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Enjoying every moment of this Oilers Cup run

Flight picture out window
Photo credit:Baggedmilk
baggedmilk
1 month ago
In a couple of short hours, I will be in attendance for the Edmonton Oilers squaring off against the Florida Panthers for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. After contributing to this website in some way for 16 years now, it’s a dream come true.
So listen, this article isn’t going to be about the game. The crew has all the details you need covered already, and I posted the GDB a few hours ago. This one is just a pure vibe check-in to see how everyone is doing. I want to know how you’re dealing with the stress and if you’re doing a better job than I am. I want to know where you plan on watching the game.
On Thursday’s voicemail episode of Better Lait Than Never, we spent a lot of time talking about the Cup Final and what it means to have the chance to watch this moment again. Everyone wanted to tell stories about where they were in 2006 or what it means to watch the Oilers on a run like this for the first time, and I couldn’t help but smile as I listened to story after story that were as similar as they were different.
Regardless of the result in Game 1, the Oilers are back in the Cup hunt, and it’s happening after one of the craziest seasons we’ve ever experienced. We had the expectations, the horrible start, punting Woody after 13 games, bringing in Connor’s junior coach and having him crush it… It was nuts. If this wasn’t happening in real life, you’d think the storyline was overwritten.
When I think about the craziness of the 2023-24 season, how can you not feel romantic about the Edmonton Oilers?
This team and fanbase have already been through so much that getting to this point was practically impossible. From 31st place to four wins away from winning it all, even though they’ve been doubted the whole time, it’s stories like Edmonton’s that make sports the greatest reality show you could ever hope to watch, and I say that before a single minute has even been played.
Even though we’re all spread out across the city/continent/planet, no one deserves this ride more than Edmonton Oilers fans. We’ve seen the highest highs and the lowest lows this team has to offer, and that’s why I love seeing them do what everyone said they couldn’t. The way I look at it, why can’t our boys climb one more mountain that everyone thinks is too big for them to handle?
If ever there was a team that embraced the underdog mentality, it has to be the Edmonton Oilers. After digging themselves a hole in October and November, this team was written off by so many people, yet they found a way. That resilience is something they’ll need to channel one more time, as almost everyone heavily favours the Panthers, but if there’s one team that I believe that can clear that hurdle, it’s the 2024 Edmonton Oilers.
I left Edmonton for Florida last night at midnight, spent four hours in Toronto, started working on this article to avoid passing out on a bench somewhere, and then hit my connecting flight that was just long enough to crush three episodes of Breaking Bad. As an aside, for absolutely no reason, I’ve never seen Breaking Bad, so I figured that spending seven hours on a plane on my trip to the Cup Final was the perfect time to start.
I know I’m way late, but this show is pretty damned good so far. Anyway…
After landing in Fort Lauderdale and finally checking into the hotel, my body wanted to crash, but my brain was having none of it. Get by on about three hours of sleep? I’ll sleep when dead. The Oilers are playing in their first Stanley Cup Final since 2006, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to miss even a minute of this.
With the game fast approaching, my excitement and anxiety seem to be rising by the minute, and I can’t help but wonder what it’s like back home right now. Being on the road for the first two games is amazing, but the energy that’s been building in the City of Champions over the last week has been remarkable. The place is ready to explode, and rightfully so. This is the most important hockey Edmonton has seen in nearly two decades, and no city in this league deserves to enjoy it more.
Now that I’ve got my Nugent-Hopkins jersey on and a ticket to Game 1, the ol’ heart is starting to race a little bit, and I know that’s only going to increase after I schedule this post to go up and make my way to the building with Jay, Tyler, and Liam. Even though I’m on my way to the game, none of this feels real. Maybe that will change when I walk into the building, but at this stage, I keep expecting to wake up during the middle of a draft party meeting.
Whether you’re at the game, our viewing parties at Greta, the Moss Pit, your couch at home, listening to the game at work, or anywhere in between, I hope you get a chance to enjoy the night. We’re sharing a joint experience that we’ll remember forever, and if the last 18 years have taught us anything, these next two weeks are something we shouldn’t take for granted.
No matter where you’re watching the game today, I hope you’re just as excited to lock in these memories as I am. I was 21 years old when the Oilers went on their last run to the Stanley Cup Final, and I truly believed it wouldn’t be long before they’d be back. Obviously, I couldn’t have been more wrong. If I could go back, I’d want to do a better job of soaking in the moment as it was happening. I’d like to capture as many memories as possible to carry with me.
This time around, I won’t be making the same mistake. This time, I’m taking it all in. This time, I’m smart enough to realize that runs like this don’t happen often, but that realization only happened after wandering the darkness for nearly two decades. Thank Gord I had you all with me here and didn’t have to do it alone. Without this community, the last 16 years would have been mostly unbearable, and I’m very grateful we’re finally seeing some payoff after all those years of pain.
Enjoy the night, Nation. No matter what happens, we’re living in the good old days.

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