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Happy Festivus, Nation! It’s time to share our feats of strengths and air out our grievances

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baggedmilk
11 months ago
If you’re into Seinfeld or have been hanging around this site for a while, you know that December 23rd is Festivus, a day where we spend a few minutes airing our grievances and celebrating feats of strength from the past year. And since we’re Oilers fans in the middle of another challenging season, there is plenty to talk about this year.
Before we dive into our 2021 Festivus festivities, I want to reiterate once again that airing out your grievances doesn’t make you any less of an Oilers fan, so don’t even bother emailing me about the Festivus article this year because I’ll trash it before reading it anyway. In fact, as if I haven’t said it a million times by now, pointing out the flaws in our favourite hockey team not only makes us more of a fan but also gives us a chance to get some things off our chests. It’s our unwavering dedication to the Oilers that gives us this right, and the grievances I’m spewing this year are only my way of trying to help them get better. Let’s do it.

THE GRIEVANCES

While everyone’s grievance list will be different, here are five things that annoy me that I’d like to see change as we head into a new year. Do I think I’ll have all of my demands be met? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean that I won’t be using my big ol’ soapbox to scream out my issues from the digital mountaintops. Got it? Great. Let’s move on.

COVID Still Sucks

If you had told me last year on Festivus that we’d still be dealing with restrictions and shutdowns then I would have probably slapped you across the face. NO, I would have screamed at you. Needless to say, I don’t think this grievance needs too much explanation as we’re all living with it and trying to figure out what it’s going to take to get back to real life again. Maybe in 2022? *sigh*

The Sweep

There is no way on Gord’s green earth that we can make a list of grievances without including the sweep at the hands of the Winnipeg Jets from the first round of last year’s playoffs. The Oilers owned the Jets all season long in the weird all-Canadian Division, but when the playoffs came around, they couldn’t score to save their lives and the result was three straight OT losses and an early exit that continues to haunt us. I don’t want to dwell on this series loss too much because there’s no real point in being stuck in the past, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t still piss me off whenever I think about it.

Holland’s Use of Cap Space

I don’t want to get into this too much because there’s nothing we can do about it, but I have to admit that I still have a major problem with the way Ken Holland spent his cap space this past summer. The guy had millions and millions of dollars in cap room and he blew huge chunks of it on guys that aren’t living up to their end of the deal, almost confirming that Old Dutch hasn’t updated his approach to player evaluation since the early 2000s. I mean, how can we look at Duncan Keith and think that the guy is worth $5.5 million at this stage of his career? What about the three-year deal for Tyson Barrie when you’ve got a player in Evan Bouchard that is pretty damned close to overtaking him on the depth chart before the first year of that contract is even halfway through? My point here is that I don’t agree with a bunch of the moves Holland made this past year, and for me, that is a grievance worth talking about.

Toxic Positivity

You ever meet or talk to someone on the Internet about the Oilers and no matter what you say you’re an idiot because you don’t trust in the team’s vision or whatever? Don’t get me wrong, I love the Oilers as much as anyone and have defended them for things that some of you fine folks think are crazy, but I’m specifically talking about the people that suggest something like “you’re a bad fan if you complain or don’t trust Chiarelli/Holland/whoever to get the job done.” I know I haven’t been an NHL GM, Karen, but that doesn’t mean I’m not allowed to have an opinion, ya know?

The Sky is Falling Crew

The flip side of the toxic positive people are the ones that are seemingly cheering for the Oilers to fail just so they can say “I told you so” as if being right and having the team suck is a cool prize or something. These are the fans that will say the Oilers are missing the playoffs after every loss and blame McDavid and Draisaitl for not trying harder — you know the ones.

Bonus Grievance

How did we make it through Movember without even a whisker appearing on Dave Tippett’s upper lip? How does that happen? When you can grow a glorious duster as he can, not doing it almost seems like slapping the Hockey Gords across the face. Unbelievable, this guy.

FEATS OF STRENGTH

Since no Festivus celebration is complete without highlighting some feats of strength, I looked back at the last 12 months and come up with a list of the best things that have happened with our beloved Oilers. Here are a few feats of strength that come to mind when I look back on 2021, and I’d love to see your lists down in the comments section:

Connor McDavid is still everything

I’m going to start off my feats of strength in the same place I always do and thank the sweet Hockey Gords for every single shift that Connor McDavid plays an Edmonton Oiler. Not only is he the most exciting player to ever suit up in this league, but he can also take games over with individual efforts that you just don’t see. I mean, normally when a player goes one-on-four you assume that the play will die, but with Connor McDavid, that exact matchup could result in highlight-reel goals that we’ll be watching for months and years on end. As I was last year and the year before and the year before that and so on, I still remain grateful for Connor McDavid and will never waste an opportunity to say it.

Leon Draisaitl deserves so much love

As we stand right now, Leon Draisaitl for 65 goals and 139 points over a full season, and that kind of juggernaut-like pace deserves all kinds of love in year’s feats of strength. From the way he always comes up with a big goal to the way protects the puck to the way he seems to find his teammates with passes that no one else sees, Leon Draisaitl is undoubtedly one of the league’s best players and I will never tire of watching him play. Big shout out to the Panthers and Sabres for passing on him in the draft — we need to say that more.

The Bison King

When Jesse Puljujarvi went back to Finland, I honestly expected we had seen the last of him in an Oilers uniform. Now, more than two years later, the big Finn is riding shotgun on Connor McDavid’s line and looking very much like it’s his spot for the foreseeable future. Not only has Jesse come back to the NHL and found the scoring touch that we all dreamed he’d have, but he’s also taken this city over by storm and has quickly transformed into a fan favourite the likes of which we haven’t seen around here. This isn’t the McDavid hype train nor is it the Leon Draisaitl NHL destruction tour — the Puljujarvi fandom is taking on a life of its own. I mean, we came up with the Bison King nickname and his lawyers have already trademarked it and the Oilers have also taken it for a round of charity tees that they released this past week. Who would have seen that coming when he was playing back home with Karpat?

Stuart Skinner

Count me in as one of the people that never would have expected Stuart Skinner to turn out as good as he has been this season, and that’s not because I thought he didn’t have the skill but rather because it’s still very early in his professional career. Normally, you see goalies enter the NHL a few years down the road from where Skinner is at now, and to see him fill in for Mike Smith and put up good numbers — he has a 2.700 GAA and a .912 save% right now — makes me incredibly hopeful that we’ve got something here.

The Oilers Fanbase

As much as I know that I complained about certain segments of the fanbase in the grievances portion of this article, there is no better crew to be a part of in the NHL and I say that with total sincerity. By my count, no other fanbase has seen more losing and more bad moves and move strange decisions than we have, and to be able to turn that into a thriving community is something I personally think that OEG takes for granted. Within this fanbase, you not only have a dedicated chunk of people that live and die by this team, but you’ve also got a whole whack of them that are incredibly smart with their data analysis and others that are hilarious with their jokes/memes/videos/etc. As someone that works behind the scenes to find content creators for our other Network sites, I can tell you with 100% truth that Oilers fans are incredibly unique with how they interact with each other and their hockey team and that’s something that is always going to be fun to watch.

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