I know we’ve already watched an Oilers game together today and that there’s a bunch of stuff on the site to read, but I still wanted to take a minute to jump on and wish each and every one of you a very Happy New Year from all of us at Oilersnation. I hope that at this point in your day the debilitating hangover you may have woken up with has subsided and that the only thing left on the day’s agenda is some time with your loved ones and maybe a quick nap.
I don’t think I’m talking out of school when I say that it’s been an insane year (I feel like that’s being nice) to be an Oilers fan or a human being in general, especially considering the way COVID-19 refuses to let us go from its kung fu grip. For the purposes of this article, however, I will stick to sports because being a fan of the Edmonton Oilers is more than enough of a rollercoaster without having to dive into everything else that is going on with the world. I mean, here we are on New Year’s day and we’ve gone from celebrating the best start in franchise history to talking about firing the coach despite the team currently sitting in a playoff (read: Wildcard) spot, and if that’s not a snapshot of what the vibe has been like around here then I don’t know what is.
For Oilers fans, 2021 was another winding road that offered the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, and I wonder what 2022 will have in store for an encore?! As is the case with any fresh start, be it a new year or otherwise, we’ve got a laundry list of questions that will need to be answered as the Oilers look to turn the page on a new calendar while also taking another tangible step forward as a team. Will they be contributors as we all hope, or will they be passengers? How long will it be before seats start to heat up at the management and coaching levels? Will Dave Tippett and his staff be able to adjust their strategies to get this team back on track? Who will SIUTBOHC? Only time will tell, but we’re all fortunate that we’re able to navigate those waters together.
To wrap things up, I’m going to finish off this here article with a handful of New Year’s resolutions for the Edmonton Oilers in the hopes that they will have a much better 2022 than they did 2021. Is that too much to ask? No, I didn’t think so either. Happy hangovers, everybody.
NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS
- The organization will develop the stones needed to make the tough decisions when it comes to coaching and management.
- You will actually respect the finite resource that is Connor McDavid’s career by surrounding him with GOOD players.
- You will remember that Leon Draisaitl is the kind of player that other teams would kill to have on their roster, and we have to make sure we’re appreciating the brilliance he brings to the table on a nightly basis.
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will find a way to improve upon his ground-level low shooting percentage. The tides have to turn at some point, right?
- You will NOT treat the best players on this team as whipping boys when the team struggles because they’re often the ones keeping this ship afloat while the rest of the squad struggles to tread water. At some point in our journeys together, we all have to collectively realize how much depth matters and how it is impossible to win in the National Hockey League when you only have a handful of players that can put the puck in the net.
- You will do a better job of supporting the goaltenders with defensive zone coverage that doesn’t leave them hanging out to dry. I know the goalies are the last line of defence, but the Oilers tend to rely on them way too much instead of actually helping out in their own end.
- Speaking of goaltenders, the pressure is on both Mike Smith and Mikko Koskinen to provide the team with the foundation they need to get their confidence back, which is a nice way of saying we need to eliminate those first shot goals.
- You will continue to purge the dead weight from this roster while doing what you can to avoid racking up even more dead cap space with buyouts and retained salaries.
- You will no longer be surprised when the general manager of your favourite hockey team makes a bizarre choice with the cap space available to them.
- You will no longer expect that the head coach will change his ways, not because you’re wrong in your assessment of what’s going on, but rather because it will save your sanity.
- As always, you will still be down with O.P.P.