonderful, as it always is. There is nothing like a couple of drinks in the summer with an amazing friend in my opinion.
As they do our conversation meandered here and there and everywhere as the best conversations do and at one point we were talking about stress and anxiety and the dangers of overthinking things and I said “the brain is a hell of an organ.”
It really is a damn marvel, the old brain, good and bad. It is a real trickster fox, it separates us from the apes but at a price. Having three amazing kids and having worked with many young people as a coach I am, well, not astounded exactly, but surprised at how fragile their confidence can be. They have the world at their feet, they are brilliant and beautiful, they are loved and they are truly good people and yet … and yet … sometimes they don’t think that way about themselves. They don’t believe in themselves despite having everything to believe in.
And of course, they are not perfect and they are works in progress and they stumble at times but how much easier it would be if they could see themselves the way they are seen. I know one particular young person from coaching who is literally one of the most amazing people I know, smart and hilarious and one of those big amazing personalities that everyone loves and yet the belief comes and goes … (although it is becoming steadier by the day, which is a wonderful thing to see).
And of course there are other factors at work, hell if it were as easy as ‘you are amazing, just believe’ then we would all be smiling all of the time. 😉
Have you ever seen that meme where they say what would you say to your younger self if you could go back in time? I think of my own youth when I had the world at my feet but still doubted myself at times for no good reason (separate from the doubts that were for good reason) and I wish I could go back and say ‘Hey handsome (I was 😉 ), you’re better than you think. Believe in yourself.
But then again I guess that is one of the benefits of age. Well … maybe the only one. Other than not giving a damn what other people think anymore. 😉

The worst hockey experience I ever had as a fan was game one of the final in 2006. Yes you read that right, not Game 7 7, Game 1. Game 7 was awful of course but it was a coin flip, you knew it was, and the Canes (spits) just had the bounces that night. But in Game 1… the Oilers were running them out of the building and then all of a sudden they weren’t and then Roli got hurt and then the last-minute gaffe to lose it … Jenn came downstairs and she thought someone had died I was so pale …
Ask me in five days but Game 1 of this series might end up being in that area if the Oilers lose this. A game that they absolutely dominated and lost … win that and, well, honestly we don’t know where things are but they are probably coming home up 3-2 or maybe as champions already. Instead, we are hoping for what barely seems possible.
Two more wins. Impossible? No, of course not. Likely … well you would think not, beating a really good Panthers’ team four straight is a tall task but then again beating a really good Oilers’ team three straight did not seem possible either.
Tim Barnes works for the Washington Capitals. He has a Cup ring and is an absolutely brilliant guy. Nearly twenty years ago he was ‘Vic Ferrari’ a guy whose site Irreverent Oiler Fans was a must-visit if you wanted great writing, good conversation and discussion about hockey that was at another level. Absolutely cutting-edge stuff and so many of the metrics that NHL teams use these days to evaluate talent and potential.
I remember one post in particular and while I cannot tell you much (I am old, as noted above, and the memory is not much anymore) I can tell you the jist of it … the dice have no memory. You can flip a coin 100 times and if you hit heads 99 times the chance of that last flip being heads is … 50 percent.
Do you see what I’m saying? 😉 The likelihood of a really good team beating another really good team four straight is a small one but it has happened four times in the playoffs over the years and twice relatively recently and game six exists in a vacuum, so to speak. If momentum was truly a thing then the Oilers would have dominated Game 2 (they did not), the Panthers would have dominated Game 3 (they didn’t) and the Oilers would have run the Panthers out of the rink last game (they didn’t).
The game exists on its own. Sergei Bobrovsky might regain his earlier form or fall apart. Stuart Skinner might continue his run or turn into a pumpkin. Barkov might shake off the effects of that shot from Leon. (Unfortunately, I expect that we won’t see Leon back in form until he recovers from whatever surgeries he may undergo).
We don’t know.
One thing we do know is that this Oilers’ team truly believes. They don’t need anyone telling them that they will be fine, that they can play with the Florida team and weather whatever is thrown at them. It stems from McDavid, whose play cannot be defined by any superlatives. The best performances I have ever seen in the playoffs were Patrick Roy in 1986 and 1993. The best performance by a skater … Ray Bourque the year that the Bruins finally beat the Habs for the first time in what seemed a century. 97 has blown the doors off of Bourque and if the Oilers win two more games …
Believe.

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