The Oiler season ended with a whimper. The Oilers finished second last in the league with a 32-40-10 record. They did finish with 12 more standings points than last season. Onward and upward!
Playoff Preview – Upside/Downside
The playoffs are upon us and every team that made the playoffs has a chance to be the 2012 Stanley Cup champs. Birtles and I will go through the Upside and Downside of each team holding the Cup.
Eastern Division – David Young
New York Rangers (1)
Upside: A meat-and-potatoes team with hard-working players and a stellar goalie thumb their noses at stars and egos.
Downside: New York got their Super Bowl already. No hogging.
Ottawa Senators (8)
Upside: A Canadian team wins the Cup and it is not Vancouver.
Downside: These guys were pegged to finish where Edmonton wound up this year. Why aren't the Oilers in the playoffs?
Boston Bruins (2)
Upside: It would probably make Habs fans angry—and they're just so adorably frustrated when they're angry. Downside: They had their turn last year. No hogging.
Washington Capitals (7)
Upside: Ovie could be hilarious when the Cup is awarded.
Downside: Ovie could be annoying.
Florida Panthers (3)
Upside: A team full of spare parts from the rest of the league flip the bird at all the GMs that considered them expendable.
New Jersey Devils (6)
Upside: Petr Sykora wins his third Cup. He's a likeable old Euro—just like Patrik Elias or Sir Ian McKellan. Downside: There's nothing less exciting than New Jersey winning a Cup. We've seen it before.
Pittsburgh Penguins (4)
Upside: This team has been well-managed and is still reaping the benefits of several crappy seasons. The Oilers can tick off one of those boxes.
Downside: Sidney Crosby is like Superman: powerful, heroic, boring.
Philadelphia Flyers (5)
Upside: Danny Briere and Claude Giroux win a Cup.
Downside: Despite only playing 13 games this season (40 are needed) and likely missing playoffs (one finals game is needed), the Flyers could still find a way to put Pronger's name on another Cup.
Western Division – Bryan Birtles
Vancouver Canucks (1)
Upside: Absolutely no upside.
Downside: Having to listen to every asshole from Vancouver talk about it.
Los Angeles Kings (8)
Upside: Seeing former Oiler Jarrett Stoll hoist the Cup would be pretty sweet.
Downside: Seeing former Oiler Dustin “Donair” Penner with two Cups.
St Louis Blues (2)
Upside: A team that plays by committee, that clawed its way back into the playoffs after a dismal start, the Blues deserve their first cup.
Downside: Who even plays for the Blues? If they win and captain David Backes hoists the mug, I'll be all, “Wait, who?”
San Jose Sharks (7)
Upside: San Jose rids itself of “choker” label.
Downside: San Jose rids itself of “choker” label.
Phoenix Coyotes (3)
Upside: After suffering through the upheaval of the last few seasons, it'd be nice to see Phoenix's players rewarded.
Downside: With the league's worst attendance, if they do win, no one will be around to see it.
Chicago Blackhawks (6)
Upside: Chicago is a run and gun, exciting team to watch so it'll be fun to watch them go deep.
Downside: Didn't they just win it? No hogging.
Nashville Predators (4)
Upside: Winning the Cup will make Weber and Suter so expensive that only a team with plenty of cap room (like Edmonton) can afford them. Downside: Terrible “new country” songs about the Stanley Cup cheapen it for all.
Detroit Red Wings (5)
Upside: The Wings are creeping up on bettering Toronto's 13 Cups. '67! '67! '67!
Downside: So. Damn. Predictable.