Jan. 18, 2012 - Issue #848: City of champions
No more lottery
Please Oilers, just don't finish in the bottom five
The lows are pretty low in this Oiler update and the high isn't that high. The Oilers lost 2-1 to New Jersey after a Zach Parise OT winner. Then the lowly Anaheim Ducks came to town and embarrassed the Oilers 5-0. A Sunday nighter against the LA Kings ended much better with 2-1 Oiler OT win. Here's the knockout punch. The Oilers winning streak died at one game, after the Oilers visited the last-place Blue Jackets and lost 4-2. Blech.
After last Friday's shameful home loss to the seemingly beatable Anaheim Ducks, I was prepared to leave a trail of negative vibes. The strong play and win against the Kings, a much better California team, tempered the bile. The Columbus loss brought some of the high blood pressure back up. So, I'm going to try to find something positive from the last trio of results. This isn't easy. Here goes:
As of the time of writing, there are only two teams with records worse than Edmonton (Columbus and Anaheim). Both of these teams beat the Oilers. The LA Kings are holding onto a playoff spot and over 15 standings points better than Edmonton. Therefore, based on this sample of results, the Oilers cannot beat teams worse than them and can find success against better squads. The good news? Every team in the league save Columbus and Anaheim has a better record than our team, so the Oilers should beat them. Yeah, that's about it. You try and make this sound better. DY
I, too, have dug deep looking for positives to pull from the Oilers' season. For a long time I consoled myself on the renewed play of Tom Gilbert. Long the goat of the team, Gilbert has looked like a legitimate top-four defencemen this year, almost worthy of the inflated contract he's playing on. Or I could look at Ladi Smid, who led the league in blocked shots for the early portion of the year and continues to reside comfortably in the top-10. Or, if I was feeling really down, I might look upon the smiling visages of "the kids," and imagine the future: it'll be nothing but parades and high fives, we'll win Stanley Cup after Stanley Cup and we won't even riot, the comparisons to Gretzky, Kurri and Messier will be more than just wishful thinking. Alas, these images, this forced positivity, can only go so far.
The Oilers have to get it together, and fast. It is, unfortunately, time to start worrying about the window closing. I know it seems a little early, with the Nuge on the first year of an entry-level contract, but Hall and Eberle are on their second year and will need to be re-upped soon. Can we afford to keep all three of our blue chip players together? I don't want to sound the alarm or anything, but I do have my finger on the button. BB
Facing my failure
Wish me luck on Saturday. My six-year-old daughter and I are going to see her first Oiler game. Unfortunately, because of a combination of the dynamic team crest and her inherited contrarian attitude, she decided she is a Calgary Flames fan. She calls them the "Hot C's." So we get to see a good, old-fashioned Battle of Alberta together. Good news: I can watch the sad-sack Oilers and watch an NHL game through the eyes of a six-year old, who will probably find the spectacle way more exciting than I will. I could use the recharge. Bad news: she's had her pink Flames jersey set aside since before Christmas. She'll wear it in public, demonstrating my failure as a parent to 16 837 other people. DY
What the twits think:
Oiler-related Tweets of the week
"If the #Oilers only had an enforcer, Taylor Hall never would've gotten his face cut during the shootaround." —@andy_sayers
"Come on Friday the 13th bring us a little luck ... Let's go Oilers!"
—@Jamie_M_Jones (then they lost 5-0)
"'So I heard Yakupov is a good player. Boys ... you know what to do.' – Tambellini addressing the team in December." —@DavidCholewa
Oiler Player of the week
Josh Green: One goal against LA, one assist against Columbus. One decade between Oiler goals. DY
Ben Eager: I know one game does not a week make, but Eager looked excellent against the Blue Jackets, filling in on the top line for the face-slashed Taylor Hall. BB
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