Faith in losing faith

What can we say, here we are again in the midst of a never-ending Oilers losing streak. Ben Scrivens is our starting goalie, we’re losing to the Winnipeg Jets, and our owner has taken to writing letters to fans.

Never a dull moment here in Oil Country, but the boys are are quickly running out of similes for “awful”.

Jan 16

Wild 4, Oilers 1

Brent Oliver: Why did I watch this? Craig and I repeatedly wail on the fact that the Wild are the single most boring, infuriating, stifling hockey team in the league and how we never want to see their name on any upcoming schedule. But I turned on this bag o’ shit game anyway. In all honesty, I wanted to see new goalie Ben Scrivens for myself and hoped that the team would rally around the recent changes and put forth a good effort. While the effort was there, Minnesota, in their usual fashion, froze the puck, iced it and lined up four players on the blue line EVERY GODDAMN SHIFT. I could never, EVER, cheer for this team and I wonder if winning games is worth watching such a fundamentally unenjoyable brand of hockey.

Scrivens didn’t look bad, as every goal he let in was a defensive lapse by the Oilers with the Wild taking advantage. Speaking of which, anyone catch Dubnyk’s dig on his way out of town? He mentioned being happy to go to a more “defensively minded team”.

Yes, Devan. We all know the Oilers have terrible defence. Don’t let the door hit you in the pads on the way out of town.

Craig Douglas: I adhered to the In The Box policy of not watching games against the boring, pointless Minnesota Mild, I did however sneak a peek when I got home. I turned on the television just long enough to see the first eight seconds of the third period as some human yawn scored on the Oilers to make the score 4-1. I quickly snapped the TV off and wished I’d never turned it on.

The Oilers only managed 12 shots in the final two frames despite having two power plays, Minnesota had 26 shots during the same time frame with the same amount of power-play time. Sorry Ben Scrivens, Katz and his pals will get you a real NHL defence someday, you just have to have faith or some bullshit like that.

ZZZZZZZZZZZ.

Jan 18

Jets 3, Oilers 2 (OT)

BO: Let’s set the scene, shall we? Before the puck dropped, the Oilers were about to play:

1) In the afternoon.

2) On the road.

3) On Hockey Night in Canada.

4) A team that’s been unbeaten since a coaching change.

We were fucked from the start.

Bryz was back in goal, and despite the Jets levying 39 shots, every save looked like a shaky struggle. Pavelec was somehow just as shaky and the Oilers snuck a couple by him before eventually losing in overtime from a horrendous non-call for Eberle’s breakaway.

The best part of this game is that the Oilers looked like they might actually have a shot, so I bet my eight-year-old that the Oilers would lose. He took the bet, they lost, and he had to clean his sister’s room.

I’m no dummy, people.

CD: I only saw the OT portion of this game, as indifference is setting in big time during January. I’m finding it harder and harder to force myself to watch these fuckers get outshot badly on their way to losing at least three out of every four games.

The game was on where I was, but I could barely bring myself to look at it. Someone mentioned that it had reached OT so I decided to have a look. I saw Petry send a clearing attempt into the crest of Blake Wheeler’s jersey and then before you could say Jack Robinson, the puck was in the net and fucking whatever. They were outshot by a huge margin again and ended up losing to a team that they should beat on paper. However, the other team always tries harder and effort never appears on that proverbial paper, but it sure shows up on the ice and the score sheet.

Jan 21

Daryl Katz pens open letter to Oilers fans

BO: For any of you that missed it, Katz wrote a letter to Oilers fans. oilers.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=701436

You can read it for yourself, but the self-serving, PR stumble was universally panned as a bad idea and full of holes that only infuriated Oilers fans, instead of placating them. Without going through it line by line, I will rebut a couple glaring points that drove me nuts.

“Other teams that committed to fundamental rebuilds went through the same kind of droughts over the same kind of timeframes or longer”

Actually, there are way more examples of teams hitting rock bottom and rebounding over a two to three year period. The most recent have been Anaheim, St Louis and Tampa Bay. Furthermore, there are teams that seem to be able to consistently draft, hold on to core players in unenviable locales, and win on the ice, including bankrupt Detroit and media hotbeds like Toronto, Montreal and New York. So, which teams have actually had longer droughts than ours, exactly?

“The reality is that this is only year four of the rebuild that started when we drafted Taylor Hall.”

