We’re in! The Edmonton Oilers start their 2017 Stanley Cup Playoff run this Wednesday at home against the San Jose Sharks but not before the boys wrap up a very successful regular season. Craig & Brent even go so far as to hand out the inaugural Bronze Rhino to their unsung MVP for the season. That, and they sit back in the warm bath of a 100 point season from young Connor McDavid. Everything’s coming up Millhouse!
Predicsh score: Oilers 5 Clowns 4
Actual score: Oilers 3 Ducks 2 (OT)
Craig Douglas: While throwing out a prediction last week, I called for this to be the most entertaining game of all time. While maybe it wasn’t quite that – it was certainly close. Both teams came out flying, especially the Oil, and traded chances all period long. McDavid opened the scoring near the end of the first when lucky duck Mighty Maroon pulled a little dangle and got the puck over to the captain. McDavid thanked Mighty Maroon for the sweet pass by blasting it by Patty’s stupid former team. We are a lucky team to have gotten Mr. Maroon over to our side at such a reasonable price, and he is lucky to have escaped that shithead organization and found a home on a line with the best player in the NHL. Just good luck and good feelings all around when it comes to fan favorite Mr. P. Maroon. The game continued to be exciting and fast paced as the team’s traded chance after chance and in the end the Oil had to come from behind and send the game into OT. Then in overtime, a beautiful thing happened. Big bald idiot Ryan Getzlaf tripped and fell inside the Oiler zone which sent our dynamic duo of Neon Leon and Captain Kid screaming down the ice toward victory. The Oil got to enjoy a taste of first place in April and everyone was happy.
Brent Oliver: Is this what it’s like to watch a good team in April? For so many years April games were either skipped because of the Oilers spot at the bottom or waged against a far superior team we were trying to beat and squeak into the playoffs. The Oilers (after this game at least) were in first fucking place. This is the dream we all hoped. A competitive team that goes for top spot in a division instead of a proverbial Wild Card (or 7th or 8th as it was known in the olden days). As the Macho Man would say – the Oilers played this game, and the remainder of the season, like the Cream of the Crop. Pinch me I’m dreaming… We may have something really special here.
Predicsh score: Oilers 3 Kings 2 (OT)
Actual score: Kings 6 Oilers 4
CD: This loss stings a bit, but not as much as some people are making it out to be. There was no way that the Oilers were going to continue playing at a 9-1 pace forever and one very mediocre second period cost them a chance at a very achievable two points. It stings because they came out playing so well on the road in the first period that you could be forgiven for thinking that they had this one in the bag. Maybe that’s how they felt too, because they sure seemed to take the middle frame off. The intensity from the first period had vanished and been replaced by giveaways and other glaring mistakes. Once LA had scored three goals in just over a dozen minutes, I got the feeling that the game was going to continue to swing in the Kings direction – and it more or less did. The Oilers didn’t play poorly for the rest of the game after losing the lead but the momentum and intensity of the first period was a distant memory at that point. Being four points behind a jerkoff team like the Mighty Ducks definitely hurts, but the Oil still have a great opportunity to clinch home ice for the playoffs and my personal opinion is that I’d rather they face the Sharks in the opening round as opposed to the Predators. They could also still end up winning the division but right now they simply need to get themselves ready to face those very Sharks for what should be a huge game come Thursday night.
BO: Not to disagree with my hockey life partner, but this game fucking stings. McDavid was completely absent this game, and the first line went a combined -10. The Oilers can’t afford to let shitty, out of playoff teams manhandle them like this. I hope they take it as a team builder and win their next few in spectacular fashion (I’m pretending I don’t know that they did).
April 6-9 – Last bunch of games
Oilers 4 Sharks 2
Oilers 3 Canucks 2
Oilers 5 Canucks 2
BO: Well lookee lookee. The Oilers beat the Sharks, only to find out they play them first round. That, and nothing is better than a home at home series with the godless Vancouver Canucks where not only we beat them, but remind the world that the Oilers are done with their rebuild, and the Canucks are just starting theirs. Poor, shitty, shitty Canucks. My heart pumps piss for you.
Kudos to McDavid for winning the Art Ross, and likely winning the Hart and Lady Byng come this summer but for the time being – that doesn’t matter one single fuck. The Edmonton Oilers are off to the Stanley Cup Playoffs with home ice advantage (for now). Let’s get to work.
