In the Box

The beasts beat the boys badly because they’re best

Let’s start with the positives. There were only three games since our last column, which means there’s only a maximum of three losses we can address in this week’s column. That should reduce the cursing and the head-in-hands syndrome should be lessened, no?

No.

Louise: “Let’s hold hands and get through this together, Thelma. I’ll just keep driving.”

Jan 3

(The Mighty Ducks of) Anaheim 5, Oilers 2

Brent Oliver: The Oilers have this uncanny ability to let ex-Oilers look like superstars. This night was no exception, as Andrew Cogliano shone in this Disneyland tilt. I guarantee his breakaway goal made every Oilers fan wonder why we gave up on him last year. Wait a second—I remember why we gave up on him! He sucks! Leave it to the Oilers to make mediocre ex-players look stellar.

The Bryz was semi-capable this night, but as usual, let in a couple soft ones while the Oilers, again, forgot how to shoot the puck on the road, levying only 18 on Hiller. The old song and dance came up on the radio with either the goaltending, the offence or the defence being sub-par. Tonight it was two of three… maybe all three.

This song sucks. Change the station.

Craig Douglas: I was going to skip watching this game after the debacle against the Sharks the previous night. I threw on the Anaheim feed when I got home to have a quick look and went downstairs to change my clothes. I got back upstairs to see that both teams had scored in the first minute of the game so I decided to watch a little longer.

When the Oilers took the lead halfway through the first it seemed like a good idea to continue watching for a while longer. The Oil had looked good thus far and it just seemed like one of those games that they might be able to win.

I am an idiot.

After a decent 12 minutes against a formidable opponent, the Oil quit trying and started taking penalty after penalty which saw their shot totals diminish rapidly. They never did give up only one power play goal despite giving those mighty, mighty Ducks eight opportunities. The Oilers did only take three shots in the second period, then five in the third, eventually being outshot 37-18. Why the fuck did I think they could win this game, even for one second?

Idiot.

Jan 5

Oilers 5, Lightning 3

BO: Finally! We get to play a team that’s not one of the best five in the NHL. We may have a chance on this one!

The Oilers got off to a very good start, and hung with a tired Tampa Bay team playing its sixth game on the road. They of course, won the previous five on the road, so maybe they were bound to lose?

Eberle looked like the star he’s destined to become, potting two to get the good guys on track early. The best part of this game was that tied, going into the third, the Oilers didn’t lose. (Yeah, I know right?) So often this season a one-goal lead or a tie seems like a fait acommpli for the Oilers to blow it, but the Bryz was solid, and late goals by Gordon and Hall sealed the deal, and ended Tampa’s winning streak.

Sure feels nice to get one for once, especially with the upcoming schedule.

CD: I watched this game a little bit. Oddly enough, I was on the phone for three hours on Sunday night, so this game was on with no sound and very much in the background.

From what I understand, we won. From what I also understand, the reasons we won are: 1) Tampa Bay was in the middle of a Western Canada road trip. 2) The Lightning lost their starting goalie after making one save and just as they took a double minor. 3) Eberle is a good player. 4) The Oilers are a blind squirrel.

This win allowed us to narrowly avoid our fourth five-game losing skid of the year.

We are so fucked.

Jan 7

Blues 5, Oilers 2

BO: Oh good, we get to face ANOTHER best team in the league. Fan-fucking-tastic.

The St Louis Blues are really, really good, and I’m still not too sure why. Wait, what? TEN members of their team are going to the Olympics? How many Oilers are going? Three … and it’s a real stretch to even believe that Hemsky, Belov and Marincin are real difference makers for their country’s team. The Blues have sneakily made moves and drafted some of the best young talent over the past five to seven years. Why can’t we do that, or at least have a coach and system that recognizes this? Infuriating.

Speaking of infuriating, if the Oilers are ever going to get out of this septic tank of a season, they’re going to have to occasionally beat a better team. I know, dear reader, that you’re saying “Brent, they’re ALL better teams … even Buffalo,” but I’m trying to make a point.

This is the National Hockey League. You know that saying that on any given night, any team can beat another? Well currently, that’s horseshit. Edmonton cannot beat any of the top 15 teams in the league all things being equal. They beat Tampa (currently tenth out of 30) at the end of a long road trip. Have you looked at the upcoming schedule? Scary. Like apocalyptical scary. In the next 10 games, the Oilers play only one sub .500 opponent, the Winnipeg Jets, and that game is in Winnipeg on a Saturday afternoon.

We’re screwed.

Burn your jerseys in effigy. Tank the season. Get a better draft pick. Cheer for another team. Pray that baseball starts soon.

CD: It took some liquid courage, but I managed to watch this game. It was guaranteed loss night so I decided to stay home and enjoy a few beers instead of putting on a suit and heading to the press box (more like the De-press box! AMIRITE?)

The guarantee was followed through, as St Louis might be the best team in the league right now, and it showed. They converted two of their three power plays while taking no penalties of their own. They also outshot the Oilers 30-18 and just generally controlled the flow of the game.

This game played out like it should have, with the locals staying in it for a while, until St Louis got tired of fucking around and just finished them Mortal Kombat style. It’s going to take a lot of liquid courage to get through the rest of this shit sandwich of a season.

Brent is not kidding about the upcoming schedule, it is a fucking doozy. Besides the battle of the shit-bags (Oilers vs Sabres Feb 3!!!) I don’t see us potentially winning a game until fucking March at best. We might beat a Nashville or a Winnipeg somewhere in there, or maybe even fluke off a win versus the Rangers or the Coyotes, but that’s probably just the sobriety talking. We are fucking doomed I tells ya.

On a positive note: Luke Gazdic two-game point streak FTW!

Like the boys said, not an easy schedule this week for the hometown crew. Sid the Kid and the Pens visit Friday for a national game, then a visit to Chicago against the Stanley Cup champs, and down to Dallas against the Stars. Remember when the Flames used to give out a helmet to one of their players after a game? Maybe all of us Oilers fans can borrow it until the end of the year.

If there’s one thing we’ll all need, it’s a helmet.

See you next week, In the Box

@inthebox

inthebox@vueweekly.com

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