No, Daryl. This is an Oilers regime that has posted a .390 winning percentage, dead last in the NHL, for the past eight years. The consistent thing has not been coaching, players or even your ownership, but Kevin Lowe in the front office.

“(Kevin Lowe) is consistently chosen, year after year, to play a leadership role with Hockey Canada.”

Then, we’ll continue to cheer for Team Canada. They always seem to get the best players too. Must be all be Kevin Lowe’s doing, instead of an innate sense of national pride. Thanks Kev!

“We are asking you to hang in there while we fight through this and put the next few pieces of the team in place”

A few? That’s putting it mildly. Anyone hear the rumours about Dustin Byfuglien being shopped before the trade deadline due to his inconsistent play? A guy like that would immediately become our #1 defenceman, regardless of inconsistencies. We have no defensive core, no third or fourth line consistency, no coaching system (that sticks, anyways), suspect goaltending and inconsistent young forwards. I always thought that “a few” meant three or four things. The Oilers need everything EXCEPT a few pieces.

CD: I was fully immersed on a mission to buy a new hot water heater during the day or two that the now infamous letter was unleashed on an unsuspecting public. I was covered in several days worth of my own filth and my focus was single-minded—do whatever it takes to replace that thing and take a fucking shower. So the letter understandably flew under my radar.

By now it has been dissected thoroughly all over the Internet, so I won’t bother. Head over to coppernblue.com and read Derek Zona’s evisceration of Katz’s stupid, ill advised and empty letter. It’s the most delicious takedown of the letter from the many I’ve read since I got hot water back in my life. And now there is news of a truck being parked outside the Oiler administrative offices towing a small trailer and a large, hilarious sign bearing the message KEVIN LOWE MUST GO. It seriously never ends around here. At least I’m lucky enough to be the kind of person who is amused rather than infuriated by all this endless bullshit.

Seriously, though, we should probably fire all of the old guard, a city full of people is sick of their shit and sick of being a laughing stock of an entire league.

Jan 21

Canucks 2, Oilers 1

BO: Optimism. I was actually filled with this weird sense of “optimism” on this game.

The Canucks were Henrik-less, Tortorella-less, and coming off that weird, all game line-brawl against the Flames ending off Hockey Day in Canada. Luongo was a bit of a question mark after missing a few weeks with an injury, so could the Oilers actually pull this one off in front of the hometown faithful?

No.

Speaking of hometown faithful, since when did half of the crowd turn into idiot Canucks fans every time they come to town? I say ‘idiot’, not as a flippant description of their band-wagon jumping, but in the truest meaning of idiocy as they so perfectly displayed on Tuesday.

The Oilers hit the post three times. What happened after each ping off the post? Every Canucks fan bellowed “LOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU”. Hey morons! Roberto didn’t save it, it went off the post, which you are all as dumb as.

Oilers couldn’t hang with Canucks at the end, and couldn’t overcome a two-goal lead, getting close, but no cigar. Justin Schultz, Jeff Petry and Martin Marincin were especially terrible again, and I’m actually finding myself missing ex-Oilers crap bags like Steve Staios and Frank Musil who gave me less of a sense of dread when they handled the puck.

Good news? The Olympics are only two weeks away.

CD: Annoying twinsect Henrik Sedin missed this game so his fake ironman streak is officially over, ironically against the same team that it actually ended back on April 27 when this twerp played 0:00:22 during a game right before the playoffs. Fuck that guy.

Anyhoo, I watched this game since I had yet to really have a look at Ben “The Professor” Scrivens. The Prof played well, and it helps when the team in front of you actually outshoots its opponent and keeps the shots against you somewhere under 30, even if it’s JUST under 30. Of course it wasn’t enough for an actual win (as if!) but there were enough positives to keep it close throughout this one. Unfortunately, that closeness is what kept this game from containing what everyone really wanted—the on-ice murder of West Coast jerk off and horrible human being Zack Kassian.

That will have to wait and so will winning, according to the upcoming schedule.

Another week, another three games against teams WAY better than the Oilers. Coyotes Friday, Dubnyk likely faces his old team Sunday then off to the land of hockey morons for the Canucks on Monday.

How many more self serving, public-relations letters will be penned for Oilers fans when this losing streak hits 10 games? Three?

We’re going with three.

See you next week, In the Box

@inthebox

inthebox@vueweekly.com

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