TRH NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH: EDMONTON OILERS
Welcome to Day 2 of The Royal Half Pacific Division Season Preview Week-O-Rama!!! So far we’ve seen Jesse Cohen compare the Pacific Division to HBO’s Game of Thrones… and we’ve had PumperNicholl preview the Pacific with a bunch of awful hockey memorabilia. And while it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the #TeamTRH Pacific Division Previews… we also need to make sure we take a step back and welcome the newest additions to our fine Pacific Division… 3 teams from Canada!!!
First up, welcoming the Edmonton Oilers to the Pacific Division is the wonderfully awesome, JeanShorts&BaggedMilk. Now, JSBM is one of my oldest-school BloggerBuddies™ and one half of them has witnessed me passing out while drinking at a Vancouver bar. So sit back, LA Kings fans… and prepare to have some Edmonton Oilers knowledge dropped on you… as JSBM re-introduces you to an old friend. It’s something we like to call:
TRH NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH: THE EDMONTON OILERS
Grouped into the Pacific, huh? Makes sense, as Alberta is known for its vast coastline and temperate climate. I’m happy to be here though, mostly because we only have to deal with dipshit Minnesota fans 3 times a year now rather than 6. Seriously have you seem some of these idiots? Even dumber than they look. It’s rough.
I’m assuming a lot of you are unfamiliar with the Edmonton Oilers since you only started watching hockey when the Kings became worth cheering for in 2012, and like most fair-weather fans you probably only watch during the playoffs, therefore you hadn’t even heard of a team called the Oilers until this very moment.
So through a Hunger Games-esque scenario I emerged as the one blogger dumb enough to write about a team that brings me more pain and frustration than anything else on earth, for a blog that’s basically the online equivalent of a pop-up book. SHOULD BE FUN! LET’S GO!
THE BOYS ON THE BUS: 1979 – 1989
After spending the first 8 years of their existence in the WHA the Edmonton Oilers made their NHL debut in 1979. That same year also saw the NHL debut of a latch-key kid from Brantford, Ontario named Wayne Douglas Gretzky, who I’m not sure if Kings fans are familiar with considering he retired WELL before the 2011-12 season, but rest assured he went on to have a fairly successful run in the league (so long as you DO NOT look at his coaching record).
The Oilers made the playoffs 13 years in a row after entering the NHL, but it took them 4 WHOLE YEARS to make it to their first Stanley Cup final and it was still a FULL YEAR after that before they won their first of 5 Stanley Cups in a 7 year span. Needless to say Oiler fans have been dealing with hardships since day one.
Sorry, did I say hardships? I meant hardware.
THE DARKEST DAY IN CANADIAN HISTORY – August 9, 1988
I won’t get too deep into this because A) just thinking about it is grounds for immediate incarceration in a Canadian Super-Max prison and B) if you were anywhere near the Internet during late July and early August you may have seen one or two or 18 hundred bazillion stories about the day Bruce McNall and Peter Pocklington opened up a direct trade route between Edmonton and L.A. It’s been one of the more well traveled routes in history:
THE LEAN YEARS: 1990 – 2005
After the loss of The Great One, Mark Messier single handedly went out and won a Stanley Cup purely to spite his former BFF, before departing for less snowy pastures. Moose packing his bags and moving across the country pretty much signaled a death knell for the Boys On The Bus, and the Oilers spent the rest of the 90’s, as well as the early aughts wallowing in mediocrity. Oh, there were playoff appearances, but outside of FIVE(!!!) straight first or second round losses to the stupid god damn Dallas Stars there is not much to speak about. This is literally the only surviving piece of footage from the 90’s:
Outside of Doug Weight, Bill Guerin, Curtis Joseph and the greatest Canadian in history, these Oiler teams were filled with pluggers, grinders, and LOTS of guys even the most ardent hockey fan couldn’t recall. The team was dangerously close to being sold and shipped off to Houston, then these monstrosities happened, and most Oiler fans thought things could not get any worse. BOY WERE WE WRONG! So, so, sooooooo wrong…
THE LOST YEAR: 2006
This one is really strange, because I know this was the first season back after the ’05 lockout, but for the life of me I can’t think of ONE game that was played during this year. I remember a lot of drinking and even more crying but everything is very fuzzy. Oh well, I’m sure nothing traumatic happened SO LET’S JUST MOVE ON AND AGREE TO NEVER SPEAK OF THIS EVER AGAIN.
THE SALAD DAYS: 2007 to Present
Oh boy. Where do we even begin here? Should we talk about the 7 straight years missing the playoffs? What about finishing 30th two years in a row, followed by a 29th place finish that was considered a MARKED improvement?
Maybe we should start with the Oilers Curse®. During the last decade Edmonton has basically become a feeder team for the rest of the NHL. Don’t worry about drafting well, Edmonton will do that for you, groom and develop a player and right as he’s about to enter his prime Steve Tambellini and/or Kevin Lowe will trade him to you for pennies on the dollar!! Not only that, but every time you play the Oilers that same player will score on every shot he takes! And as recent history has shown us getting traded from the Oilers is the best thing to happen to your career.
But we Edmontonians are nothing if not optimistic (You pretty much have to be if you live in this arctic hell hole. 11 and a half months of winter can really start to wear a person down). Everything looks so bright this year! Our offense is made up of nothing but first overall picks! Our new coach was the most sought after free agent of the summer AND he’s great on Homeland! MACT IS BACK!! Defense and goaltending aren’t super pivotal right? RIGHT??
Craig MacTavish promised BOLD MOVES this summer, and so far he’s delivered! I can’t think of anything bolder than going into an NHL season with no centermen! Ryan Nugent Hopkins looks 14 and has the shoulders of a 75 year old former MLB pitcher. If they don’t explode by the end of training camp just wait until the All-Star break cause it’ll definitely happen by then. Sam Gagner is a solid young player, has boyish good looks, routinely scores 8 points a game, and has yet to win a single faceoff in his 15 year NHL career. Boyd Gordon played for a team called the Phoenix Coyotes last year, so it’ll be interesting to see how he transitions from playing for a clearly fictional hockey team to a real life one. And on the fourth line they’re just going to tape a stick to a pylon, toss it over the boards and leave it in gods hands. The pylon is projected to double the amount of goals Eric Belanger scored over the last two seasons in Edmonton.
The Oilers were awesome in the 80’s, mediocre in the 90’s, Shitaniously® bad in the 2000’s, but are now poised to make huge progress this season and get back to the promised land (No, of course we HAVE NOT been saying that same thing about the team for the last 3 years. That would just be silly and depressing…..) I mean, a team can only be bad for so long after drafting first overall a bunch of times, right? * Stares nervously at Charles Wang *
And if all of that was too much for you too handle, then I can’t think of a better way to sum up the Edmonton Oilers than by listening to the Alberta Provincial Anthem. Take ‘er away Corb!
P.S – SUCK IT KINGS! NEVER FORGET!