CD: They beat the Sharks, they secured home-ice advantage in the first round, and then they played the Canucks exclusively for a while and somewhere in there this kid named Connor McDavid broke the 100 point mark to win the scoring title. At age 20.
Enough about this, let’s talk playoffs!!!
2017 Stanley Cup Fucking Playoffs
CD: So the Oilers couldn’t quite win the Pacific Division thanks to the LA Kings having completely given up the idea of being a good hockey team. Thanks, dicks. However, that really matters not; what does is that they’re in and they’re drenched in momentum. It’s going to be hard for the team, the fans, and the city as a whole to act like they’ve been there before. After eleven fucking years away from the best part of the whole thing, the entire reason to ever watch hockey is to be able to watch the playoffs come April. I didn’t live here during most of the ’80s dynasty years, but I went to a handful of playoff games during the years when we only ever played Dallas, then I went to nine of the eleven home games during the ’06 run. I even went to a Sharks home playoff game in 2009, so I have some experience with this shit, though after enduring a decade plus without any games even on television, I’m having a tough time remembering how it all works. Of course for a LOT of people this will literally be their first time ever seeing anything like it, and if I remember correctly, it’s pretty fucking great.
Whether it lasts two weeks or two months, buckle up everybody, because this should be fun.
The playoffs are a whole different deal, so I’m not gonna try to make any predictions, or run a tale of the tape where I break down our opponents’ strengths and weaknesses. I’ll just say: bring it on because it’s about fucking time. McDavid, Talbot and the rest of the Edmonton Oilers are in the Stanley Cup Playoffs! See you on Wednesday!
BO: Man, this feels pretty great. When I lived in Winnipeg, the Jets came back after 15 years. This is really the only thing I can equate it to since the entire city felt like a bunch of sailors with blue balls coming back to shore after an extended leave. Speaking of this analogy, I need to address what Craig spoke about earlier. As a City, and a fan base, we need to act like we’ve been there before. That means – dudes! No drunk rioting. No being assholes. No mistreating women because you’re all being drunk rioting assholes. I can’t be any clearer here.
Let’s try and show class, and cheer appropriately for our team, not like a bunch of dicks that give this fan base a bad name.
In The Box presents The 2016-17 Bronze Rhino
CD: This is our annual awarding of the coveted Bronze Rhino Trophy, the honor bestowed upon the MVP Oiler during the regular season who is neither McDavid nor Talbot.
My Bronze Rhino goes to Patrick “Mighty” Maroon.
Patty picked up where he left off last year after coming over in a trade. The former 6th round pick of the Philadelphia Flyers played his way onto the Oiler’s first line and stayed there all year long. He vastly outpaced his previous career highs for goals and points and scored his first career hat trick during this season, he also thrived on a line with Draisaitl and The Captain, and helped make plenty of room on the ice for McDavid to work his magic. Mighty Maroon did all of this while the stupid Mighty Ducks helped us pay for the privilege, so for those reasons and many more he’s my Bronze Rhino.
Brent, who you giving yours to?
BO: My Bronze Rhino goes to Adam Larsson.
Besides my undying love for a big, beautiful defensive Swede, Adam Larsson deserves this award for solidifying the back end, the goaltending, and frankly – the entire team. Larsson is one of those players that makes the whole team better, and able to perform at their highest level. Don’t believe me? How about a telling stat – Larsson finished the year plus 21. That is the highest plus/ minus from an Oilers defencemen since Randy Gregg in 1989-90. By being on the ice for 20+ minutes a game, and facilitating 21 more goals than against, that lets the scorers (1st line, mostly) do their fucking job because they don’t have to worry about Scott Ferguson, Cory Cross, Jultz or some other asshole on the backend ready to trip over their feet and let the goalie handle it. Also, did you ever see Larsson in front of Talbot? He moved players out of the way, gave Talbot the room he needed and should get an assist on Talbot’s 42 win season. Yes, I’m likely not objective when it comes to my boyfriend Adam, but the numbers don’t lie.
That, and he’s 24 in a position that normally matures in a few years. We’re looking at the next defensive super star in Adam Larsson, and – repeat Bronze Rhinos.
For the first time in Brent & Craig’s 5 year history writing In The Box, and the first time since Dave Young and T.B. Player wrote this column in 2006 – In The Box will be covering the playoffs. Stay tuned to our Twitter, Facebook and VueWeekly.com for playoff post-game “analysis” from two assholes who have more opinions than beer in their fridges. Games start Wednesday against the Sharks, and In The Box will be there.
See you THIS week, In The Box.