Sad end

Not much silver lining for Oilers fans

We'll just fly through this weekly Oiler update. There's not much to say and not many games left anyway. You probably won't want to take notes. The Oilers lost 3-1 to Dallas and 4-1 to LA in Edmonton, then went to California to beat Anaheim 2-1 and lose 2-0 to Los Angeles.

Believe it or not, there are people in this city who really don't care about the Oilers. We may have a higher percentage of fans versus non-fans than most NHL cities but—let's face it—watching millionaires play a game has limited entertainment value. So, to those of you who prefer to enjoy a pint without a bunch of yobbs high-fiving on game night and those of you who really don't care who won the game last night, the city is almost yours again. The Oilers last game is Saturday, April 7 at 8 PM and the season will be put to bed at about 11 PM Edmonton time. Enjoy the respite until September.*
*Except on draft day, during more arena talks, when free agency kicks in, when training camp starts, while the CBA gets discussed, when the Canucks fans destroy Vancouver again and when Tom Renney and Steve Tambellini get fired or when they don't get fired. In these instances, you'll have to listen to your Oiler fan friends go on and on. Oiler-mania really doesn't sleep, does it? Sorry. DY

It's shaping up to be a sad end to a sad season. Not even Ryan Whitney's public calling-out of the team seemed to make any difference—the Oilers are stumbling toward the end. And who can blame them? With the team's young leader out with a shoulder injury (?) he's been nursing since junior (?), most of our defencemen in the infirmary with various ailments, and with the coach still without a contract and likely to be let go quietly this summer, it must be tough to keep your head in the game.
That'd be the game that most of these guys make the equivalent of a lifetime's wages per year to play. Enjoy the five months off, jerks. BB

I know I should be carefully watching every Oiler game so I can crack wise and share thoughts but after what will be six years since we've seen playoffs—or even a legitimate playoff race—it's been pretty tedious. Here's what I did last week instead of watching the Oilers:
• Friday, March 30 versus The LA Kings: Played NHL12 on PS3. Didn't win very much. So I suppose I was honouring the Oilers in my own way.
• Sunday, April 1 at Anaheim: Ate at a restaurant. The Oilers didn't choke that night. I'm happy to report that I didn't either.
• Monday, April 2 at LA: Played Snakes and Ladders with my daughter; watched Top Chef Canada with my wife. In honour of the Oilers' last few seasons, the challenge was to cook offal.
I still enjoy hockey and support the Oilers. I wonder when the casual fans dropped off. DY

The summer is going to be filled with talk about what this team needs to fix in order to be a winner. Pollyannas will say it's just time, that the young guys simply need to mature and play more consistently. A lot of folks will say fire the coach, or fire the general manager, because when we got rid of MacT and KLowe the team was like a new beast, winning 18 Stanley Cups in a row so obviously that's a quick fix. Others will say a stud defencemen is what's needed, that the Oilers should be putting in an offer sheet for Shea Weber, or signing UFA Ryan Suter in the offseason, but here's what this team really needs: a solution to its injury problem. Whether it's bad luck, bad training staff or a witch's curse, something is going wrong with the Oilers and it needs to be fixed. I don't care if it takes bringing Semenko out of retirement, firing all of the training staff (again) or self-defense classes at the YMCA for the whole team, fix that problem and you're halfway to being a more-consistent team. BB

I believe I've said this at this time for a few years now but it bears repeating, if not just to rationalize my disappointment. The one good thing about the Oilers not being in the playoffs? Playoff hockey pools get easier. I don't have to feel obligated to pick any Oiler players and won't feel like a traitor picking players from opposing teams. DY

Teemu Hartikainen: The second-best Teemu in the league was the best Teemu in Anaheim with two goals to Selanne's one. DY
Devan Dubnyk: This guy is showing he's got what it takes to be a number one. BB

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