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I still can’t believe the Oilers are in the Stanley Cup Final

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baggedmilk
16 days ago
It’s almost been two days since the Oilers punched their ticket to the Stanley Cup Final, and I’ll be honest, I’m still having a hard time wrapping my head around what’s happened. This 2023-24 season has been insane, and I want to talk about it.
The Oilers were in 31st place 204 days ago. Second to last place in the NHL. Unbelievable.
When I think of the 2023-24 regular season, all that comes to mind is the rollercoaster of emotions we’ve been riding for the last 100 games. We kicked off the season with an 8-1 loss to the Canucks, fell to a 2-9-1 record, fired Woody, and the sky seemed to be falling all around us. Nothing was going right. Given the expectations heading into the season and how dreadful things were through mid-November, the fact that we’re only days away from being in the Stanley Cup Final is still unbelievable to me.
It’s like I know what’s happening — our beloved Edmonton Oilers start the quest for four more wins on Saturday — but my brain still can’t seem to pull it all together. Instead, I keep flashing back over the last 16 years that I’ve been working at Oilersnation and thinking about all the seasons where the only thing we had to cheer for was draft lotteries and draft parties.
By no means is the job done here — I can’t bring myself to think past Game 1, let alone the end of this thing — but I also can’t believe what an improbable journey it’s been to get here either. I guess another way to put it is that I’m trying my best to soak it up, knowing that it’s not every day we get to watch a run like the one the Oilers are on now.
I also can’t help but think of those of you who are reading this that have been around for a while. We’ve experienced some dark days together around here, friends, and I can’t help but feel grateful that we’ve been able to do it together. This website started because the Ryan Smyth trade ripped everyone’s heart out the very next season after the 2006 run, and Wanye and Jay built a place to work through the pain together.
Now, all these years later, we get to celebrate the deepest playoff run we’ve seen in 18 years, and it’s so much damned fun to see so many of the same names still showing up so long after we started. We don’t always agree on what’s happening with the team or on the ice, and we all have our favourites, but I wouldn’t change those arguments for the world. Ultimately, all of those conversations and disagreements led us here. They led us to a moment when the Oilers are only four wins away from glory.
Of course, it won’t be easy for the Oil to beat a team as good as the Panthers. There are a lot people who have already written this off as a short series for Florida, but at the same point, that’s what a lot of folks said against the Dallas Stars too. Before the Western Conference Final started, there were so many ‘Stars in Five’ tweets and comments on our social media platforms that having things go our way is as amazing as it was hilarious.
It was almost like the Oilers were written off in every series other than the first one against Los Angeles, but despite the challenges and critics, the boys forged ahead and found a way to get the job done. Was it perfect? No. In fact, there have been a handful of wins along this run that I really didn’t see going our way, but the fact that the boys wearing blue and orange didn’t feel the same way was ultimately what happened.
All along the way, the Edmonton Oilers have been SIUTBSOHC, and we’re going to need them to do it again.
The Florida Panthers will undoubtedly be the biggest hurdle the Oilers have yet to clear. They score almost as much as Edmonton, they give up less, and we’ve all heard about how big and strong they are, so getting by them is going to take everyone’s best and nothing less. From the crease outward, we need all hands on deck, but even if that happens, I think all of these games will come down to who can execute best. This is going to be about who can cross more Ts and dot more Is.
But as I’ve learned in this playoff run, what everybody else thinks about this series doesn’t matter. We’ve already watched the Oilers take out the Canucks even after getting swept in the regular season. We just watched our boys get more from their depth players than Dallas, even though that was supposed to be Stars’ significant advantage. Now, against a very good Panthers team, we’ll have to wait and see what the McDavid-led Oilers have left for an encore.
With a handful of days left to wait until we get going, all I can tell you for sure is that I’m having the best time of my life, and I cannot wait to see what’s coming next. After erasing the early season hole, a 16-game winning streak, countless questions about every position on the roster, and collecting the first 12 of 16 wins we need for the big trophy, I couldn’t predict what’s coming next if I had every magic eight ball in the world.
Yet, even with all of the unknowns and excitement of this run, there’s nowhere else I’d rather be talking about the Edmonton Oilers than right here with all of you. Enjoy every moment, Nation, because we’re truly living in the good old days.

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