Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
These are the Good Ol’ Days for the Edmonton Oilers
By Zach Laing2 years ago
“I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.”
It’s a quote from The Office’s Andy Bernard, a quirky character who, in the final episode of the series, sits back and reflects on not just the friends he made throughout the show, but the moments they shared. The quote tugged on heartstrings then and stays as relevant as ever now.
Heed the advice of Andy.
These Edmonton Oilers are fun to watch. They’re playing tight hockey in all three zones seemingly scoring at will and doing a fine job of locking things up in the defensive zone.
Is there room to improve? Always. If you went to the back-to-back Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning at virtually any point of their last two seasons, you surely could find people who weren’t happy with their game, or a coach who wasn’t happy about a certain element of their game.
That’s just like the Oilers, where last night head coach Dave Tippett was critical of the club’s puck play.
“More the puck play coming out of our end, just not coming out clean, jamming a lot of stuff up the wall,” said Tippett. “D-to-D stuff, flipping it around. We bring trouble on ourselves sometimes. That’s an area we need to clean up a bit.”
Sure, there were things that Tippett was happy about, too. Edmonton’s top guns are firing on all cylinders, Mikko Koskinen actually looks like a goaltender worth his $4.5-million price tag, the forward depth is allowing for the coaching staff to rotate lines and mix things up without negative implications, and the Oilers defence is keeping their heads above water.
And the best part? The Oilers have tied a franchise record for the best start in the organization’s history going 8-1 and sitting atop the Pacific Division.
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“Oh BuT tHe OiLeRs HaVe OnLy PLaYeD BaD tEaMS!!!!!!!”
Who cares? Every team in the NHL will play “bad teams,” but not every team is going to capitalize on those games like the Oilers have. Truth be told, the Oilers have long struggled to close out those kinds of games.
They’d lose the “gimme games” and struggle in the games that really mattered. The Oiler’s schedule gets tougher this month with two road trips south of the border that will surely challenge this club. Now more than ever, they’re ready for it.
According to projections from The Athletic, The Oilers have a 96% chance of making the playoffs and a 62% chance of winning the playoffs. They’re tied for third in The Athletic projections for winning the cup this year with a 9% chance.
Sportsbooks, too, likes the Oilers this year. Pointsbet Canada has them as the clear favourite to win the Pacific at +110 with the Vegas Golden Knights second at +200, while they have the third-best odds at winning the Western Conference at +550, behind Vegas at +450 and Colorado at +200. Edmonton’s cup odds sit at +1,400, seventh-best in the league.
Watch every game, and savour every moment, every hit, every goal, every celebration, and every random hilarious thing that happens on the ice.
These Oilers are fun to watch, and have entered a unique Cup window with two of the best players in the entire world and decades from now, we’ll all be old sitting in our rocking chairs telling our grandchildren about how incredible it was to watch.
Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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